new urban eats promo
We hit Steelhead Diner for this last night . . . great food (all off the regular menu), but the service was a little slow. We also ordered some extras . . . the fried cheese curds (who doesn't love fried cheese!) and the fried hominy. The flavors of dinner were fantastic, local & fresh (beet tartare, wild king w/port soaked cherries, and crispy chicken spring rolls), and overall the prices on the full menu were reasonable. There was a loooong time between apps and entrees, but hopefully that's the result of a full house and still being somewhat new. I think this promo is a great addition to the dining scene!
I have to admit we gave into all the buzz and tried out Steelhead Diner last night. Maybe it was all the press and buildup it has been receiving that made me think the experience was going to be good, but what a huge disappointment! While I expected the service to be bad, I couldn't have imagined it would be THAT bad. It was awful. After a long wait for a spot at the communal table, (there were about 10 empty seats when we came in, but it took them 25 minutes to put silverware and placemats down) we were seated and our waiter poured water for us and told us we could find the wine list on the back of the paper placemat that served as a menu, and ran off. No mention of the $30 Urban Eats promotion, no menu for that in sight. A few minutes later, another couple was seated next to us. The waiter brought their water and pointed to their menus. During the subsequent long wait, we decided what we wanted from the regular menu, and finally the waiter re-appeared, only to take the order of the couple that had been seated next to us after we were seated. Irritating. He spent a long while with them, and then disappeared again. By the time he got back to us, he started out by saying "Thanks for your patience". I replied that I wasn't very patient. He said "Oh, do you know what you want?" I asked about the menu for the Urban Eats promotion, and he said - oh, wait, let me find that somewhere and then he disappeared again. Argh. Eventually, he brings the $30 menu back, and then stands there and asks us if we know what we want. I quickly ordered the polenta with morels and English Peas off of the regular menu, and my friend quickly ordered the Beet Tartare and Pastina "risotto" from the promotional menu. Not a great start, but I was happy to be spending time with my friend, so that was enjoyable.
The Beet Tartare with goat cheese arrived in a normal amount of time. It has been getting good reviews, but I think it would have been more aptly named Horseradish Tartare. I love the flavor of beets, and the horseradish completely overpowered the golden beets and goat cheese. We wouldn't order it again. However, the vegetable chips accompanying the dish were tasty - lotus root and taro chips were very sweet.
The polenta with morels and English peas arrived very, very hot. The crispy wedge of polenta was plated swimming in butter, very crispy crust, very soft and tasty center. I liked it, but what's not to like about a wedge of fried cheesy grits in butter? The morels were the highlight of the whole dinner. They were wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, cooked just perfectly, still holding their mushroom flavor, not overpowered by the butter or cream. The English peas, all 6 or 8 of them, were good if skimpy, and provided a nice balance to the richness of the dish. Very rich dish. The best way to order that dish would have been Jack Nicholson style - I want the morels with polenta and peas, just hold the polenta and peas, please ma'am.
Unfortunately, although it arrived with a few morels sprinkled on top, my friend's pastina "risotto" with asparagus was awful. Bland. Boring. Lifeless. Gloppy bowl of mushy pasta. That's all. Just terrible. He ate the other half of my polenta dish for his dinner.
He ordered the chocolate pecan pie for dessert, and it was okay, but nothing to write home about.
Service throughout the meal was lackluster - water glasses went unfilled, I had to get up and track down the waiter to get my bill, I had to ask twice for a staff person to move the cigarette smokers away from the front entrance (all the doors were open and even though they were standing in front of the restaurant, it was like sitting in the smoking section). I will say that the youngest hostess was both delightful and personable.
So. So much for our Urban Eats at the Steelhead Diner experience. By the way, it was not a full house when we were there last night between 7 and 8:30.
By the way, I was pleased to see that they had red beans and rice and smothered collard greens on the menu. Has anyone tried them? There's a lot to be said for a great bowl of red beans and rice.
Went to Qube and it was mostly good. The salmon pillow app was excellent as was the mousse dessert. I had the halibut which was nicely done as far as the fish was concerned but the accompanying sauce lacked flavor and there were some coconut rice squares included that were just ridiculous dry pasty things. Someone else had the duck and gave it a good report as well. Overall I'd recommend it, though hopefully you'll have better luck with the rice if you choose the halibut. They also had a fun list of cocktails.
To my surprise, I have found myself thoroughly enjoying this promotion. I had excellent meals at Crush and Red Fin (I was extremely skeptical about the sushi dinner, but have to say it was very impressive -- there's no way the restaurant is not losing money on this one) and a reasonably good, if unmemorable, meal at Moxie. I still need to make it to another 4 or 5 restaurants. A lot of the restaurants are rotating regular menu items through the special menu so there isn't the second-tier treatment common during the $25 for $25.