So...Troy Restaurant Week. In Troy (MI).
This year I'm trying to hit up 2-3 restaurants for lunch during TRW. I started with my first on Monday, which was Ocean Prime.
Everything was fine...but that's really all it was. Nothing exceptional at all. Again: the three courses were good, the place is pretty nice, service was good...but absolutely nothing came close to rounding second base, and getting to second was basically one of those "stretching a long single into a double" moments.
Started with the salad (no cheese for me), and it was pretty good. It's nothing that really turned my head at all, but a solid execution of a pretty standard salad. Sort of what I consider a "ladies lunching" salad to be. If I were ordering a la carte, I wouldn't have bothered, but since it was one of the two choices (the other being French Onion Soup, natch), that's the one I went with. Again: good, but nothing more.
Second course was salmon with sticky rice and some mushrooms and veggie garnishes. Again: fine. Nothing wrong with it, though the sauce was a bit on the heavy side. I was a bit put out with the fact that both the salmon and the trout that were offered were both farmed ("Wild farmed!" the server told me about the salmon). Really: if you're going to go by the moniker of "Ocean Prime", shouldn't your fish be wild caught? That being said, the salmon was cooked quite well, not overdone.
Dessert was either carrot cake (cream cheese frosting...again, no) or ice cream, which was a selection of either cookies-and-cream or their lemon sorbet. I chose cookies-and-cream...and it wasn't very good. Very not-creamy, and not a satisfying ice cream experience. Cold as all-get-out, but it wasn't a well-put-together ice cream. Swing and a miss there, so I asked if I could have the lemon sorbet instead, which was granted. And we're back to fine, again.
Service was paced well, and I should also mention that I liked the bread I was brought hot from the oven. I was kind of surprised that at no point did the server ever return and ask if everything tasted all right; it never happened once. Water was regularly refilled with one exception or so, but even with the "Everything okay?" thing, service was fine. They did a good job.
A city's Restaurant Week should really be a chance for a place to put its best foot forward, food-wise. The various places' menus don't really appear to be trying anything challenging or adventurous, which I'd prefer. This doesn't mean that they have to put outrageously expensive things on their menus or anything, but you're trying to draw people in to try your place and wow them so they'll come back. Iridescence did this for me. Jefferson House did this for me. Other places...but Ocean Prime is just sort of...there.
I'll go back if someone else wants to, especially if they're paying. Culinarily, though, I was a bit disappointed.
I plan on hitting up one or both of Capital Grill or Mon Jin Lau. We'll see what happens.
Well, I tried MJL yesterday, MC, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed.
First of all, I have to say that I really liked my server, Nancy. Nancy's an older server, and very much a talker, and she makes it work for her. She's not afraid to make recommendations, ask questions about you, and in general speak like she's speaking to someone she's friends with. It might not work for everyone, but I loved her.
I started out with the ginger dressing salad which was very pretty (I took a picture, but I'm too lazy to post it), and my only complaint was that I wish it had some additional dressing on it. Full disclosure: for me, I'm a *massive* fan of ginger dressing, and often the salad can just be a nice delivery system for that dressing. There was enough dressing that I wasn't willing to ask for more, but it would have been nice to have a bit more. Lots of different things within the salad to give it life and make it aesthetically pleasing. Nice start.
For the next course, I had their homemade gyoza (pork dumplings), which were okay. I enjoyed them more with the two sauces they provided, but all things considered, I wish that I'd gotten an egg roll instead. In fact, that's one of the key things that's going to draw me back to the place: I'd planned on having an egg roll after the meal just to see how it was (it's an important baseline for me, and they make their own), but I was honestly too stuffed to eat one. Makes me kind of excited to go back.
For the main, after consulting with Nancy who asked if I liked spicy things, I went with the kalbi (grilled Korean marinated short ribs, Asian vegetables) which really surprised me in a very nice way. First: normally, it's $12 for this plate, and it's a *very* generous portion. There are two sets of thin-cut short ribs, which made me think that it might not be the best cut of the short ribs. It was just fine, thank you. No one could complain that they weren't getting enough beef.
