Parkside at 6th and San Jacinto - Did someone drop the salt shaker in my food?
So I was psyched to try the new and well reviewed Parkside on 6th. I was apprehensive about the location, I mean its right on 6th, there was a biker show and lots of noise, people, leather, co2.... But I get there with my dining companion, and it looks pretty chic. The "distressed walls" were a bit obnoxious but I get it. They want to make sure we understand the chef did time in New York or whatever. Because that means he knows what he's doing right?.... And I'm sure he does. The menu was impressive if a little confusing, It was separated into two; of the day and I guess their regular menu, the things they always make. We were told by our amazing waiter that everything was a la carte. So sides were separate and all that. We ordered the Amberjack with pineapple, the Scallops, asparagus, artichokes and mushrooms. There was so much salt in the food. I mean my fish tasted like salt, so did the mushrooms and the scallops. The artichokes were slightly overcooked, the bread they came with was sopping wet from whatever the broth was these artichokes were sitting in. All in all it just wasn't great. I've had better fish at the Central Market cafe. We ordered dessert because we thought the restaurant could still redeem itself one last time. The waiter told us about the donut holes, we ordered them. They were donut holes alright, nothing special. There were 4 or five in a brown paper bag and tasted like any donut I've ever had, they were hot, perhaps that's a good thing. They came with dipping sauces that weren't spectacular, the bourbon sauce did not taste like bourbon, it tasted like sugary goo. But to redeem something from our experience, the menu was impressive, I wish I would have ordered something from the Raw Bar, or maybe not, and they had a great wine list that they were willing to sell by the half bottle, they poured half a bottle of whatever was ordered into a carafe. That's pretty great. So perhaps this place needs time to settle into their location, the cooks need time to settle into the kitchen, etc. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else had a salty experience, or if I just happened to come on an off night. Oh and the bill with tip came to 127 for two. an expensive salt lick for two.
I recently gave this place a whirl as well, since the menu reads pretty much like the kind of place I'd like to be a regular bar-diner at (on quiet nights).
As far as I know, the best damn selection of oysters in town. You do pay the price for this variety, but it'll be worth it to me based on my sole experience (and Weds are half-price). I tried a variety of them, all flawlessly shucked, with big plump suckers swimming in as much liquor the shell could hold. Particularly enjoyed the sweet-salty gigas from WA -- I think these are Pickering Passage on the menu. I would return just for Hendricks martinis and rounds of oysters.
Raw bar offerings were also quite good -- the amberjack sashimi with orange segments and finely minced jalapeno worked very well, but I thought the fluke with almonds was a winner. A pile of fluke with almonds providing crunchy counterpoint, sprinkled with lemonjuice and hazelnut oil was just delicious.
Rounded out the meal with the blonde pate for dessert, which was creamy and not quite funky enough for me, but still pretty tasty. Was told they bake their own bread so I asked for some, hoping it would be baguette-style, but it was more like a soft square loaf that is probably only good when it's toasted/pressed. The toast points (which accompany the pate) were alright.
Service was a bit wacky, even sitting at the bar. My guy working the raw bar was great and we rapped quite a bit about the food. The barman was the one taking my orders and really didn't know the menu well and fumbled orders a couple of times. I thought it a little odd that he made me a perfectly fine martini, then serves me a broken manhattan on the rocks, which left me scratching my head. He was a good sport though.
A return visit is definitely in order, especially since I played it very safe on my sole visit, with not a single burner turned on any of my dishes. So we'll have to see how they can actually cook.
While I don't mind paying for the oysters, I do think that it is a tad spendy, but that's the price for 6th street (which I'd rather pay for them to move away from 6th street). My bill came to almost $80 for just me -- dozen oysters, 2 plates from the raw bar, the pate, a martini, a manhattan, a sake and a malbec. I guess I did drink a little.
I was also excited about the review and decided to try it last Wednesday. Plus: the server was very knowledgeable about the menu and overall excited about the food, mac and cheese is very decadent and full of herbs, the "better" chard was very tasty. Cons: the "better" chard was expensive for such a tiny portion ($11), the seasoning was very inconsistent (my fish was very salty and my date's potato gratin lacked all salt and pepper), overall meal was very expensive for the portion. I don't think I will be going back anytime soon unless I go for a small lunch with no alcohol.
I have eaten there about half a dozen times, and have always had a wonderful experience. I agree the menu is a little confusing, but on our first visit, we decided to have some fun and explore the very diverse menu with the help of our server. With one exception (which was a matter of taste - marrow bone is not my thing but it has been praised to me by waitstaff at other restaurants in the city), the food has been tremendous. We like to order about 3 or 4 small plates and save room for dessert. (I personally adore the donut holes and think they are much more like bignets than donuts, but I would also highly recommend the frozen trio. They make sorbet that is out of this world.) We have ordered the crab fritters, the blond pate (which my husband, who hates pate, loves), the oysters (which are expensive but excellent), lots of food from the raw bar, including the salmon and scallops, the pork-belly blt (amazing, and it did NOT sound good to me), the onion goat cheese tart, the small rib plate, the fries, you get the idea. I consistently find their food to be some of the best I have eaten anywhere in a long time. It is not the place I select for an inexpensive meal. Although one can be had there, I'm afraid that one can't seem to be had by me, because I always want to try so many different things!
I have been fortunate on servers, too, from what other posters are saying, but I think they can usually tell how much I appreciate the place and respond in kind. The chef/owner is usually out greeting the guests, although he may have been swamped the weekend you were there.
I would urge you to give it another try. It has quickly become my favorite place to eat in the city.
I have been here several times and I have never had an issue with the food (although servings are pretty small). Half price oysters are a must. My biggest complaint has always been my waiter (i have had the same one the past few trips). It is not that he wasn't trying hard, but I just felt like his level of expertise of knowing the specials inside and out and the menu in general were really lacking.
yeah, i can understand your points, but hey the restuarant is only 4 months old (or something like that) and ya'll did go to a restuarant on sixth st on the weekend that was gay pride and motercycle carnival; perhaps they were busy. i've been there several times and i strongly reccomend that you try it again. everything from the raw bar is awesome (i recommend the old salt and stingray oysters). for hot food the skatewing and the lamb with peppers are highlites.
chilaquila, you had a bad experience- you know that happens, especially at new restaurants. I strongly urge you to give them another try, perhaps on a weekday :).
I agree with the confusing menu. The separation of the "sections" seemed arbitrary. My group ordered a tasting of oysters (Wednesday night is 1/2 off), all were fantastic.
We then ordered a few other appetizers none of which i remember specifically except they were all pretty good. One that stood out as bad was the bone marrow, it came out of the bone like a limp log and had a rather off taste. For a few people it was their first experience with the dish and we had to apologies that this isn't what it should be like.
My wife and I plan to go back for dinner at some point, i hope someone at this board and point me towards what dish's particularly like.