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Apr 7, 2009 04:38 PM

Street review

We ate at Street on Saturday night and the experience was good overall, but as exilekiss reported, "uneven." The first issue was service. To begin, when I got there they could not find our reservation in the system. They were apologetic, and managed to accommodate us at an outdoor table that was nice but incredibly just barely fit 2 plates and 2 glasses, and there was actually a third chair next to it...3 at the table would have been physically impossible! (Incidentally, while we were waiting for said table, another party came in and they couldn't find their reservation in the system at first either. But eventually it was discovered that the staff had made a typo and theirs was found. Ours never was.)

We got the "globe trot" tasting menu (5 courses for $35 per person, and we added one dessert that I believe was $8).
1) We started with a Korean mung bean pancake with pork belly, kimchi, and hot mustard sauce. This was good, had a nice kick to it.
2) Next we had a Vietnamese dish consisting of corn with pork belly bits. This was lso good, the sweet corn and salty pork belly complemented each other nicely.
3) Next we had "American cobb salad." Honestly, this was a very good salad, but we were puzzled by its inclusion on our "globe trot" menu at Street because it was neither global nor street food. So while it was a good salad, it just wasn't what we were looking to eat. (I mentioned this to our server when he asked for feedback on the menu at the end of our meal.)
4) Spicy Thai noodles with tofu. This was their version of Pad Thai, and I actually liked it a lot. The spicy sauce was very good, and the flavor was a bit different than what I've typically experienced at Thai restaurants. The noodles could have been a bit firmer, but they weren't mushy (as exilekiss experienced during his visit). So I definitely enjoyed this dish but at the same time I felt a bit disappointed, because even a good rendition of Pad Thai just isn't that exciting.
5) Egyptian chicken with braised greens and kushary. This is the kind of dish I was expecting when I first heard about was flavorful AND it was exciting and different (as opposed to dishes like cobb salad and pad thai). The chicken was very moist, and the kushary and greens were delicious.
6) Finally we had dessert: Egyptian basbousa cake soaked with lime juice, served with macerated blueberries and whipped cream. This semolina cake reminded me a lot of a sweeter corn muffin, but the citrus flavor brought it to a higher level, and I thought it was pretty good. Not amazing, but definitely interesting and enjoyable.

Oh, I should also mention that we had two non-alcoholic drinks that were actually really good: the "sanbitter sunburst" which was really tart and tasty, and a ginger drink that was also tasty and quite refreshing. I remember that these drinks were inexpensive, given the quality...maybe $3?

Overall, while most of the dishes didn't quite impress me, it was an enjoyable experience. Not as exciting as I had hoped (that was the disappointing part), but enjoyable nonetheless. I would return again to try other things, but I would definitely 1) make my reservation online rather than calling so that they can't screw it up, and 2) choose off the menu myself rather than "globe-trotting." Usually a tasting menu of dishes chosen by the chef has some of the more exciting items, but in my case it had some of the least exotic items on the menu. That said, I did think that the dishes were largely well-executed and tasty. That's why I do want to go back and try more dishes. It's weird, I don't often leave a restaurant somewhat disappointed, yet wanting to try more!

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  1. I had a similar reaction. Although my dishes were mostly underwhelming, the place has sufficient promise that I still want to try some more.

    1. ditto to you and chowpatty, my experience was mixed -- the menu right now is a landmine, some dishes are amazing, others are lackluster. Hopefully things will get more polished as the staff gets into their groove. But indeed, there are a few more items I want to try before giving it a definitive judgment.

      However, I will call them out on their awful stemware -- wine is served in 3 oz glasses (looks like an oversized shot glass) and side of bitters bottle -- hard to swirl, sniff and appreciate. Blech!!


      1. Hi Nicole,

        Nice review. :) Thanks for the thoughts on your visit. Sounds like you enjoyed the Egyptian Kushary as well. Be careful about the Pho and Shrimp Egg Noodles; hopefully they revamp those recipes soon.

        1. My experience at Street also had its ups and downs. I enjoyed the Cuban Potato Cake with spicy beef--kind of like an Irish Boxty with more of a kick. I was "told" the shrimp fried in shizu was very good [memo to self: don't date someone who is uncomfortable sharing food]. The Malaysian Clams were a disappointment--the sauce was more sweet than peppery and they were out of clams so substituted shrimp. The chicken, I was informed, was a hit. I thought the Lamb Kofta was excellent, though the artichokes were just plain. I, too, tried the tamarind ginger drink and found it refreshing--though I prefer the minty lime cooler at Ciudad. For dessert, I agree with your assessment of the basbousa. The wine list looked interesting but I stuck with the non-alcoholic beverages that night.

          A few other observations: the patio, which is the main seating area (heaters, a fire pit and umbrellas but largely a loss should there be a serious rain) is quite dark and, even with multiple candles it can be hard to read the menu, let alone see your food (plating is wasted in the dark)...made me wish I had one of those little flashlights Ortolan offers with its menu. My service was good and enthusiastic, and Susan Feniger came over to several of the tables to ask how things were, which is always nice. There was live Jazz coming from the upstairs (odd for the performer but a great touch for the guests). There is valet parking in the back but, on that stretch of Highland, one can usually find Street parking (pun intended).

          I would definitely go back--I am curious to try their brunch, for one thing--but realize that I am much likelier to choose one of the Mozzas if in that neighborhood.

          1. I found some of the dishes fun, light, and flavorable such as the Paani Puri (like a tiny Indian tostada filled with spicy potato, chutney, beans and yogurt and cilantro sauce). Other's were heavy such as the cuban stuffed potato cake (like a little shepherd's pie dumpling). My companion was underwelmed by the Shizo shrimp (a tempura shrimp with shizo within) but I love the flavor of shizo. Nothing spectacular on that item. The Jerusalem artichoke bread salad was not at all up to expectations. However, the Thai bites (you construct yourself) with collard leaves, tamarind caramel, toasted coconut, dry shrimp, dry ginger, peanuts and Thai chilies were outstanding. For a chili-head, this dish was stimulating and clever and reminded me a bit of a Burmese salad. On the whole, the restaurant was cool and had some fun menu items but suffered from inconsistency.