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Excellent dinner at Parka

It was with some trepidation that my SO and I agreed to meet a friend for dinner at Parka on Friday night. We live in the neighborhood and had been meaning to try it since it opened, but then started hearing/reading the dismal reports of inconsistent food and lackluster service. I am now happy to say that none of this was true, at least with regards to this particular meal. We shared Devils on Horseback, two salads, a lovely celeriac/apple soup and chicken & dumplings. All were excellent: salads were lightly dressed yet extremely flavorful, soup was perfectly seasoned, rich and creamy, chicken & dumplings was redolent of house-made chicken stock, and I had to stop myself from licking the bowl in which the Devils on Horseback were served. Service was warm, friendly, attentive but not obtrusive, and the place was packed with diners. One of the best meals we have had in recent memory, superior, IMHO, to similar meals at some of the highest rated TC restaurants. Highly recommended.

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  1. So happy to hear you had a good experience!

      1. We don't have the ability to join threads, so we don't have any expectation that all posts about a restaurant will be on one single thread.

          1. re: jaycooke

            I've never been to Parka, but I don't know how much time Harcey was spending there v. V-44.

          2. I ate at Parka last night and was struck by how much the entrees have been simplified -- burger, chicken & dumplings, mac & cheese, brisket, grilled cheese, More items prepped well ahead, fewer ingredients to compose on the plate.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KTFoley

              That chicken and dumplings dish is outstanding. At least if it's the same one I had about a month ago.

              Parka is still a great place to have good coffee with Rustica pastires. I never did like the bacon foam thing.

            2. We finally made it to Parka. I have thinking about the experience all morning, trying to decide how to describe the food. It came to me while I was drying my hair: style over substance.

              The menu/food was VERY imaginative and trendy. I am not against this - it's exciting to see and eat new ideas in food. I have enjoyed meals at Travail, Victory 44, and Piccolo that have been loaded with fun ideas.

              Next I need to say that sometimes I respect a dish more than I like it, and this has happened once or twice at the places named above.

              This is not what happened at Parka. The imagination shown at these price points is great and should be a real find for those who want something different without always dropping a huge chunk of cash.

              We didn't find much substance (flavor). Flavor should be first, in my mind. I don't care where you "source" your beef from; if the hamburger has no rich, beefy taste, you have failed. It wasn't "perfect" and it certainly wasn't worth $14.00.

              The celeriac-apple soup and the spinach salad were very good, but not amazing.

              The most disappointing dish was the highly touted chicken and dumplings. I love a good chicken stock, but this dish didn't have that. The dish consisted mostly of thickened broth, which means that stock needed to be rich and full of good chicken-ness. Instead, it tasted like dishwater with a bit of lemon. The dumplings were beautiful to look at, but tasted like absolutely nothing to the point of being annoying to eat. The bits of ham hock tasted on the verge of spoiling, and the chicken bits (three?) were overcooked, tasteless white meat. I ate the collard pieces and carrots from the bowl, finishing maybe a quarter of this dish before I gave up - it was unpleasant to eat.

              Off day? I hope so. I want to give them another chance, maybe in a month or two when they change the menu next.

              I hesitated to write anything at all about this, because I strongly want to support this type of restaurant effort and also because the people there were amazing.

              EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot to mention that everything was terribly undersalted, with the exception of the ice creams that came with our dessert. These were very salty - overly so. Yet the fries were screaming for salt!

              1. I stopped by Parka early afternoon for a cappucchino and decided I wanted lunch. Again I was so impressed with the white fish bruschetta I ordered. Lovely, fresh whitefish salad with homemade, lightly pickled colorful spring vegetables, very fresh, young spring salad beautifully displayed on a crunchy piece of Rustica bread.

                I love this place in spite of the odd atmosphere and noise. Such a perfect late lunch with a perfect cappucchino.

                8 Replies
                1. re: shoo bee doo

                  I agree that Parka is finding its way. (Although I don't understand why their Perfect Burger is currently not on the menu.) The other day I stopped in for an espresso and a Reuben. Both were quite good. The Reuben was made from thick cut corned brisket that was tantalizingly tender and tasty. So much so that while I was planning to eat only half and save the rest for later, that didn't really happen. It was served on thick cut, crusty baguette that was also great, but made eating the sandwich a bit sloppy.

                  Also agree that the space itself is kind of a disaster; there isn't a comfortable table in the place. It would be nice if they could push further into the Forage space and redesign the layout with better furniture.

                  1. re: ChancesR

                    I imagine the Perfect Burger is off the menu because Erick Harcey has left Stock & Badge.

                    1. re: ChancesR

                      I stopped there again today for a cappuccino with a friend. We shared the Reuben. It was generous, good and flavorful, but a little salty for my taste. It was served on soft multigrain bread. I was hoping for a crunch and would have liked the baguette better, I think.

                      I raved about the whitefish bruschetta from yesterday to the cook/barista/waiter. He said that bruschetta has been very popular this spring season so far.

                      Yes, those chairs are very uncomfortable. It's noisy in there, too. Even when no one else is there. They have such a nice cappuccino though and I love the Rustica breads and treats. I will continue to be a customer.

                      1. re: shoo bee doo

                        A Reuben on a baguette or soft multigrain bread is just so wrong.

                        1. re: steamer

                          I saw a "reuben" on a menu board the other day - you had the option of turkey or ham. Not joking.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            Isn't a turkey reuben a Rachel?

                        2. re: shoo bee doo

                          We had dinner again at Parka on Saturday with several friends and tried both the bruschetta and the Reuben as well as several other dishes. We loved them all and your description of the bruschetta is perfect. The Rueuben was served on nice, firm Rustica rye, which was the perfect complement to the house cured brisket and house made condiments. The only slightly meh dish was the grilled wedge salad, which we found a bit bland. Do your self a favor:if they have the Rustica Almond Cherry thingy, order it!
                          I guess I'm in the minority here in that I do not mind the ambiance, but rather find it interesting and unique and have no problem with the chairs. Plus the all the people who work there have been unfailingly charming and accommodating.

                          1. re: lizpeck

                            We'll have to agree to disagree on the space. None of the seating, imho, is inviting. Those catacomb like booths in the back, the austere 4-tops, the 2-tops stranded out in the middle of nowhere, along with both counters - the one at the window and the one perched over the kitchen, which are barely wide enough to hold anything bigger than a single plate.