Thursday, December 29, 2011

Orlando, FL - The Bistro: Oh the restaurant inside of the hotel. Well, if the restaurant is as nice as the hotel, it'll do just fine. The Bistro is a pretty nice place to catch breakfast or brunch. It has a nice view into the courtyard and it's beautiful on a sunny day.

Even though The Bistro is pricey, it's worth the short trip downstairs for your fare. We tried other breakfast chains in the area, but they get packed very quickly and you'll easily wait 30-45 minutes. Here, you'll get right in and start eating, but you'll be paying for the convenience. 

They have a good menu to select from, but also have a buffet with a variety of choices. Fresh fruit, waffles, bacon, sausage, customized omelets to order, grits, yogurts with wonderful fruits and jellies on the bottom, challah french toast, juice bar, etc...

The biggest advantage of the buffet, you can also order anything off the menu that is not available on the buffet. I couldn't believe that I could get anything off the menu in addition to the buffet for the same price. I tried their eggs benedict, the server mentioned that the hollandaise sauce is made in house.  The sauce was probably about a million calories, but it was very good, rich but not too heavy and filled with flavor.  The eggs however, one was cooked correctly and the other was well done, not runny at all.

I also tried their smoked salmon on a baguette.  Although the quantity of the salmon seemed to changed daily, it was fantastic to have lox each morning. Good quality nova lox served with capers.  I definitely got my intake of sodium during this trip.

Friday, December 16, 2011






mushroom tacos

mole tacos
Birmingham, MI - Barrio; It was promising to see that their tacos were served with corn tortilla and not flour, but the impressiveness stopped there.  Their plating is nice and presented well and clean, but if only I can just look at it instead of eating it.  Not sure if they fail on execution of the dish or in the conception of it.  We tried lots of food, so get ready.

Starting the meal with their guacamole and chips. It's served in a nice stone bowl, its nice and creamy and flavored well.  We thought we were in for a good dinner.

Since our first dish was successful, so why not the next.  Well, this one fell flat on it's face.  The tuna ceviche, well, it's not a ceviche at all.  It appeared and tasted just as though they took tuna sushi-grade, and mixed it with a watermelon lime juice.  I'm not sure how long it was marinated in the sauce, but the fish didn't take on any of the flavor.  Not a ceviche.

On to dinner.  We ordered a variety of tacos to try out as many as we can.  Starting with my least favorite were the tacos I picked, asacado, fish tacos.  To sum it up, too little fish, and too much cabbage.  I could barely taste any fish in it.  I think the cabbage was added for texture and feeling of freshness, but really it was a corn tortilla with a cabbage salad.  Not a winner.  Next were the mushroom tacos, a step up, a little.  The mushroom tacos were better with the choice of tomatoes giving it a freshness and the acidity needed with the mushrooms.  The mushrooms had a nice earthiness to it, but still not enough mushrooms and its flavor was also masked by the condiments.  Lastly, the mole tacos, the better of all the tacos.  I could have easily just ordered these and sent the rest back.  I made sure that I ended with one to have at least one good taco in the meal.  It was pulled pork, marinated well, still juicy, and served with a nice cheese on top to compliment it well.

On the side, we tried the green rice and beans, and grilled corn.  The green rice was a "lime" rice, but really lacked in flavor.  It was really only rice with a tint of green and didn't help to compliment the beans well.  The beans were only black beans.  It lacked in flavor and heartiness.  It was a sad representation of beans in a Mexican restaurant.  The corn was grilled well, a little over done, but the grated cheese on it gave it a little extra to make it better.

Our last dish was the tostada.  I probably would have given a rating of one star, but the tostada is worth one extra star by itself.  After mentioning how good it is to the server, she then mentioned that it's their most popular dish.  We should have heard that in the beginning.  It has a nice crispy shell on the bottom, served with pulled pork that was on the mole tacos, black beans, avacados, lettuce and cheese.  This was the saving grace of the whole dinner.  It was really really good, an exceptional dish.  I would have been sadly disappointed with the experience if we didn't end with the tostada.  Get it, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Petosky, MI - Staffords Bay View Inn; My rating was either going to be four or five stars based on the decor, bedrooms, view, staff, use of gift certificates, and food.  Most categories I would give it four and a few five starts, therefore, I'll give them 4.5 rating.

