Reflections On State & Allen Appetizers

After a trip to State & Allen in Uptown, intern James Bright  felt moved to detail his appetizer experience. We encourage that around here. Take it away, James…

Appetizers are the unsung heroes of any dining experience. Lucky for us, State and Allen Restaurant and Lounge addresses that by offering destined for the forefront of diner’s thoughts.

The real gem of State and Allen’s starters is the baked brie with roasted garlic ($8.95). The dish is served over French bread and a mixture of greens with vinaigrette dressing. For the best experience, place the greens on the bread with a garlic clove, then top it with a slice of warm brie. This combination creates a perfect storm of salty and sweet. The only downside: the app only feeds two to three people.

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Alternately, the triple dip deserves mention. Hummus, spinach-artichoke dip, and salsa with feta cheese are served with pita bread and corn chips. The hummus is a typical chickpea recipe with olive oil and garlic. The spinach artichoke dip, while delicious, is very similar to other restaurants’ preparations. The real stand-out of these three is the salsa with feta. State and Allen takes Mexican and Greek flavors, combining them to in a blend that is both sweet and pungent. The dips easily serve five, which makes them a steal at $8.50.

State and Allen also offers the more conventional short rib quesadillas. The brisket overwhelms the taste of the pico de gallo and cheese, but the quesadillas are still a worthwhile pick for those interested in meat. The appetizer will feed up to five people as well, or could double as an entree. At $8.95 the short rib quesadillas are safe bet that works well with any palate, or beverage.

The only real disappointment on the starter menu is the Cajun calamari. The squid is fried—no surprise there—but there is no Cajun flavoring. It has no pop. There’s no zest and therefore provides nothing special. If patrons are craving traditional calamari, this will suit them, but don’t expect anything exciting. It’s definitely not worth the $8.95. Take Cajun out of the name and the lower the price by two dollars and this appetizer becomes a bargain. Until that happens, I recommend the aforementioned dishes, which should be more than enough to keep you busy until your entrée arrives.