Have you ever had a pasta dish so saturated with saffron that it tastes like week-old bouillabaisse? How about a $7 salad that actually causes you to say out loud, "this is a $7 salad?" Or maybe you ordered a Maker's Mark Manhattan, after repeating your request a third time to your server, only to be told that the bar is out of Maker's Mark (again)?
You have? Oh yeah? You've been to jP American Bistro lately, too?
I gave my linguine with broccoli, saffron, and pecorino a chance, I really did. The first bite was a floret so overcooked it had gone pale and limp. And the saffron was absolutely overpowering. I flagged down our server just to double check that the plate hadn't been accidentally dropped into a pot of cooked mussels for an hour before making its way to me. Nope, no shellfish or seafood whatsoever. Just way to much fricking saffron. Normally I like saffron. It has a very earthy depth of flavor that's delicious with pasta or rice, especially when there's butter or cheese involved. But this was just way too much. I tried a second bite, this time a forkful of pasta. Gah. It was hard to keep in my mouth, much less chew and swallow.
My dining companion really liked his duck broth with beef soup, but not the calamari. The squid itself was apparently fine, but the thai dipping sauce could best be described as... oil. I tasted it, out of curiosity and after reassurance that it was 100% vegetarian. No sweet, no salt, no tang. Just oily nothing.
What the hell happened to that place? Maybe it was always like that and I didn't notice. Maybe I was so jaded when it first opened, so desperate for another fine restaurant in or near Uptown. After all, one can only eat at Lucia's so many times per month. (LUCIA'S KICKS ASS.)
Speaking of eating somewhere too many times per month, I think I'm done eating at Eli's. I like that you can get a veggie replacement for any of the burgers on the menu, but they're always way too greasy. Like, orange pools of oil on my plate when I pick up my patty melt greasy. Veggie burgers are not only good eating, but they're also supposed to be good for you.
The nachos are just okay, probably because there's nothing special about the homemade tortilla chips they're made with. You can fry chips, big deal. Doesn't mean much to me when you're just piling on unseasoned (but not by any means unsalted) black beans and mediocre salsa on top of them.
I'll stick to just drinking at Eli's. They have Stella (which has somehow turned into my beverage of choice lately), the staff is nice, and the patrons are friendly. Some New Yorker struck up a conversation with me Tuesday night while I was picking at aforementioned patty melt. I asked him for some insight on our new upstairs neighbors, also from out east. I was curious about why they'd put out their garbage can and recycling out to the curb, but not ours. It's a duplex, for chrissake. They also walk right past Molly's garden to water their own, without touching hers. Like, they have to stretch the hose past it. He gave me some rigamoroll about east coasters respecting one another's space, and that means pretending they don't exist most of the time. But seriously, Molly waters their garden. I bring their trash out to the curb, and bring the containers back to the garage after it's picked up. We're supposed to trade off. It's common courtesy.
Whoops, sorry for the rant. Have some links:
- Next Tuesday, September 27th, certain metro area restaurants are participating in Restaurants for Relief, a national fundraiser to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. All participating restaurants are members of TC Originals, and the event is on a Tuesday, so make sure you get in on that sweet TCO Tuesdays deal.
- An interesting (if not a little dated) thread on proposed and developing condo projects in Minneapolis.