An announcement, and a review

First things first: My household has officially expanded. It actually expanded some time ago, but I didn’t want to write anything about it until the paperwork was final. Which happened this morning. I’d like to introduce y’all to Napkin and Moneypenny:

Photobucket

Photobucket

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to turn into a Crazy Pet Blogger, but it’s entirely possible that I’ll write about them once in a while. Possibly with pictures, possibly without. (For all you whiners out there, I’m sorry. Really I am. Just take solace in the fact that, unlike the Sig Fig, you don’t have to hear about how adorable my cats are approximately twelve times a minute.)

Now onto the food I ate last night.

I decided we needed to Go Out somewhere, so two nights ago I stayed up really late looking at a gazillion menus online and eventually reading reviews of the contenders. I went with my Two Entree Rule: any restaurant worth considering must offer at least two vegetarian entrees. (Laurel Grill and Bar, for the record, offers three. Three! It’s like we died and went to San Francisco.) This yielded a surprisingly high number of results (once I expanded to places with significant veggie appetizers, as sometimes it’s fun to go to a place and order a bunch of tiny things to share), including a place that serves nearly all of its menu items on “flavor-infused sticks.” I cannot wait to try this.

Anyway, after we huddled in a Bank of America ATM lobby for a while because we showed up too early, we officially became the first diners of the evening at Laurel. (There were only four other people the whole time, plus one or two at the bar. And the loud flamboyant bartender.) The decor is… weird. Kind of crazy ugly paintings and sculptures, but otherwise nice in a candlelit kinda way. Service was extremely polite, which is a weird thing to notice–I think she said “Thank you” at least twice per visit to the table. Good pace on the courses. We started with a plate of sun-dried tomato hummus with a little feta and chili oil, which was totally fantastic. And I’m not normally a huge hummus fan. Simple salads followed, fresh and lightly dressed. The Sig Fig chose a veggie risotto, which came with some cheese she hated (but was able to poke around easily enough) and a balsamic reduction on top. Insanely rich. I ordered the lamb shank, which was pretty much falling off the bone it was so tender. The meat itself was less flavorful than I might have liked, but it came in a nice wine sauce with some eggplant and possibly fig. The “creamy” polenta tasted like they cut three sticks of butter into triangles, so I couldn’t finish it. Dessert was a pecan and cranberry tart, with whom I plan to have babies. Babies everywhere. Seriously, I almost died. It was like having a mini pecan pie with tangy bits of goodness and a caramel drizzle. Is there anything that can’t be made better by adding a caramel drizzle?

Anyway, the price was also extremely reasonable–even with dessert and a glass of wine for me we didn’t break a hundred (with tip–we were way under without). I rate Laurel “anytime I feel like getting fancy food while wearing my jeans, but maybe I’ll make a later reservation so I don’t freeze my face off waiting for the dining room to open.”

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3 Responses to An announcement, and a review

  1. linaria says:

    Nice to know other people have ‘restaurant rules.’ My personal rule is that whatever entree I choose at a restaurant must be something I can’t make at home, either because I don’t know how or because it contains expensive ingredients (sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, chevre, etc etc). Unfortunately this means I’m being forced to go to better and better restaurants since I’m turning out to be pretty good home cook. It’s really awful;)

  2. mk's ladyfriend says:

    I would like to just elaborate on the Weird Decor. We were seated next to a creche containing a Homegoods-quality scultpture of two embracing children. Above the children, there was a painting of a sailboat in front of a lighthouse. On the wall, a few yards away, there was an interesting painting of a TERRIFYING abyss-type fish. Luckily, the lights were dim enough that the strange decor did not taint the tastiness of the meal. Ooh, I should also mention that the place was actively Homo Friendly. They supplied a stack of Bay Windows by the door.

  3. pandanose says:

    Ah yes! Homo Friendly! Very true. This is something I should remember in future reviews.

    I like your rule, linaria, and often use it myself. Though I’ll admit that at less swanky places I often try things like the club sandwich or a French dip just to see if I can find the best possible version.

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