Little Owl review
I had a great meal at The Little Owl last night. It's a fantastic place in just about all aspects.
We arrived at 9:30 for a 9:30 reservation, and were seated after just a minute or so at the corner table (right next to the kitchen), which was great. An excellent vantage point of the whole restaurant (including everyone else's food!).
Service was professional without being uptight at all - very friendly, very helpful, very fun waitstaff.
We started off with the meatball sliders. As everyone else has said, these were great - really delicious meatballs, the pork/beef/veal mix is just right, the gravy was flavorful and made it all nice and juicy without being a mess, and the buns were soft and light. I should note that we ordered the sliders, were brought 2 each on 2 different plates, and then later charged for an extra one. I have no qualms with this, but someone should have said something (maybe even just "the usual order has three, would you like us to add a 4th?"). But, still, no biggie at all.
For our entrees, we had the pork chop (Or should I say The Pork Chop) and the chicken. Pork chop: huge, perfectly cooked, lightly seasoned (just salt and pepper), packed with flavor. The butter beans were just right - not too firm, not mushy, and great when eaten with the juices from the pork chop. Chicken: crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, accompanied by a serviceable potato and bacon tart (good, but nothing remarkable) and some very good swiss chard that complemented the chicken perfectly.
We also had a side of brussel sprouts and pecans, which was the one entirely forgettable part of the meal. Next time, the greens, or mashed potatoes, or beans.
For dessert, chocolate brownie cake with espresso gelato. The gelato was phenomenal; the cake was dry and leaden. I mentioned this to the waitress - not to complain, really, just because she asked what we thought of the dessert - and she took it off the bill. I assured her it was no problem, and she insisted, and then offered to bring us another dessert. I felt bad, too, as I said, "the gelato was excellent," and she said, "oh . . . we don't make the gelato."
Really, though, I'd go back here in a second, it's a real gem, and there should be more like it.
The slider charge sounds sketchy, but at least it was balanced out by the dessert freebie. I actually tried to make a return trip last night at 7, but there was already an hour plus wait for a table for 2!
You don't say whether the menu indicated how many sliders were included in the order and, if not, whether you asked. In any event, I don't consider it "no biggie" if a server suggests an extra item but fails to say that there is an additional price. It's like the practice of servers describing specials without providing prices. Regardless of how big or small the extras cost, restaurant personnel should not keep them a secret.
RGR, I agree completely, my point is only that, well, I had a wonderful time last night, and this didn't really change that. To be clearer, the menu did not say how many sliders, (they were $10 on the menu), we were brought 4 in total, and then at the end, we were charged $13 (and it noted that there was a charge for an additional slider). Thinking about it, I would have been outraged if almost anything was different - if I hadn't just had as nice a meal, if I hadn't just been given a free dessert, if I hadn't just had half of a nice bottle of wine (or, certainly, if I hadn't just come from a Mets playoff victory, but that is another story entirely). Picturing a similar scenario in my head at other places, I would have almost certainly complained - I hate when prices on specials aren't quoted, and then are way out of line with the rest of the restaurant's dishes, or when other unwelcome/unexpected charges pop up - but, for me last night anyway, this didn't ruffle my feathers too much. (Although I wonder, if we had been 3 people, would we each have gotten one slider? would they have suggested 2 orders? would we each have gotten 2 and been charged for 2 orders?).
I should also note, for what it's worth, that they were out of cheese completely, for anyone going in anticipation of a cheese plate at the end. Strange indeed.
But, to reiterate, all in all, a great time last night.
Adam, Thanks for the further explanation. It actually was clear to me from your original post that you viewed this as a minor detail because just everything else about the experience was so positive, including the way the server handled the dessert situation.
I am happy that you agree with me about my annoyance re: restaurants not bothering to mention additional costs. And your parenthetical about the number of diners vs. the number of sliders, etc., makes the point quite nicely. In the end, I guess it always goes back to "caveat emptor."
Based on your excellent, detailed report, as well as reviews from other Hounds, it's obvious there is a lot to recommend about Little Owl. It is on my "go to" list, and I hope to get there in the not too distant future.
No more asparagus home fries with the chicken?!? That's a shame - I always thought those were the best thing on the menu.
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