Lets start with the gift certificate. I had a certificate (not gift card) dating back seven years ago, given to me by a friend.  I didn't think they would honor it, but after speaking to the manager, he gladly accepted it.  I thought it was great customer service.

I initially thought it was going to be a small bed and breakfast, but to find it to be much bigger as a hotel. It's an old hotel dating back to probably 1800-1900s.  The view from the porch or a small walk to their garden or beach is spectacular of the bay.  It's perfect for a sunset.

That morning, we had breakfast in their restaurant and we started with their sticky bun cinnamon roll. I thought it was a good start.  It would have been nice if it were heated up, but it was okay.  I moved onto the Michigan Cherry French Toast. It was much better than the sticky bun.  It did have enough cinnamon and cherries to give it a nice balance of flavor and texture.  The service was very good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Royal Oak, MI - Penn's Thai Kitchen; When you ask for heat, they bring the heat on! They don't joke about spicy here, if you ask for it, you're going to get it. That's what I like about it.

Penn's is a cute little Thai place that has switched hands a few times, but hopefully it will stick with her now.

I tried two dishes, the red curry with tofu and the papaya salad. The red curry was rich with flavor, coconut-iness, and full with curry flavor, nothing watered down. I ordered it medium, what I remember from this dish, is the wonderful flavor of the curry, but the heat, man, the heat.  I may have had a few beads of sweat on my forehead.

The papaya salad was also good, but I had slightly higher expectations. It didn't have as much flavor as I was expecting, but it's also wonderful to have a salad once in a while with a kick.  You get to order this salad also with the spicy level you wish. I chose medium of course and here is this nice slightly acidic refreshing salad, that has a kick, some heat, and you're sweating again!  It's a neat contrast if you're not use to it.

They are super nice inside and I would gladly go back to try more and more.

Royal Oak, MI - What Crepe: Are you a savory or sweet crepe person? Are you both? It's easy to be both at What Crepe? They have several delicious ones and probably many more that I haven't even begun to try, but I want to!

I started with the spicy chicken crepe, which was extremely good. It was very savory, chicken extremely tender, but the "spicy" part needed more heat.  I can understand that they try to pick a middle ground so it fits for many, but when I hear spicy, it should have some heat to back it up. The crepe gives the savory some sweet balance necessary to make it a harmonious dish. I recommend trying this one if you have the opportunity.

After my friend and i stuffed ourselves with a huge crepe each, my friend was compelled to try another. We split it, but I felt overly stuffed at that point. We tried the wild mushroom crepe.  It's an excellent vegetarian option if you like mushrooms.  It does have a strong earthy mushroom flavor, since it's the predominant ingredient.  Not sure if I was stuffed or just too much of a singular flavor on this one, I was happy with just the half.

Lastly, had to try the caramelized banana and nutela crepe. This of course should be a staple when you go. The sweetness from the crepe, and nutela match the banana perfectly.  The chocolate drizzle on top gives it that extra sweetness needed in any dessert.

Only downside is a long wait, but when you have to wait, you know it's going to be good.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Detroit, MI - Avalon Breads; Is there anything better than walking by a bakery in the morning and stopping because of the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries? Avalon puts off that wonderful aroma and eve if you were not hungry, you can't resist going in and getting something.

That something you pick up could be the gigantic challah, a variety of cookies, or brioche with a chocolate ganache. So far I've tried all three of these and non lasted very long. The challah was the longest, maybe two days. The challah had a nice crispy outside with a soft inside. It's not a traditional braided challah, but still had that sour dough flavor.

