3 comments on “Week Two: KRLD Restaurant Week Reader Reviews

  1. My wife and I dined at Abacus on Tuesday evening. They proved they are worthy of praise with fantastic execution of corn soup. The rock shrimp provide the ideal texture to compliment the abundance of flavors coming from the dish.

    The pecan crusted pork chop on blue cheese polenta demonstrated a high level of technique and precision. Some might prefer a bit more restraint w/ the blue cheese but it stood out as a memorable dish for me.

    On the flip side, the tenderloin was a complete afterthought. While the meat was properly cooked to my wife’s medium rare request, it lacked any flavor beyond a light meaty taste. The vegetables were mushy and neglected in the kitchen. Black truffles overwhelmed the mashed potatoes to the point where they weren’t enjoyable.

    For dessert, they offer 3 small dishes for you to share. The buttermilk pie was enjoyable. The chocolate mousse cake was well executed but there was no bananas foster sauce to be found. The shortcake was serviceable but neither of us could find a hint of orange liqueur in the whip.

    Our server (whose name is eluding me) was a pleasure to interact with all night. Service was good to great w/ one notable exception. From the time our intermezzo was served, it took 45-50 minutes to receive our entrees. We noticed similar timing issues at the tables around us. The server never updated us on the status of our plates except when prompted by me after about 30-35 minutes of waiting. She quickly returned from the kitchen to let us know that our ticket was next in line to be prepared.

    All in all, I enjoyed Abacus and look forward to dining with them again. If this was Yelp, I would give them the elusive 3.5 star rating.

  2. This is a followup to a review of Stephan Pyles RW offering that I did on Aug 16. (see at http://sidedish.wpengine.com/2011/08/16/2011-krld-restaurant-week-reader-reviews/ ) The manager Michael Bratcher responded to a comment card I left and asked us back on their dime to let them try again at their restaurant week menu,

    In short, this visit was everything I’ve come to expect from Stephan Pyles. It was a fantastic dinner. We were very well treated by our server Cory (corey? cori?) (sorry, no photo) who was very attentive all evening. All of the problems we had from the previous visit had been fixed. The pork belly this time was very flavorful, cooked just right. This time I noticed the accompanying sauce was a flavorful, tasty delight. I assume it was there last time, it was just overwhelmed by the cooking of the pork belly and I missed it.

    They replaced the New York strip that has multiple bad comments on SideDish with a short rib dish that is a more than capable alternative. It ended up being my favorite dish of the night (although it was neck-and-neck with the always good soup). The short rib fell apart with a fork, and again it was full of the flavors and complexity expected from Stephan Pyles. While I didn’t try the cevice 4th course this time, a tablemate was very pleased by it.

    Dessert this time, the semifreddo came out just right. We also tried the butterscotch panna cotta, which we did not have previously, and it won me over despite my dislike for butterscotch.

    This was the dinner I was hoping for all along. I have to applaud the restaurant and Michael Bratcher in particular for reaching out, for ensuring a diner’s happiness, and for being willing to readjust a menu when an item wasn’t working. And I should note that while Michael definitely came by often to check on us, everyone in the room was getting his attention. We weren’t singled out for the good treatment. This is the Stephan Pyles I’ve seen in my other visits, and I’m encouraged that my last visit was an aberration.