That was hardly the only thing on the plate, though. Concealed underneath the short ribs were those Asian vegetables, which were very nice as well, and sort of reminded me of a kimchi preparation, and that portion was generous as well. The last thing on the plate was a pretty large serving of vegetable fried rice, and that was the only thing on the plate that disappointed. It wasn't *bad*, but I have to say that it *looked* quite good, while tasting quite weird/bland. When I mentioned it to Nancy, she offered to sub in some steamed white rice, which was gladly received and preferred. It still surprises me that something that looked so good would be so...meh. No problem, though! The beef in the second set of ribs was even better/more tender than the first, and chewing on the bone remnants was lovely.
I'd go back without hesitation. Everyone was helpful, my water glass never emptied, and the food was honestly better than expected. I see the draw of the place.
We did 2 Restaurant Week meals yesterday since we had to be out that way for work.
We went to Capital Grill for lunch. It was packed! The food was very good and I believe they might have reduced the portion sizes (which I actually appreciated since it was 3-course lunch). I got the chowder to start (very nice flavor, filled with clams and potatoes etc. My husband thought it wasn't hot enough though) and my husband got the salad, which was simple but good. For the main course I got the salmon. Very citrusy, served with a few green beans and asparagus. Nice and light but not huge, so if you are hungry you might want to try something else. My husband on the other hand got the cheeseburger and it was delicious. Again, probably smaller size than usual but it was more than enough since it is very rich with a smoky flavor from the ground bacon and cheese. The truffle fries were great! For dessert we got one of each--cheesecake and chocolate cake. These were very small and a perfect end of meal sweet bite. The chocolate is VERY rich.
For dinner we went to Tre Monti and had a wonderful meal. It was my first time going. My husband had gone once before (also for Restaurant Week and wasn't really impressed but wanted to try it again since Hour named it Restaurant of the Year last year). The minestrone soup and salad were wonderful starters. Even though it's a big meal, don't skip the bread service....the French bread is warm and crusty and delicious. For the main course I got the chicken which came with this wonderfully flavorful mushroom marasala sauce. The sauce made the dish. I loved it! My husband got the lasagna, which I guess is one of their specialties. Very good, but rich. The pasta is clearly homemade, many, many, many layers of it. That was a very big portion. For dessert we both had a small scoop of the hazelnut gelato.
The only miss with Tre Monti was I was less than impressed with the service. I got the feeling the waiter hates Restaurant Week and hated being there that night. His attitude carried over to the service. That said, I think we will return if we are in the area because the food was very good.
Read your post and I work in Troy so I hit MJL today. Got the Gyoza and Mongolian Beef. I liked my Mongolian beef a lot. Slightly different taste (vinegar maybe)than I am used to but good. Only thing is I wish I knew it came with Fried Rice, because I prefer plain steamed rice. Gyoza were not bad, but no thte best I've had either. Service was good price was a little on the high side, but not terribly so. Recommended the Short Ribs to my companion and he liked the seasoning a lot. Although they were a little tough.
My first set of short ribs may have been *slightly* tough, but not so as to be unenjoyable. The second set was better, and both tasted good, were plenty enjoyable, and weren't on the complaint barometer.
The gyoza I wouldn't get again, but like I said: they were okay. Hindsight says that I would have rather had an egg roll, even without having had one yet.
I find their fried rice to be just plain odd. Looks great! Tastes...odd. Their steamed rice is just fine, thank you.
I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. Again, the service really helped, but the salad and entree were quite good IMHO.
Yeah the gyoza weren't bad at all just the filling was a little bland from what I am used to. I can't say I could taste the fried rice as I ate it with my Mongolian Beef and it was very flavorful so I can't say the taste of the fried rice came through. Typically if I want fried rice I order shrimp fried rice and eat it as my meal. I do not like when the lunch items/specials come with it, because with an entree I always want steamed rice instead. My buddy liked the ribs a lot he just mentioned them being a little tough. It was hard to say because near the bar/sushi bar there is a red overhead light, but the ribs appeared a little under cooked to me and it could have caused the toughness. All I know is he cleaned the bones of those short ribs pretty much, so they couldn't have been bad.