The brioche with chocolate ganache was good, but not the best I've ever had. The disappointing part of theirs as well as other places is that there isn't enough ganache. There is a little bit of chocolate in there, but it turns out to be a hallow pocket inside with only a small layer of chocolate.

The pumpkin whoopie pie was very nice. The pumpkin cookie outside was sweet enough and perfectly soft while the cream inside was smooth and not overly sweet. After a few bites, it was gone.

One of their specialties that I keep going back is for their cookies. So far, I've tried oatmeal, trail mix, salted chocolate chip. I had high expectations for the salted chocolate chip, but it was only a chocolate chip cookie with a little bit of sea salt ontop. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it could be much better. The trail mix cookie though is another story. It's an oatmeal cookie foundation, but with trail mixed in with it. this one is my favorite. I'll seek out these cookies either at the store or in one of the specialty market bakeries. It has just the amount of trail mix, seeds, the oatmeal flavor.

Word is out about this place in the neighborhood. I had to wait in line for about 5-10 minutes, but well worth it. This place is a keeper.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ferndale, MI - Anita's Kitchen; To successfully try a variety of their offerings and really get a flavor of each dish, I highly recommend the Mixed Mezza either meat or vegetarian. Take a one or two friends and split it. With two people, we were stuffed and both took some home.

The kabobs were probably the best of the dish. They were seasoned well and had a nice chard edges for the extra flavoring. The shwarmas, chicken and beef, were both marinated well and not dried out, which is so important. So many places dry out their shwarma and it gets chewy. Anita's does a great job of have excellent cuts of meats, all seasoned and cooked well on the same platter.

With so many middle eastern restaurants, there has to be something that sets them aside from other places. Their Baba Ghannouge is one of those dishes that usually tastes the same every where you go. However, there was only one place that truly made the best I've ever had outside the middle east, which was Yossi's in West Bloomfield. Since they closed, I have not been able to find anything like it. Anita's is the closest so far. It is creamy and smooth, but most importantly without that sharp tartness that most babas have.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bloomfield Hills, MI - Bangkok Thai Bistro; This is the former Rexy's Bangkok Thai Bistro that was located on Woodward in Royal Oak. It's the same owners as before, but it's not as upscale as the former location. It's designed to be more casual and faster to order. When you walk in, you go straight to the counter, order and then sit down, much more informal.

So far, I've only tried one dish, their Pad Ped. It's an eggplant dish in a red coconut curry sauce. The curry sauce was good, probably not strong enough though. The portion was also smaller than I anticipated. However, I also ordered Pad Thai, which I didn't try, and that portion size was better.

Since there isn't any consistency for spicy levels across Thai restaurants, I usually like dishes with a nice kick. Medium in most places in the Detroit area has a kick, but not too spicy. I usually order it Medium or Medium Plus. Their medium was more like mild. It didn't have any heat, barely noticeable.

One trace of flavor that was present, different from any other Pad Ped, was a hint of fried or charred flavor. The tofu and veggies did have a hint of visible grilled or burnt side. Surprisingly, I liked it. It added a new element to the flavor that I didn't expect.

I'm looking forward to seeing what other dishes they put a twist on.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Royal Oak, MI - Cafe Muse; So far, three different breakfasts and each one was a home-run or at least a triple. Each dish is well thought out, the flavors compliment each other well, clever flavor combinations, and each dish was truly unique. The atmosphere is very nice and elegant, but not enough where you have to dress up. Remember, it's just breakfast.

The first breakfast was the Orange Yogurt Pancakes. These hotcakes had a nice hint of orange zesty flavor. Not too much, but definitely enough were you knew it was there. It was accompanied with candied pecans and a sharp cheese on top, but I don't remember the name of it. The cheese by itself I thought was too sharp, but when eaten with the pancakes and a little syrup, it was a perfect combination. The portion was a little small, but I guess it's better that I don't over eat. Good portion control I guess.

