Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Being a restaurant reviewer isn't as easy as it looks!

I know being a restaurant reviewer sounds like a dream job. And honestly, it still does. But it is a lot harder than you would think! I am not talking Mike Rowe Dirty Jobs hard....but it isn't a cake walk!

Tonight I had the unique pleasure of being a restaurant reviewer......at least well kinda. A friend of mine, Kristy (aka cakegrrl) was doing a preview review for the upcoming Dine Downtown Restaurant week (ending on MY birthday, btw!) and asked me to join her (thank you, Kristy, SO very much.....what a welcome respite in an overly crazy day/week). Okay, so how fun does that sound?? We went to Capitol Garage and got to order off the special $30 prix fixe menu that will be available starting on January 7th. Our meals included a salad, entree, dessert, and a glass of wine. I don't drink but if I did, I would tell you that they had some very nice wines to compliment their offerings. Kristy gets to do the "real" review so you can check out pictures of my lovely dinner along with her professional review over on her blog! I had to "pay my way" by giving her feedback about everything. So here goes!

I started with the Chipotle Caesar salad. You probably know I usually go for the spinach salad, but tonight was a night for trying something new! I am so glad I did! The dressing was spicy, maybe too spicy for me but Jeff would have loved it and probably asked for a soup bowl of it! lol! But the dressing was easily balanced by the avocado and I wouldn't hesitate to order it again....and again....and again. The crispy tortilla strips were a terrific topping and I will take them any day over croutons (or popcorn, potato chips, or just about any savory snack).

For my entree, I had the Crab Cake Linguini. This was tasty, tasty, tasty and they gave me so much food! I had expected one measly crab cake along with pasta and bread but there were two HUGE crab cakes covering a major portion of my plate. In fact, the crab cakes were so big I could have skipped the pasta completely and been a happy camper! Regarding the pasta, it was just good. Even though the menu forewarns you that there is prosciutto, it still comes as a shock. I found the pasta a little salty but expect that most others would be fine with it. As for the main feature, I was surprised by two things: how moist the crab cakes were and that they had potato chunks in them. We decided they were moist because they had so much crab meat in them and the potatoes provided a great texture balance for the flaky crab meat. Another positive, the flavor of the potato gave my taste buds a break so that the next taste of crab was as wonderful as the first taste. I had intended to eat one of the crab cakes but was enjoying them so much that I had almost finished the second before I caught myself. (I hope Kristy posted a picture of my plate. It was so pretty looking!)

Dessert was cheesecake. In this case it was Black Bottom Cheesecake and Butterfinger Cheesecake. They were personal cupcake sized desserts and almost too pretty to eat! The Butterfinger came home as a loving surprise for the boys. According to them, it had a strong butterscotch flavor. I couldn't understand what Ryan said because his mouth was full.....of a second bite! The Black Bottom started with a chocolate cookie crust (yum!), followed by a berry puree cake with a delicate taste. The top layer, the cheesecake, was so light that it felt almost like a whipped cream. This was topped with a sprinkling of cocoa and some juicy blackberries! As a dense cheesecake lover, I was surprised how much I liked this dessert! Looking at the cheesecake you would have expected a heavy chocolate and fruit and a heavy cheesecake to stand up against the rest. Instead, it was a delightful end to the meal. Perfect to linger over along with a cup of coffee and good conversation!

End result: I would go again. I would go again and eat the same thing again.

So about it being so darn difficult and oh poor poor Susan having to eat this awesome food.....seriously, this isn't for most people!
First off, you have to STOP AND TASTE YOUR FOOD! No more shoveling it down so you can get it all plus dessert down before your stomach tries to tell you its full! You have to take small bites and let them sit on your tongue and pay attention to the texture and how the flavors mingle.
Second, you have to realize that YOU ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!! What does this mean? When you taste something you have to think whether you like something but also how other people might like it. Some of the food I ate tonight wasn't seasoned exactly how I would have if I were the chef. Having said that, I know that the other 9 out of 10 people that will be eating the same thing would have loved it the way it was.
And third....I can't remember the third thing but it was really important. Oh yes, I had to TALK ABOUT WHAT I ATE! Who does that? I am not some critic on the FoodNetwork so what gives me the right to tell anyone if food is good or bad and whether they should or should not try it? And if we talk about the food during dinner, when oh when can we get caught up on all the fun things? (Rhetorical question.....you sit around enjoying the restaurant and the company after you eat. No rushing off to the next thing! What a welcome joy!)

So, while I will not be quitting my day job, please know I will suffer through tasting excellent meals, considering others, and talking about my food again, just for you! Aren't I a peach?

2 comments:

Mrs. Miscellanea said...

I haven't been to the Capitol garage in years! It used to be a gothic kids hangout in the 80's & 90's, lol.
Then when it changed locations, it changed image and I was a bit put off but I would definitely try it after reading this :)
Good job!

Donelle said...

I just found your blog & loved reading your restaurant review. I so wish I could have joined you both, but after reading this, I felt like I was there. :) The dishes sounded yummy. Thanks for sharing!!