2009 KRLD Restaurant Week: Reader Reviews by Nancy Nichols Posted in Restaurant News, Restaurant Week 2009. Aug 17, 2009 at 8:44 am 6 comments Comments are open. Operators are standing by. [Updated. Below: Abacus, Al Biernat’s, and Nick & Sam’s] Next Post Previous Post Read This Next 2009 KRLD Restaurant Week: Reader Reviews 2009 KRLD Restaurant Week: Reader Reviews 2009 KRLD Restaurant Week: Reader Reviews Joeli My husband and I began our month (we have reservations into the first part of September!) of RW at Nick and Sam’s last night. We received a very warm welcome and were seated promptly (albeit in the “private party room” completely by ourselves for the first 45 minutes or so – that felt a little weird). We added the shrimp cocktail to our meal and split the three HUGE shrimp – they were a little tough but tasted good. My husband chose the Tuna Nicoise to start and the Frozen Lemon Souffle to finish. I had the soup of the day (a chicken chowder, as described by our waiter – it wasn’t heavy at all, with chunks of potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and nicely cooked chicken) and finished with the milk chocolate carmelized banana bread pudding (good, but if chocolate and banana were in the dish couldn’t have proven it by my serving). We both chose the filet with the provolone cheese sauce. The entree came with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. While everything was very tasty and well-prepared, the steak and potatoes were definitely the stars of the night. Both of our (very hearty 8 oz) steaks were cooked perfectly to order and the potatoes were silky with a nice mellow (and buttery!) garlic flavor. We split a bottle of Kenwood Pinot Noir and left with a waddle. There was no charge for our valet and our service throughout was thoughtful. A great way to start RW. S We had dinner last night at Abacus. The experience was, in a word, amazing. Flavors were wonderful, food well prepared, service outstanding – from hostess to tableside service. The only blackmark to the atmosphere wasn’t the restaurant’s fault. An overloud group of young women shared their conversation with half of the main dining room. Ugh. Get a personal volume meter people…you’re not that interesting. We used our 4th Course certificates for the Lobster Shooters. Yum. Small plates: my husband had the tiger shrimp, I had the scallop. Scallop is a tricky thing, often delivered over-cooked and rubbery or under-cooked and slightly yuck. Not last night. It was the best prepared scallop I’ve ever had. Loved the intermezzo sangria icee. Delicious, refreshing and palate cleansing. Big plates: Husband ordered steak with wild mushrooms and goat polenta cake. Steak was perfectly cooked with a crispy crust and medium interior. I had salmon with grits. The grits were mixed with a pico de gallo-type vegetable combination. Ah.ma.zing. Sweet plates: The shared sampler of goodies was a little overwhelming. It included – Candied Citrus Scone-Strawberry-Mint Shortcake, Valrhona-Milk Chocolate Pudding-Nutella Crunch, Warm Banana Rum Cakes with Hot Banana Caramel, Double Chocolate-Caramel Brownie Bites, and Key Lime Cheesecake Napoleon. Not as flavorful as the other dishes…the best item was the strawberry shortcake with its punch of mint. Honestly, we felt they could have cut back on the sweets by 1 or 2 options and we would have been just as happy. It was a fantastic start to RW! (Next up: Nana’s on Thursday.) http://freckledcitizen.com Maggie We were at Abacus last night as well. Our waiter was really wonderful and service was excellent. He steered us away from the steak choice that S above enjoyed – we told him we’d dined there before and he said it was a lesser cut of meat than what Abacus usually serves, and we might be disappointed. I appreciate that kind of candor. Small plates: I had the same shrimp starter described above and it was excellent – bright and lively and delicious, with a gorgeous sweet potato puree spiked with jalapeno oil. My husband had the pork belly confit, which was as rich and luscious as you could hope for, and paired with fantastic brussel sprouts and a parsnips puree. Big plates: I ordered the crispy seared Texas red fish. I wasn’t very hungry and wanted something on the lighter side, but nearly every person around us had ordered the salmon and I wanted to try a different fish. It was excellent, if a bit bland, but the pairings – a celery root puree with a gorgeous tomato butter – turned each bite into heaven. My husband ordered the sherry-braised short rib, which was tasty but not out of