A standard menu item is the Exotic Mushroom Scramble. It's a wonderful scramble for mushroom lovers. The mushrooms are earthy, oily, and with a touch of truffle oil, the eggs are mushrooms are a great combination. It's not your ordinary mushroom and eggs. It also came with a sweet potato mash, which I've now tried twice. The mash is slightly sweet from the potato, but it can be a tiny bit bland. They are creamy, blended well, but just missing something.

The Ammoglio Scramble is also a stand item and right up there with the mushrooms, it's a great combination of flavors. The sauce on the eggs is tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. I would compare it to a "salsa and eggs", but much better. The only weak part of this dish is that the ammoglio sauce is cold served on top of the hot eggs. If you like the contrast of temperature, it's perfect for you. If you think the temperature is going to through you off, just wait a minute or two and the eggs will do all the work to heat up the sauce. By the way, the scrambled eggs are probably one of the best I've had so far. They are cooked perfectly, fluffy, and they don't have a strong eggy flavor. Some how they soften the flavor, brilliant.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Detroit, MI - Jamaica Jamaica Restaurant and Bakery; This is the diamond in the rough. Jamaica Jamaica is truly the real deal between the man behind the counter or the food you can experiment with. Other reviewers have mentioned the bulletproof glass and not a great neighborhood. Get past all that and go. If you're a real foodie, you'll know why once you start eating.

We walked in and started chatting with the fellow about different dishes. He gave us some fried dumplings while we were looking at the menu and said to enjoy while you decide. Seriously, I love fried food, but this little fried dough ball, it makes you weak in the knees. He was a good marketer because while eating that, I could have said, give me everything on the menu if it's as good as this.

So we started with the dumplings, which are flour, butter, and honey rolled and deep fried. At first the honey doesn't come through, but then you get this wave of sweetness that really makes it a spectacular little dumpling.

On to some main courses, we started with the curry goat. I think it may be my first time having goat and it was just like eating beef. It was extremely tender and fell apart when you were eating it. The curry sauce was also wonderfully thick and extremely aromatic and flavorful. Each entree comes with a fried dumpling, plantains, rice and beans. Of course the fried plantains were so perfectly oily and sweet, just fantastic.

Course two, oxtail. This is my first as well and as I can't say there is a ton of meat on it, you get the meat on the bone, and it just doesn't fall off the bone being so tender, it almost melts in your mouth. It does have a slightly meatier taste than the goat, but still very very good.

Last entree, the jerk chicken. Now we're really talking. Pow, the smell hits you and you dive in. This is the dish right here that I've been waiting for. It's also extremely tender and the flavor just isn't on the skin where the spices are, it's through the meat so you know it's been marinated in it for some time. It will leave this wonderful flavor that really makes you say that it was the best dish.

With all these dishes, we also had the traditional bread, roti, with it. Use the roti with your hands to scoop up any rice and beans, curry sauce, anything. The roti by itself really doesn't have a whole lot of flavor, but it is two small layers of a corn-like tortilla with spices in the middle of it. You can almost separate it to see it if you want.

Lastly, do not leave this place with out trying some of their juices. They are hand made in the morning and we started with the mango, then onto ginger beer, and lastly punch back. The mango was out of this world. The perfect mango flavor with still small bits of mangos in it. Definitely not from any kind of concentrate. If you don't like ginger ale, stay away from the ginger beer. It's really strong in ginger flavor, not alcoholic. Actually, it doesn't have any alcohol in it. It does almost have some kind of carbonation, I felt the tingle, but not exactly sure. None of us liked that one very much. For the last drink, we tried the punch back which is peanuts, raisins, and other things he didn't tell us. It was like an eggnog consistency, but not much of the same flavor. It was very good though and I recommend trying that one too.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Traverse City, MI - Tuscan Bistro; We settled on this Italian restaurant when we couldn't go to the original Italian place we picked. The original didn't have any reservations available and could have been at least a two hour wait. However, I called Tuscan and they had didn't have a wait at all. That's a good thing right? What also scared me was that we had a two hour wait at one place and this one, no wait at all. I think the other people know something I didn't

They were right. I would come back here for an entree or dessert. The appetizer was fine, but I had the Cavatelli for dinner and bread pudding for dessert.

