Tuesday, June 24, 2008
4th Street Grill
As has the rest of America already...it was Sex in the City night for my girlfriends and I. Happily the movie was faithful to the series and very satisfying to watch. But before that we had just an OK dinner at the 4th Street Grill. Disappointing because I've had great meals here in the past.
There were three of us and when we entered the restaurant we requested a booth. I'm glad we did because the booth tables seemed larger and we ordered a lot of food. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures because I wasn't really thinking about blogging about it. But then I changed my mind.
Mike Dunne, in the Bee, has often written about servers and their styles. Should they introduce themselves or not? How attentive should they be? Personally, I appreciate at least knowing their name so I can ask for them if I need to. Our server was a nice enough guy, but I don't know his name. He also wasn't that attentive. When he did appear he was nice enough, but I suppose he just didn't click with us and we would have liked to see him a little more often to take care of our needs. You know, filling our glasses, clearing our plates.
The menus were nice and clean and printed on a folded card stock. I take this to mean they change their menu pretty often, which is good. You need to change things up and make use of what's currently in season. I was also happy with the selection. I had my eye on a couple of items but settled on the lamb steaks with a minted pesto, roasted potatoes and, this was the clincher, half of a grilled artichoke.
My girlfriends were in a hungry mood. They ended up splitting a grilled artichoke appetizer, a small spinach salad, and two entrees: gnocchi with blue cheese sauce and chicken breast and a chicken piccata.
We started out with some sliced foccacia and butter. I judge a restaurant right off the bat with their bread. The foccacia had obviously been cut in advance, perhaps even for lunch. It was already drying out and stale. And foccacia really lends itself better to dipping in olive oil than being spread with butter.
Their artichoke came out first. Now for those who don't know, the best grilled artichokes in town are done at Banderas. But if I see a grilled artichoke, I'm almost certain to order it. The choke came out looking appetizing enough, but looks are deceiving. It was underdone. It could have used a bit more boiling before throwing it onto the grill. Also, it just wasn't a good quality choke. Not a lot of the edible part on it and rather small center, although the overall size was good. The dipping sauce was unremarkable as well.
The gals seemed happy enough with the spinach salad. But then, how badly can you mess that up? So we move on to the entrees.
My lamb had two nice size portions, a handful of roasted Yukon potatoes, and the half choke. We already know the story of the choke. The lamb was cooked well and covered in a nice amount of the minted pesto. Yum. Mine only disappointment was the amount of fat and a couple of totally unchewable bites.
Dari and Darcy (my life involves a lot of D-named people) split their entrees as well. I had no interest in the gnocchi because I hate blue cheese. They were covered in a thick and creamy blue cheese sauce and then chicken was sliced on top. I love a good piccata and had almost ordered it here, but was glad I didn't because it looked very disappointing. I took a stab at it and found out I was right. In the end the girls both commented on how they were actually kind of mixing the two together because the piccata was light and the gnocchi was pretty heavy. So the two dishes didn't seem to stand up well on their own.
All in all, disappointing. But I won't write off the restaurant completely. I tend to go about once a year and usually am very happy. It might have just been an off day.