Domenica Macchia now at Three Birds Tavern in St. Pete (review)
Went to 3 Birds Tavern in St. Pete for lunch today to check out the new menu by Domenica Macchia. Several of my favorite dishes from Diner 437 were on the menu...short rib and fontina sandwich, smashed egg sandwich etc. The burger with bacon-onion jam was cooked a little past the rare I had requested but the flavor of the bacon jam was fantastic. I'm definuetly looking forward to going back to do a deeper dive into the menu (Chicken-fried bacon?) and several of the entrees looked very good. One caveat...I wish that you could order the sweet potato fries as a side with a sandwich--even when I offered to pay extra, the waitress explained that they couldn't do it.
I finally made it to Three Birds Tavern for my first time. It was on a Thursday. It has been one of those places "on my list" that I've wanted to go to for a while. Now I see why nobody talks about it anymore. I have to say it was a MAJOR disappointment. Sorry to say that, since I'd heard such great things about Donnie. I bought the $12 for $25 worth of food deal from Creative Loafing, , thinking okay, good. I mean, it's a tavern, right? not Armani's. Shouldn't cost too much. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
2 of us went. I ordered Chimay (my fave ale). okay so they get points for having Chimay, but instantly lost points since both the waitress AND the bartender did not know which Chimay (i actually prefer red cap) they had, and even after locating a bottle, had to show it to me since they didn't know the diffference. Then ...it was served in a tall beer glass. Chimay should be served in a wide-mouthed goblet. (sigh).My dinner partner had Spaten and was happy with that. We both ordered one starter and one sandwich.
i ordered the short rib egg rolls with gorgonzola sauce, since i had been hearing about them since they opened. eh. gorgonzola sauce? first, it was hot, and it was peach colored and i didn't taste any gorgonzola. i kept tasting the sauce and tasting the sauce by itself, and could not determine what flavors were in it. i think with the hot short rib egg roll, a cold (or cool) sauce that tasted like gorgonzola would have been nice. this was....i don't know, like mcdonald's special sauce from the big macs? i didn't really get a taste of anything from the short ribs, it was just some kind of unseasoned shredded meat.My dinner partner had the vegetable risotto, which was asparagus. he liked it. i tasted, it was good, but overly spiced. too many flavors going on.
then our sandwiches came. he had the meat loaf sandwich with frites. he loved the frites, i wasn't particular impressed. i was disappointed in the mushy meat loaf. damn, no one makes meat loaf like my mama!! i had the bratwurst, it was good....but the bun immediately fell apart. i ended up having to eat it with a fork and knife. i have to say my side dish was positively delicious, it was baby spinach very lightly sauted in lemon and garlic. the star of the meal, absolutely.
we decided on one dessert, had the chunky monkey bread pudding. i have to say this was not bread pudding , to me. it was banana bread. no "pudding" at all. with chocolate chips and chocolate sauce. parts of it were warm, parts were ice cold. didn't finish it.
then the surprise! bill for lunch for the 2 of us...over $70...with tip would have been $85. for two starters, two sandwiches, and one dessert...yeah, and four beers. but still. All in all, i loved the spinach, he really liked the risotto. thank goodness I had the $25 off, so the lunch actually cost us about $75 including tip.
We were assured that Donnie (Domenica) was in house, and was preparing our food for us. Since I told the waitress to tell Donnie that we were friends of friends of hers, and that it was my birthday, and that i had been dying to come to Three Birds for so long, I kind of expected her to make an appearance at our table, if just to say hello. Jeannie Pierola does that for me at the super-crowded KitchenBars. But nope, they just said that Donnie would like us to fill out the comment card. Well, okay then.
There were only maybe 8 or 10 tables occupied, so for sure it wasn't that she was super busy.
the $75 would have been better spent at a myriad of other places. I finally ate at Three Birds, and I won't go back. :(
We went for lunch yesterday and it was wonderful. Starting with the Blue Point Toasted Lager on tap. One of my favorites. We had not been to the restaurant before in any of its previous incarnations but I really like the space. It is a very relaxing place and I love the tables on the porch and the courtyard. Anyway, on to the food. We had pate, crostini, hummus, chicken fried bacon, and a lamb burger with the sweet potato fries. Everything was fantastic. I was so happy to have good pate again. I haven't had good pate since Diner 437 closed! I was really surprised with the chicken fried bacon. I thought that it would be heavy and greasy, and it wasn't. I asked Domenica about the sweet potato fries and their designation is as appetizer only due to the amount of space she has in the kitchen. The kitchen is small and she struggles with space limitations. Good news is she is starting to cure her own pork and will also be rendering duck fat again soon for fries and hash, and will be introducing a new weekend brunch. We will be back soon!
I found that true with Diner 437, they were peculiar about requests. I understand about changing flavor components but adding a side and being willing to pay for it is another thing all together. Still the short rib grilled cheese was one of my favorites, and I am looking forward to checking out the new menu. Thanks for the review :)