The server warned me that the Cavatelli is a heavier dish, however, not only was it heavier, but it was also very bland. It was extremely weak in flavor, the pasta was extremely dense, and it was very oily as well. Stay away from this dish if you happen to find yourself there.

The bread pudding looks good, it's better to look at it than to try and eat it. It was not good at all. It was extremely dense and we almost had to use a knife to cut through it. The chocolate sauce around it was overly sweet and I tried to avoid dipping in it or any piece of the bread pudding that was touching the sauce. The table next to us ask if it was any good. I first thought about giving the usual response, good good, not bad, etc...Oh no, he saw me hesitate and start shaking my head back and forth and I told him my thoughts.

Stay away from both of these dish.

Friday, August 26, 2011

(Left to right: tongue, chorizo, pork, beef)

Madison Heights, MI - Tienda Mexicana; It's as almost as good as it gets. Tiny little supermarket in a strip mall, hidden from the usual typical passerby, with a hidden secret in the back, authentic and delicious Mexican food. What's ironic is that it's just down the street from Taco Bell, with people marching in like a scene out of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis". They walk in oblivious to the real stuff just a few hundred yards away.

One mistake I made when I first went here was I stood at the back counter waiting to order, after a few stares from people, I realized I need to order at the cash register in the front. Save yourself the mistake.

Other yelpers are absolutely correct, why go down to Mexican town when you have this right in your backyard. Save the gas and try their selection.

I've now tried six different tacos and their steak torta. I've yet to be disappointed. All the tacos are served, by request, with cilantro and onions, don't forget to ask.

All the tacos are served on a wonderfully hot small corn tortilla, the way it should be. I now have tried chicken, beef, pork, tripe, chorizo, and tongue. Every single one was tender, seasoned well, and moist and not dried out. I would gladly eat any of them again, but my favorite is a tie between the pork and chorizo. Both are filled with so much flavor, it's hard to ignore it. The tongue and tripe are excellent exotic choices if you're willing to try them.

Onto the torta, being the great sandwich it is. It has lettuce, mild pepper, avocado, choice of meat, and mayo on a grilled bun. What more do you want. It becomes a heavenly combination of flavors that makes you ask on your last bite, "I may be able to eat another one, because it's that good."


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Birmingham, MI - Rugby Grille; Instead of having breakfast in the dining room, how about breakfast in bed? Rugby Grille serves their food to Townsend guests, so if you don't want to have it in the dinning room, why not in your room?

I tried their eggs benedict with side of bacon and turkey sausage. The english muffins were toasted well and not soggy from the eggs. The eggs were cooked well and perfectly runny to mix well with the hollandaise sauce. The sauce was delicious, creamy, and salty and sweet. Both the bacon and the sausage were very good, salty, charred nicely, and perfect to dip into the hollandaise sauce.

The fruit was nice, fresh, but nothing out of their ordinary. It certainly lightened the dish up a bit since the rest of it is pretty heavy. It was actually nice to have that instead of potatoes, which would have made it a really heavy dish. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Ferndale, MI - Fly Trap; Fly Trap is a unique place, probably in it's own category. Breakfast, lunch, I guess either. They have some unique items on the menu and especially their specials menu. Fly Trap was also featured in Food Channel's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, which attracted me to here.

Get ready to wait in their no waiting area. They have a tiny waiting area right in front of the door. So, when you wait, you're just keep looking at each table hoping they are done. Obviously making the situation awkward for people at the tables. The grill is right in the dinning area as well, so be prepared to smell like lots of dinner food when you leave.

