Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So many restaurants, so little time. But with the economy it could soon be fewer restaurants and more time. One of the ways that restaurants try to entice patrons during a slow January is by participating in Downtown Dining Week. They offer a three course meal for a deal price of $30. Many great restaurants participate and I always try to choose one that is newer and that I haven't been to before. Last year was Spataro, a restaurant related to the Paragary's chain. This year I chose another Paragary's related one - The Cosmopolitan.
I had scheduled my Meetup group to originally go to see the show, Forever Plaid, because I had heard it was good and it was going to end at the end of the month. But then Downtown Dining Week scheduled at the same time and so I added dinner. Now with the economy and Arnold threatening my pay, I could only afford one or the other. Food won.
Our reservation was for 6:15 since I was told that would ensure sufficient time to get to the 8:00 show. BARELY. I won't go into much details on the slow service since Eileen covers it in her blog. I'll just say service was slow, they totally forgot Eileen's fish and chips appetizer and Robert made it to the show only because they held the doors for diners who also had a delay in receiving their bills. It might have been slow, but at least it was very friendly.
As for the food, I think it was a winner for everyone. The three course for $30 was a selection of either porcini mushroom soup or quail egg on toast with frissee, then chicken or Wagyu beef, then cheesecake or a chocolate peanut butter mousse dessert. For some reason the menu link only shows some of the items.
My friend and I decided to split a three course special and then I added a small plate. The first to arrive was the poached quail egg on toast (the egg slipped off the toast) and the frissee salad. I guess I was expecting something a little more elaborate. And now that I look at the description on the menu (see above link) I'm wondering what happened to my piece of crispy pork belly that was supposed to be on it? Anyway, it was simple and nice but nothing to scream home about. We didn't choose the soup because I don't do mushrooms.
My small plate was house smoked sausage with mustardy cabbage and fingerling potatoes. Yum! The sausage was a kinda zesty kielbasa and it was very flavorful. It was a nice amount for a small plate for $9. A good value.
We opted for slightly healthier by selecting the chicken entree with butternut squash and root vegetable hash. The hash was something I had recently tried to accomplish on my own at home and was unsuccessful at. So I paid attention to it and really liked it. The veggies were diced very small and the seasoning was just right for the sweetness of the butternut, finished off with the richness of butter. The chicken was perfectly cooked. I'm always wary of chicken but this was so nicely done, very moist. Nothing exceptional with the spice though.
Our dessert selection was once again governed by what I didn't like and so we opted for the cheesecake. It was fabulous. They gave us a generous slice (considering it was part of the meal deal) and it was so light, fluffy, and rich! It just melted in your mouth. Loved it!
Rhonda had the Wagyu beef and said it was very good. It certainly looked good.
Overall I was very impressed with the food, not so with the service. Was it because it was busy for dining week? Sue was facing the kitchen and commented that it looked like they were understaffed in the kitchen and the waiters kept hovering.
I will return again some day. Paragary's chain scores again, but then did you doubt it?