Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Second Chance

Last weekend, SP & I went to see Blue Man Group at The Benedum. We like to go to the 2 pm shows on Saturday and then to dinner afterwards. We both would rather have a leisurely dinner after a show than dinner before an 8 pm show. I think, for me, it's because if I have a cocktail or wine, I'll get a bit sleepy, and if I eat too much, as I usually do, I'll feel way too full to enjoy the show.

Anyway, we decided to give Meat & Potatoes another chance. Our first and only visit was at the end of 2011 and it was not a great experience. Since this post is about the 'second chance' visit, I won't recap our previous visit.

This time, we made a reservation for 5:15 pm. The shows had been ending a bit before 5 pm, but for BMG, the show ended around 4 pm. So we had an hour to kill. It made us wish that M&P opened a bit earlier, or stayed open between lunch and dinner, because we would have loved to go over, have a cocktail and relax for an hour, then have dinner. Instead we sat on an eyeball bench in the eyeball park.

We finally walked the short distance to M&P. We waited in front of the hostess desk for longer than we should have, waiting for someone to ask if they could help us. Two girls walked away instead of asking if they could help us. They clearly saw us because they looked right at us, but apparently, they deemed us not worthy of their attention. The third was on the phone. A few moments after hanging up, she asked if she could help us. She was very pleasant and seated us right away. Final verdict: we both still find the front hostess service lacking though it was markedly better than the front hostess service last December. That was our main issue with M&P last time.

I've already written about the decor as have many other bloggers, local newspapers, and local magazines. So I'll get right to the drinks and food.
Beverages: fresh brewed iced tea for both of us. Barrel Aged Manhattan for SP. I tried a sip and thought it was very tasty but I'm not sure I could drink an entire glass myself. I don't remember much about the flavor, other than it seemed rich, strong, and just quite enjoyable. Strong cherry background.

Special Daily Appetizer: Chicherones. Homemade pork rinds. Crispy. I tried one crispy bite, no sauce. SP said the sauce was pickled tasting, a bit of a vinegar tang instead of a sweet sauce and very good.

Snack: Grilled Bread with Goat Butter and Strawberry Jam. So good. Crispy, grilled bread. Homemade strawberry jam with a bit of a honey taste, I think. Soft, silky, flavorful, decadent tasting butter. 

Snack: Fried Brussels. Oh my. Salty, halved brussel sprouts sprinkled with cheese. Totally shames the frozen, boiled sprouts of my youth. Some of the leaves were a bit black, others just soft and grilled. Lovely dipping sauce, mayo based, I think, but I didn't dip very much. I just enjoyed the salty, grilled brussels. 

SP's entree: Braised Lamb Shank with white beans, kale, broccolini, gremolata. Fall off the bone tender and moist meat. I had a bite and thought it was very flavorful, but just a wee bite because the shank was dusted with garlicky gremolata, which SP loved. The beans were creamy, not over cooked or under cooked or hard. The raisins and capers added a nice contrast to the sauce.

The lamb bone. 

My entree: Pappardelle with short rib, pancetta, parmesan. I'm not sure what they do to this, but the pasta was so flavorful and cooked just right, a tasty tomato sauce but not too much sauce and not a thin, runny sauce, just enough bits of short rib and pancetta meat to make you want just one more bite. 

Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake. A lemony, moist pound cake, mascarpone, more of the delicious strawberries from the jam. The jar is a cute presentation, but it makes it a bit difficult to get a bite of each component in the same spoonful.  

The food was just as good as we remember. The front hostess area was better but still could improve a bit. Our server was fantastic, asking right away if we were planning on seeing a show later on so they could make sure we weren't late for it, making sure our drinks were filled, offering to repeat any daily special description again. She was friendly, helpful, happily boxed our leftovers. What I noticed more this time, maybe because we weren't at the bar, was that the employees who brought our food / cleared our plates asked how everything tasted, if we needed anything. The service inside was terrific.

I really like M&P, from the interior decor to the menu to the service inside, both at the bar and at the tables. I can see why it made the 25 Best Restaurants List. I'm sure we'll be back, just always with a reservation!

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