Compare notes on Squeaky Bean?
A recent poster made this observation:
"Squeaky Bean. If the food wasn't so good, it would be a tragic case of style over function. And sometimes it is. Loud loud space."
This mirrors some of my thoughts about this place (except for the noise, since I've gone at off hours when it was quieter), so I'm wondering what others are thinking.
My first visit was very promising - carefully crafted cocktails, well thought out food, some nice flourishes like tableside saucing of dishes, and very gentle prices given the level of ambition. On my second visit the balance seemed to be tipping in the wrong direction - my scallop and mango first course felt like a triumph of creative plating over eating pleasure (although the scallops themselves were delicious), and the porchetta main course had at least two or three too many ingredients and ended up seeming a little blurry as a result.
So what's your verdict? "Tragic case of style over function" or a bold, contemporary restaurant?
I want to go back before I make up my mind (I personally love the feel of the space), but you captured my sole experience at the new location perfectly with the phrase "triumph of creative plating over eating pleasure." I was beginning to feel like the only person who didn't have a mind-blowing experience here, but while chatting with an insider who shall not be named, they had a similar experience wherein the food did not seem to be seasoned as well as it looked. The exception was the complimentary bread brought out which was perfect. The starter, mains, and even the cocktails did not not dazzle on our trip (nor did the service sadly). I am willing to allow for the fact that they had not been open in the new space that long and were swamped that evening to reach my decision that I will return at a later date and reassess, because there is just too much potential there. I know the chef can cook and the barkeep can sling drinks like nobody's business.
Our one Squeaky experience was mixed, but oh so promising. Promising enough for a return soon.
We were seated promptly and kindly, a party of 3 at a nice window table. The cookbook/menu was a little precious, but I was amused.
Cocktail ordering was a little rushed (as in- no time to read the descriptions), perhaps to compensate for the fact that cocktail arrival was an interminably long time. The waitress came back to the table at least 3 times to tell us that our drinks would be "right out". Crafty cocktails are certainly fun, but not if it takes them 20 minutes to make. Give me a damned G & T if that's going to get it to the table! The drink (whatever I got) was lovely, but not worth the wait at all.
Things improved after that- the radish dish (shared) was wonderful, fresh, bright, appropriately bitter, just delicious. We love radishes, and there were 3 or 4 different types on the plate, and you just don't see people making a fuss over radishes at all, so we were all pleased with this dish.
With dinner we had a nice Rhone red, can't recall the bottle, but reasonable markup.
Two of us got the Fried Chicken, which wasn't at all what we expected, but we loved. The skin was so crispy delicious, and the idea of the thigh meat encased in the white meat seems like it wouldn't work, but it did. It was really a great dish. One of our party got the Pork Loin, since he wisely thought to get something other than the chicken. It was a lovely dish, but the chicken was the winner by far.
Verdict- Eating pleasure for sure, but with some overly styled notions that create hiccups of service and flow. These kinks could be worked out by now, there are so many places on my list to visit a first time, that a return visit hasn't made the cut yet.