Stinking Rose - Pleasantly Surprised
I found myself with a $50 gift certificate for the Stinking Rose(came with some other items at a silent auction) and decided to go there for lunch, a few weeks ago, with my wife. The decision did not come easily as I had read much of what had been said on this board, and considered either regifting it or just ordering items that might be safe. In the end, I decided to just go for it and see what happened.
We started with the Bagna Calda (Garlic soaking in a hot tub) which is meant to be spread on their bread. I've had this at other restaurants in the past, and this was certainly fine and the bread was excellent and fresh.
My wife ordered the Louisiana Shrimp in Garlic tomato broth. She is very picky about shrimp not being overcooked, and she found it to be to her liking and found the broth nicely spiced and great for dipping with the bread. Actually, she liked it so much we found the recipe online and made it last night. Yum.
I had the "Silence of the Lamb Shank" with Chianti glaze & fava beans. The lamb was tender and well accompanied with the beans. Neither dish seemed over the top with garlic.
Now a word about the service. Our waiter who was very attentive, did make the mistake of dropping our bottle of wine, much of which spilled on my leather jacket. The mess was cleaned up, wine replaced, leather jacket taken somewhere in the back where they performed some magic, because by the end of the meal it was returned and I could not tell it had been spilled on. Additionally, the offer was made to pay for any dry cleaning. I know there are much higher regarded restaurants that would not have done as much.
The waiter went on to comp desert which we limited to sharing an ice cream sundae.
So, all in all, a very nice lunch, and certainly better than many I have had.
Well, it helps to have lowered expectations. I remember first encountering the place maybe 15 years ago, seeing the mob of people waiting to get in, and thinking "this place must be good," but always being put off because of the persistent crowds. Then after reading the Chowhound posts I figured I wouldn't bother. Eventually, though my curiosity got the better of me once when there wasn't a line to get in, so I finally tried the place. At that point I really wasn't looking for anything fantastic. So pretty much gettting what I expected, I really don't have that negative view of the place.
Thanks, Ian! It's always good to get an update on a restaurant that's been relegated to "don't go there" list and thus never gets reported on!
It sounds to me like you ordered well -- that is, you chose dishes that were classic and not gimmicky (despite their names). Or perhaps they have a new chef.