I've tried their green eggs and ham, from the menu, and their Moroccan mole, off the specials menu. I thought both dishes were pretty good, interesting flavors, well developed, and both were unique. I thought the green eggs were going to be eggs with some food coloring, but it turned out to be roasted pablano pesto, giving it a nice sweet flavor. The Moroccan mole was not a traditional mole sauce. It's traditionally made with chocolate, but this was a white mole sauce. I'm not sure how they made it, but it was also a nice combination.

On their standard menu, they do offer multiple vegetarian and vegan options for those with food restrictions. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Birmingham, MI - Chen Chow Brasserie: Are you at Chen Chow for the atmosphere? How about the flavor and caliber of food? How about for the price of the food? The first yes, two maybe, third no.

I started with the Octopus & Soba Noodles. It's a staple on many sushi menus. It was prepared with the same flavors and texture as any other sushi restaurant, just half the cost. However, it was served with a ginger sauce that isn't usually typical and it was a nice addition, complimenting the flavor. However, it also included a small cube of jello and I'm not sure why it was there. The flavor was extremely subtle to where it didn't have any flavor. It didn't add anything to the octopus and I would go as far as saying it had slightly a bad flavor. I was not a fan of that and it had no place on that plate. If it covered it in the ginger sauce, it could eat it, but what's the good in that?

Moving onto the main course, pork three ways. They redeemed themselves almost. It's served with cinnamon brine tenderloin, pulled shoulder with white kimchi, orange hoisen glazed pork belly, with a side of broccoli. Each one was cooked very well and flavored the same. Each one was unique in its own flavor and you'll want to eat take a bite of each one and change up frequently to capture their flavors. Then tenderloin was cooked very well, nice and pink in the middle, and wonderfully tender. The pulled shoulder was very delicious. The sauce complimented the tender shoulder very well and it was my second favorite of the dish. the pork belly however, stole the show. It had the crispy edge it needed while having the fatty inside capturing all the flavor. It was the home run of the dish. Now I want a whole plate of this dish.

Why include the broccoli on this dish? It's steamed broccoli with very little flavor. It's an after thought. Bad choice on the chef's part.

Lastly the dessert. Make sure you get it. It's another amazing dish that the pastry chef did an amazing job. We had the Molten Chocolate Cake with a ctrus sauce, orange, and powdered sugar. When we cut into it, the chocolate just poured out. It was fantastic, make sure you get it.

The only downside is that it's too expensive. I don't think it's worth the cost of the meal though.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Detroit, MI - Neighborhood Noodle; This is a scene out of Chicago or New York, not expected here in Detroit. Neighborhood Noodle is a traveling food business that operates about once per month by special order only. You place your order in advance and show up at the designated time to pick it up. They use another business' kitchen until they complete their purchase of their own food truck. The last month was in May and it was Korean. Particularly, they prepared bibimbap, carrot soup prepared cold, an apple potato salad, and an almond cookie with a mixed citrus marmalade.

The Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish and I was surprised to see how good it was. It was prepared very well with rice, tofu, spinach, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, bulgogi (sauteed marinated beef), and a fried egg on top. It is eaten with a wonderful spice sauce that is perfect to bring all the elements of the dish together.

The carrot soup was a fantastic puree of a carrot and curry soup. I didn't expect the curry flavor, giving it an element of surprise and bold flavor.

The apple potato salad is a three-to-four star dish compared to the others. It was ok, not bad, apple slices with red skin potatoes in a light dressing. I didn't think it was spectacular, a little more bland than I would want it. Especially the bold flavors of the other dishes. It didn't seem to match the others. The apples did elevate the flavor of the dish with it's sweet addition.

Lastly, another home run, the almond cookie. It is two cookies held together by a mixed fruit marmalade. Oh my, how goooooood this is. Each cookie probably has a stick of butter in it and why its so good, but who cares. They are very greasy, but if you like soft, very soft, almond cookies and like marmalade, it's worth seeking this place out for just this. I recommend a store just be opened up for these cookies, yes it's that good. I actually took small bites so it would last longer and I could extend the enjoyment.

I'm looking forward to when they have their food truck and on a regular basis. Its an exciting and fun experience to put in your order days in advance and seek them out to pick it up.