this world. The broccolini it was paired with was disappointing, but the roasted garlic bread pudding was an A++++ – it tasted like the best version of Thanksgiving stuffing you’ve ever dared imagine. I agree with S on the desserts – there was a lot going on there. We liked the mini strawberry shortcake and a lemon something-or-other the best. We also completely forgot about the Central Market 4th Course and ordered the lobster shooters anyway – d’oh! On another note, the wine pairings weren’t great, and if we went back we wouldn’t order them again. Mine were good, but my husband’s were fairly uninspired. We would’ve been better off ordering glasses that we knew we loved from the start. A great start to the week… Stephan Pyles on tap tonight, where I will try to find an appetite after last night’s feast! Amanda AL BIERNAT’S Let’s take just a moment to consider what makes an amazing restaurant. First, high quality food, consistently prepared well using great ingredients and a constantly evolving menu. Second, stellar service. Using these two measurments, it is no wonder that Al’s is always at the top of everyone’s list of favorite restaurants! We were seated immediatley, complete with the guys who work there up to their old trick of knowing our names and asking how we are doing. Thanks to CM we started with the fourth course of Tuna Tartar Tacos. I have been told that the new chef has spent some time in recent years in California, and it really shows in this dish. Beautiful sashimi grade tuna, cut into small cubes and served in 3 mini taco shells with jalepenos, pine nuts, and some great sauce and herbs. There was a wasabi based sauce and a chili based sauce on the plate, but the jalapenos were plenty of heat for me. Next I had the gazpacho and my husband had the prawns. Both excellent, but in mid August there is not much better than a bright, full flavor gazpacho. I could eat it every day. Full of gorgeous crisp veggies and just tasted like the peak of summer. Then we both had the prime rib with small (thankfully) twice baked potatoes and young green beans. Excellent! Amazingly flavorful and tender without fat disrupting the huge inner area. I could not finish mine, and took home a doggie bag for my dogs, but had to fight the husband off of it! We finished with coconut pie for him and a chocolate brioche bread pudding for me. Mine was not as rich as I had feared and very delicate in texture. I admit that it was the weak point in the meal, but mainly because the rest was so incredible. Then there is the service. OK, you can get great service at many places in Dallas (Stephen Pyles and Craft come to mind), but Al’s has a charisma that really makes the whole experience a lot of fun. The waiters are passionate about the food, laid back, unhurried and friendly. That combined with the fantastic service itself is a winning combination. Each time we go there I love our waiter and really want to have him again. It is part of the Al’s experience and I hope it never changes. Such an incredible meal for such a silly price. Oh, how I love RW! If you are not booked into Al’s, call and beg! restaurateur Those who make multiple RW reso’s for the same day and time then no-show or cxl at the last minute make this charity event a pain in the *ss Sharon Limpsky Went to Nobu a few nights ago, first time there…the restaurant itself is beautiful, loved the birch trees and the wall of river rocks. We were sat promptly, surprisingly, considering the chaotic nature of the place, it was quite packed…a bit loud for our taste but everyone seemed to be having fun. Our sever recommended some martinis, I had a champagne 95, and my husband a lychee. Different but very good, I had never heard of a lychee before. As for our meal, I ordered the black cod, again recommended by our server, and my husband had the tenderloin. We started with our amuse-bouche, some seaweed with some sort of spicy sauce. Then our salad, followed by our sushi roll and miso soup. Then our main course…the cod was wonderful…sweet and buttery, and melted in my mouth…I can see why our waiter said it was the most popular…my husband loved his tenderloin with the wasabi pepper sauce…very good, even though the waiter said it wasn’t the best beef they had on the menu. For dessert, I had this chocolate miso mousse cake, and my husband had the lemon yuzu meringue. We left very happy with everything, I love restaurant week, so much good food at a great deal. Service was great considering the volume…hope the rest of our reservations are great as well…next stop, Charlie Palmers.