after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

catching up!

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t says:  I know – I know.  It’s been way too long since our last real food post!  I wish I had a good excuse, but I really don’t.  There have been a lot of great at-home meals because of the snow (g and I are afraid of the cold).  g’s mastered a bourbon-maple-apple sauce for pancakes/waffles/french toast (the secret ingredient: two types of cinnamon).  As for me, I took on the cookery of a some rather pricey slabs of beef tenderloin that I do confess came out quite awesome (with some charred broccolini and fingerling potatoes).  And, as usual, several bottles of wine have come and gone, including a Riesling that was like sucking on a lemon (2011 Ransom Wines Riesling).   But we have gone out a few times, so let’s start up a firestorm of reviews from places we’ve been:

First off, we visited Spice28 with some friends.  The food, much like the last time we visited a little over a year ago, was pretty solid.  While nothing super-crazy went on here, we were happy to enjoy the company of good friends as well as the flexibility of the menu to accommodate vegetarians and meat-eaters alike (yours truly went for some kind of very nice lamb-and-eggplant dish that was two thumbs up!).  Oh wait – there was something a little crazy.  We happened to have gone during restaurant week, meaning there was something like 4 courses for $35.  On one hand, this seems like a deal.  The truth: it’s not.  I’ll allow g the opportuniyt to soapbox it: g clears her throat:  If it costs less than $35pp to eat at a restaurant normally, then that restaurant has no business participating in restaurant week.  t agrees: Case in point: the 6 of us decided to not to participate in the RW deal, spending ~$45 per couple … including tax/tip … thus coming in at nearly 50% less than we would have paid via RW.  Now, it is true that we didn’t get dessert, but you have to admit that with Capo Giro so close, who is going to bother with Spice28’s 1990’s-styled desserts? (have you seen their dessert menu?)  In any case, we had a fine time.

ffles

The Strip Joint (i.e. the artist formerly known as “Sowe”):  g and I hit it up “The Strip Joint” for brunch, and within seconds, I knew I was headed towards the fried pork over waffles.  I have to say that I applaud this idea (especially with the bourbon syrup), but I would have appreciated a smidge more pork – there was great crunch going on, but not enough oink!  This was a case of pork being cut/pounded too thin.  The waffle was “ok” – but really – it was just a vehicle to put syrup-slathered pork into your mouth for breakfast!

salad

g ventured the steak salad at The Strip Joint that suffered some technical issues.  Construction was not the most intuitive, as the carrots were tiny pieces, but then the cucumbers were in long strips, against a background of big pieces of lettuce.  Additionally, the overcooked meat (so much for “medium”) was a downer (not intolerable, just a few shades more done than expected).  But the bread was nice, and the ingredients were fresh.  And just to confirm: nothing tasted bad – it just had some execution issues!

steak

I submit this dark picture to remind myself that we also went to Butcher and Singer for RW.  Now here’s a place where the RW pricing is absolutely critical, as there’s no way that g and I can afford to drop upwards of $50 on a piece of meat … not including sides …  a and v joined us on this adventure, so we knew we were in for a good time – but would the food live up to the friends?  This being my first time at B&S I must say that I was super-impressed with the setting. This is a grand restaurant environment if there ever was one. The staff was courteous and prompt, which was a bonus – they were dealing with their completely-booked-for-RW-schedule just fine.  But there were some issues …  The wine list made us weep. While a spotted a nice bottle of ’07 Duoro that we sprung for, seeing other fairly commonplace wines at 4 times the local wine shop price made us die a little inside.  I understand that the whole “idea” of a fancy steakhouse is to be fancy … but at least let someone in the beverage department flex some muscle and put up a little section of wines that aren’t total rip-offs – or maybe make up an “interesting wines you’ve never had” section which would feature more reasonable prices for those willing to take a chance on something relatively unknown (looking at you Greece, Slovenia, Fingerlakes, China, India).  Maybe this way a, v, g, and I would be more inclined to visit?  Well, wait a second, that’s untrue – in order for us to visit on not RW, they’re also going to have to kick some more ass in the food department. The filet was fine … a nice, solid, appropriately-sized filet … but to be honest, g, who doesn’t do things like “play favorites” (g can be very tiger-mom-ish) admits that our home-cooked filet is superior. Boom.  TKO.  Similarly, the vichysoisse was good, but uninspired, as was the mashed/whipped potato.  Maybe there are strict rules against adding a twist of novelty here and there to tickle the senses?

dessert

Now B&S’s dessert, on the other hand, was quite surprising – it was actually pretty frickin’ great.  Being a devout chocolate-ophile, I’m pretty suspicious of “chocolate tarts”, “chocolate bombs”, and “chocolate cakes” – it’s going to have to actually do something to make me notice it, otherwise it might as well be like the slabs of chocolate cake they serve at my workplace’s cafeteria (which, by the way, are totally fine – I’ve been known to down a slice or two in my weaker moments!).  But one stab of this chocolate tart, and it started bleeding a sweet-but-not-too-sweet caramel that balanced perfectly against the dark bitter-but-not-too-bitter chocolate. I inhaled it.  Give me another!  Take back the mashed potato and give me one more of these things with my steak!  Seriously!

sotto

A polar opposite of B&S is Sotto.  Ah, Sotto.  You’re like the old recliner in every family’s family room.  You’re there, you’re not the prettiest piece of furniture, but you’re reliable as hell.   g and I returned with k to Sotto and were instantly reminded just how much we love this place.  But this time, get this, I did not  just get a bowl of pasta!  I also tried out calamari, which were fantastic!  So well-seasoned, and with a smokey charred flavor that is oh-so-great.  And, judging by appearance, it seems like there’s no bung (i.e. pig rectum) – so hooray for us!

And that’s pretty much it for a restaurant roundup for January.  We’ll have to get crackin’ with February.  Our opentable account indicates that g and I completed 42 reservations throughout the past year – we gotta beat it this year!  We’re on a quest for that $100 opentable gift certificate (so we can use it at a restaurant we couldn’t otherwise afford … Per Se, anyone?)

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

2 February 2014 at 4:22pm

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