Cash Only****

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

San Antonio, TX - Liberty Bar; Walk, drive, bike, carpool, hitchhike, crawl, or however you want to get here. I'm not sure about anything on the menu except one dish that you have to try, the Goat Cheese with piloncillo & chile morita sauce. You will want to order this appetizer, maybe for the whole table, or maybe just for you. Just be prepared to place another one to-go for when you're ready to leave. This dish is a home run, wait, it's a grand slam, the ball may even sore into the parking lot. Like I said, I can't speak for any other dish, I literally just ordered this, ate it all, then ordered another to go for my wife to try (but really just so I could eat it again later).

If you ask, they'll give you the ingredients for it, not that I could every duplicate it. It's served with some basic but nice toast, lightly buttered, but really waiting for a huge schmear of the cheese. I do feel bad for the toast since it has to share the plate with the cheese. It has to follow up after an amazing act. The cheese is served warm, and so smooth. It has a smokiness to the flavor, carries just enough sweetness, with just a little bit of heat at the end. It has a chipotle tangy and spiciness with this wonderful creaminess of the goat cheese mixed with heavy cream.

If I had the money, I would fly to San Antonio, just for this. The city couldn't keep my interest, but I would go back for this, hands down.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

San Antonio, TX - Biga on the Banks; I believe to receive five stars you have to have, outstanding food and excellent customer service. That's it. If you get these perfect, then five are easy to achieve.

We truly had a wonderful experience here and they deserve every earned star. I made reservations a week in advance and inquired about their vegetarian options for my wife. The lady on the phone indicated that the menu changes each night based on what the executive chef has available for local fresh fare. However, she also included that when we arrive, mention it to your server and they will make anything you want to her liking. Wow, ok, that sounds like good customer service. We arrive for our evening out, seated at our table (a wonderful table along the glass over looking the river), and our server comes over and immediately says to my wife, "I understand you're a vegetarian, please allow me to show and describe our vegetarian options. If any of these don't sound attractive, please describe what you're interested in and I'll speak to the executive chef." My wife and I both paused and were in shock. This means the woman I spoke to regarding the reservation, noted she was a vegetarian and spoke to our server for us. I feel like I'm in the home-run derby right now. We don't even have our food and we're blown away.

I started with the wild mushroom truffle soup. I am a sucker for mushroom soup. What adds an element of elegance and sophistication is that it's assembled at table-side. The bowl came with the mushrooms and truffle oil in the center of the bowl, but the creamy soup wasn't too be found. After the plate was set down, then the server poured the soup on top of it. I was absolutely ready to dig into it. Of course it was delicious. It maintained that wild mushroom flavor, still a little rustic, but the truffle oil blended the creaminess of the soup with the rustic of the mushrooms.

I chose the venison and quail, and she ordered the roasted beat dish. I was so impressed with the complexity and caliber of both dishes favors. They were very well developed, harmonious, and complimentary in flavor and texture. The venison was perfectly cooked medium-rare. The quail was so delicate and had just enough charred flavor on the skin. It also came with a wonderful reduction sauce to compliment both meats very well. The surprise of the dish was the pureed potatoes and the sauteed brussels sprouts. Initially I tried the puree and it had flavor, but needed a bit of salt, however, then I tried the sprouts and they had the salt the puree was lacking. Putting them together was a perfect symphony. The crunchy and saltiness of the sprouts were perfect for the soft and smooth puree. Bravo!

My wife absolutely loved her beat dish, which came along with some kind of wonder cheesy grits-like puree underneath the vegetables. I have to admit, this may have been the only time I've seen her eat the entire vegetable dish. It also had asparagus that were so interesting. The only way I could describe it was that it seems as though it had been cooked in liquid nitrogen because it was fully cooked, but somehow it maintained this crystallized crunchiness to it. Bravo!

Of course the desert was a perfect way to end the meal.

Compliments to the host, server, and chefs!