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JennBilMer Aug 14, 2011 07:15 AM

I heard the new restuarant in Chestnut Hill opened but can't find anything about it - reviews, website, etc. Anyone been yet?

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    doxiemom RE: JennBilMer Sep 1, 2011 07:05 PM

    Went last night with my one of my favorite restuarant "first sampling" friends (mostly because she doesn't question my desire to order entirely off the apps menu to get the largest tasting option possible on the first visit). Let me say that the reno on the space is great. The noise level is high, but we sat at one of the two person hightops by the bar, and we could still speak comfortably even on a busy night. We had the calamari, which was excellent. Warm, with a crips & light cornmeal crust that kept the squid tender and sweet. It is served with a sweet sauce, more like honey than syrup, that perfectly balanced the earthiness of the coating. We had the shrimp and grits, which were yummy, but as a southerner, not quite where I could proclaim the dish excellent. My friend doesn't eat bacon, so I ordered it on the side, so I could mix it into my portion. It needed the saltiness of the bacon, and the grits were very creamy - I like mine slightly coarser, but the flavor was good (especially once the bacon was mixed.,,mmmmm bacon....) there were four large shrimp, perfectly cooked, so again, the dish was very good, just not quite at Carolina Coast standards. The spice rubbed wings were also very nice, although of 9 pieces, two were very small with minimal meat. We were hitting capacity already, so there was no loss, but if we were there just to eat at the bar or for a snack, it would have been disappointing. However the portions are large - and reasonably priced- so "meh". The only questionable dish was the "house salad". Iceberg lettuce (which I quite like - I am not anti-iceberg), but the pieces were a bit too large, and a little too wet, although very fresh. The house salad boasts pepporcini, sopressetta, and shaved pecorino, mixed with red onion and pear tomatoes. All of those things are lovely individually, but as a composition, the salad was unbalanced. The red onion overpowered the shaved cheese, and the sausage really didn't add anything as the dressing buried the taste of the slices. I would rather they called this an anti-pasto salad, without the onion, and perhaps a little less lettuce, and offer a simpler lettuce/veggie option. That being said, we really liked the viniagrette.
    The two house cocktails we tried were both flavorful. She had the blood orange margarita (heavenly - but DO NOT skip the salt), I had the basil cocktail with the pineapple vodka. Mine was delicioso...but it should be served in a larger glass, with perhaps a bit of seltzer added to overcome the increased volume, because over ice, the crushed basil and muddled pineapple didn't have room to let the flavors mingle well. It is currently served in a large highball, which is not quite large enough to manage both ice and fruit/herb.
    They still need to refine their service. Service was extremely friendly, and our waiter had an expected knowledge of the menu, but we did wait too long for our first cocktail and the subsequent glass of wine with the meal. All of our dishes arrive at one time too, which seemed poorly timed since our table was basically a bar table (did I mention the portions are generous?). We were hungry and not shy, so the food didn't suffer by waiting! We also had to call for our check as our server was running, and we were full, tired, and getting cranky as it was bedtime.
    Overall, I think it is a promising start, and I am looking forward to yet another neighborhood option that doesn't mean suffering mediocre just so I don't have to cook!

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      sal1107 RE: JennBilMer Sep 4, 2011 01:32 PM

      We went Friday night. The restaurant itself is nice and has an open, fun feeling. The menu was not extensive but each dish looked tasty, if you like pub-like food. Interesting dishes: Shrimp/Grits, Jambalaya, short-rib pizza. We had the pulled pork sandwich and a pizza. The food was good but nothing special. After eating there, we really weren't in a rush to return... figuring there are other places to try.

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