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Sep 7, 2006 02:55 PM

The Alchemist in J.P.

I went there last night for the first time. I had a great meal! I ordered the spare ribs appetizer and the roast chicken entree. Both dishes showed a lot of imagination and came with some great 'sides'. Plus, the bread and flavored oil at the start of the meal were divine. Good prices. Our waiter was friendly and fun, but the rest of the staff were just so-so. The dining room could use a bit more atmosphere, while the lounge area was bustling and fun.

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  1. I ate there with a friend last Friday night on a whim.

    Excellent focaccia, the oil was just eh, the tasty kalamatas were a nice touch.

    Ordered the fried risotto with mussels, clams, etc. as an app. Man that was good, the combination of a mussel with a bite of that fried risotto was rich, crunchy and bursting with seafood flavor all at once. Sopping up the broth with the focaccia was a treat as well.

    I had one of the flatbread pizzas with prosciutto and ... I forget. It was good, but I'll stick to the regular entree list next time. The "crust" could have been a little more cooked. Maybe you can request well done?

    My friend ordered the sheppard's pie. He ate it all. I had a bite of the meat (real chucks of beef, not ground beef) and it tasted well seasoned and very tender.

    Service was great.

    Interesting mix for the crowd.

    1. I was there on Saturday. The highlight of the meal was the focaccia that they served before the meal. Unlike Dax, I was not impressed with the fried risotto, although the presentation was great. My steak sandwich was basic and good. Others who I was dining with really liked the baked penne and the flatbreads and found the pulled pork sandwich to be mediocre since it lacked spice. The cocktails were hit or miss (depending on who made them and how much attention they were paying).

      Our waitress and the hostess were outstanding...

      Although this is not the type of food that I crave on a regular basis, I will be back...

      2 Replies
      1. re: eatanddestroy

        What about the risotto did you not like? That it was fried and kind of crunchy more than rich and smooth?

        1. re: eatanddestroy

          I have dreams about the focaccia. The drink I had was amazing as well.

          The steak sandwich I tried has potential, if they do something about the overabundance of pepper and fine tune grill skills, so as not to leave the meat too dry.

          Dining companion had the flatbread pizza. perfectly acceptable, but nothing special.

        2. I found that the risotto and the broth had very little flavor. I actually liked that it was fried. Also, the mussels that we received were not choice picks. However, my main complaint, which could have had influence on my overall opinion of the dish, is that it was sprinked with peas (no mention of this on the menu), and I have an extreme hatred for peas that I have not been able to shake over the years.

          (oops, meant to post this as a reply to Dax's above comment/question)

          3 Replies
          1. re: eatanddestroy

            The peas tasted somewhat frozen. I hate them too.

            My broth and risotto had plenty of flavor. I mean the flavor could have been stronger, but it was tasty to me.

            1. re: Dax

              Let's start a no peas campaign. All these perfectly good scallop dishes are ruined cuz chefs think peas go so well with them. Corn please with my scallops.

              1. re: Joanie

                I second the anti-peas campaign and, Dax, next time I go to the Alchemist, I will try the Risotto again, but I'll ask for no peas and see if I have a change of heart without those invasive green critters.

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