Another nice Diamond Jim Brady's Bistro experience (Detroit area)...
It's been a good, healthy half a year since I've been to DJB. Not for any particular reason, mind you...my recent experiences have been just fine, but it hasn't really been convenient to me for the last six months, and that's not their fault at all. The schedule of life is the schedule of life, so they say.
This past week I was perusing through my emails and came upon their most recent weekly specials list, which prompted me to check out the regular menus online and see if they'd made any changes recently. Turns out that they had: new to the menu is Julia Child's Beef Burgundy at $23. This greatly intrigued me, since it's a personal favorite dish that I've had at multiple kitchens in the past. Pretty much whenever you mix a decent cut of beef, mushrooms, wine, and some other ingredients together, I'll be a pretty satisfied guy.
My server tonight, Adam, was really, really good. He understood me when I got there, that I was famished. Probably the biggest clue was my answering the question "How are you, tonight?" with the answer "I'm starving...", but it's important that he picked up how serious I was, because bread (good stuff) came immediately with my water, and the house salad came right behind that. It's amazing how a little nosh can take the edge off. I ordered as soon as I was seated, because I knew I wanted that Beef Burgundy.
It came out while my salad was about 3/4 done, and that was fine by me. I like to have a little change of pace with any given dish, and having the salad to refresh me a bit here and there would be a good thing. I happen to really like their house salad.
And then...hmm. The Beef Burgundy. It was...okay. It was...just decent. Certainly edible. Nothing terrible about it at all, but it also was *nothing* of consequence. I could have finished it, but I have to admit that, for a few dollars more, I could have had their Steak Diane, which is a terrific dish. This? This was workable, but not really up to the standards I have set for DJBs.
Not to worry! Here comes Adam to the rescue! When he asked me how it was, he was paying attention (there's that recurring theme, again) when I said it was "okay". He stopped and said, "Just okay? Is there something else that you'd rather have?" He was on-the-ball with that suggestion. I really didn't want to pony up $23 (plus tax and tip, obviously) on a dish that just wasn't gelling together well. For some reason, and perhaps it was just this particular night, the Beef Burgundy wasn't anything special, or of consequence.
I took a look at the menu, noting that I *know* their Steak Diane is wonderful (had it several times...always very good), but how are the pulled pork tacos ($17)? How many were there? Was it a large plate? He was very positive about them, assured me that the portion was generous, and then said, "Get them...try something new." With that, away went my Beef Burgundy.
I have to tell you that, yes, I'm a sucker for pulled pork, but these babies were outstanding. The pulled pork would have been lovely by itself, but it came topped with a jalapeño/orange/onion salsa-garnish that really put these things in a different league. I was "okay" with the Beef Burgundy...I thoroughly enjoyed my meal with the pulled pork tacos! They even came with a brown rice/black bean side, which I ate! I *never* eat that, either! As well, they were served with a side of their bleu cheese cole slaw, which I didn't eat, nor did I try to...and I didn't miss it. When I was finished with my tacos and the rice/beans, along with the bread I'd had and the three-or-so bites of the beef dish, I was done. Those pulled pork tacos, though? Solid B+ stuff there, even with my admitted bent for liking pulled pork.
I guess I really like stories like these, the kind that reaffirm why I recommend certain places to out-of-towners. The kind of places that confirm that, while things may never be absolutely perfect, their service level is such that they're willing to try to make it be as good as it possibly can be. This restaurant is a well-oiled machine, but the humans who operate it and work there really do know their craft.
This is just another place where I'm happy to spend my money. To borrow a phrase from baseball: they just never give away an at-bat.
So yes: the story's still the same at DJB. Still love it, and need to get back there sooner than January!