Monday, February 17, 2014

Grit & Grace

This past weekend we had a 'date Saturday' - a day with no chores, just fun. Sadly, SP did have a chore in order for us to even leave the house: shoveling the 3" of snow. Sure would have been nice to have a snow blower delivered in working condition... After shoveling out, we went to see Mamma Mia (so much fun!) and then met S & R at Grit & Grace for dinner (they were going to the evening showing of Mamma Mia).
It was our first time at Grit & Grace but all four of us had been to the restaurant previously in this space (Taste of Dahntahn). We all thought the interior is much, much improved from ToD. Dimly lit, golds and browns, comfy looking booths. My only complaint is that the space is kind of narrow and goes back pretty far, but they have done a nice job of keeping the middle, main corridor free to get past tables. SP & I arrived 15-20 minutes early; we got tired of walking around in the cold and bored circling the aisles in a dingy CVS, so we decided to just go over early and hope our table was ready!
A table was ready, but sadly we were initially taken to a booth. Don't get me wrong - it looked like a great booth, curved in a semi circle and tucked in a corner, but I really didn't want to transfer in & out of the wheelchair (and then figure out where to stash the wheelchair) nor did I want to sit at the end sticking out into the aisle, so I asked if we could have a table. There are precious few non-bar height tables and non-booth tables, but SP had called ahead of time to stress that one person was in a wheelchair and we would need a table and he had been told no problem. Of course I was shooting SP the 'hubby, I thought you took care of this and now I am annoyed' look. Happily, they were able to relocate us to a table.

Since we were early, we ordered drinks, studied the menu, and marveled at the transformation from Taste of Dahntahn into Grit & Grace. So much better.
Arsenal Cider & Dark & Stormy
Grit & Grace is a restaurant from the same people who opened Spoon & BRGR. All four of us have dined at Spoon and really enjoyed our experiences, so we had high hopes. Grit & Grace markets itself as a dim sum restaurant, but I think in this case it's not dim sum in the sense of Chinese dim sum like what I have had at Chinese restaurants in San Francisco & New York with rolling carts of treats but dim sum in the sense that dim sum = tapas = small & large plates and you are encouraged to share dishes. Also, this dim sum is a mix of flavors, not just Asian flavors.

In addition to the menu, a server brings around a tray of already prepared dim sum, describes them, and you can select what you want ($5/each). Food ordered from the menu comes out as it is ready, so there is no course 1, course 2, etc. It's a parade of beautifully presented deliciousness.

I had been a bit apprehensive about Grit & Grace because it seemed like an awful lot of the dishes had garlic, curry, chili, cilantro, hoisin, kimchi - all bad for my tummy. I asked our server if an ingredient could be left off of a dish and she said yes.

There was a lot of food on our table. SP & I ordered our dishes and shared while S & R ordered their choices and shared. I took photos of everything (they are used to me doing this now!). Since I didn't try everything, I can't comment on everything, but I will say that we all really enjoyed what we ate.

Here's what was on the table:
Crispy Sweetbreads (from dim sum tray)

Short ribs, cream cheese biscuits, aged white cheddar cheese, hollandaise

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, sheep milk cheese, fish sauce (from dim sum tray)

Duck Heart Pate (something like that!) (from dim sum tray)

Tasso Ham Flatbread, black garlic, olive oil, leeks, mushrooms, fontina cheese, kale arugula - happily they were able to leave off the black garlic. This was SO TASTY. Chewy flatbread, delicious, salty ham, cheese goodness, the kale & arugula a nice mix of greens. It's a pretty big portion & SP is lucky I couldn't finish it all myself (although I wanted to) because every time he reached for a piece, I wanted to slap his hand away.

Seared Flap Steak, crispy cheesy potatoes, kimchi braised cauliflower, black garlic steak sauce

Iceberg Salad, pickled fennel & cucumber, red onion, ginger & miso vinaigrette, horseradish crisp

Crispy Pig Face Roulade, sunnyside up egg, Napa cabbage slaw, chicharrons, egg yolk hot sauce, toasted sourdough, miso apple butter

Pork Belly (from dim sum tray)

Dayboat Scallops, lobster dumpling, parsnip, miso dashi, hoisin

Coffee & Cereal dessert (according to receipt). I call it Fruity Pebbles & Chocolate dessert
I loved the short rib biscuits, of course, I love short ribs. The Brussels sprouts dim sum we shared was very good. Somehow the roasted Brussels we order when dining out are always so much tastier than the ones we make at home. I didn't try SP's pig face roulade but he raved about the egg and pork goodness. He didn't eat the bread because he was watching his carb intake. The scallops were good, but mine seemed a bit stringy-like when I cut into it. It could just be the scallop, not the preparation, and SP said he didn't think they were stringy at all. So maybe I was just loopy from my Dark & Stormy?! My cocktail was delicious, that wonderful gingery bite I love these days. I loved the bite of lobster dumpling (under the scallops) I had, but I also tasted something like garlic or maybe it was just the hoisin so I didn't eat more than a tiny bite.

Dessert. There are 2 intriguing options. We each shared the same one and I cannot remember the other option. This was some kind of fruity pebbles dessert. It was supposed to have coffee favor, I thought, but I didn't taste coffee. I liked the round balls of chocolate and the white sauce - it was like a melted vanilla ice cream with crumbled fruity pebbles in it. I didn't like the texture of the squares - they were like fruit roll ups. It was strange because it was one of those dishes that I didn't really like, I kept taking bites, trying to figure it out, I wasn't sure about it, but I kept eating another spoonful and then another spoonful, and even as I didn't really like the fruity pebbles, I wanted more of them. It was like my love-hate relationship with chips, specifically Doritos.

We would definitely go back to Grit & Grace but perhaps not have dessert - maybe another dim sum or another item off the menu. I probably could have eaten more Brussels sprouts or short rib biscuits - they were so good! I left a little surprised at how much the meal cost - it all added up and made sense, but perhaps because it wasn't a traditional 3-4 course meal it didn't feel like it was going to be that much. Plus, we ordered alcoholic beverages.

Our server was terrific, explaining items, answering questions, and I definitely give them points for finding us a table after first directing us to a booth.

Grit & Grace on Urbanspoon

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