Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back Yard Bistro

As I blogged last night, we went to this fine establishment for my wife's birthday yesterday. Here's a brief review.

Excellent service. The wait staff did a great job, and having the owner chat everyone up was a nice touch. (I usually find it a little... odd talking to the chef/owner, but she was very unobtrusive and natural about it and it wasn't off-putting.) The little bonuses - a tiny appetizer sample (spicy pork belly) and tiny dessert sample (something like mochi, I forgot what it was actually called) at the end were cute.

The food was creative and eclectic, so you'd have to be in the mood for that. If you want straight up comfort food, or straight up ethnic, I'd say this would throw you too many curves. My wife appreciated the unexpected mixes a lot, so it was a good choice to take her there. (I guess I'm more traditional.) The sauce on the skirt steak was a little too wine-y, but both the skirt and the sirloin were done perfectly, with good flavor and tenderness. I would've preferred the yucca fries instead of the stuffing (aka bread pudding), but my wife LOVES stuffing (never having had it until I made it one year for Thanksgiving, she is now obsessed with it). I didn't think the cloves (I'm pretty sure that was cloves I was tasting) went in the spiced ketchup at all, but that was another point she liked. The sausage inside the veal was amazing - it came out kinda dry and crumbly, while the veal was juicy (i.e. kind of the opposite from what you'd expect): nice complements of flavor on that one. Oh, and it's funny, but I think the consistent highlight for me and my son were the little hashbrowns that garnished both the appetizer and the veal - wow, those were some good hasbrowns. And of the desserts, the cheesecake was definitely the high point: I prefer the denser, sourer kind, but if you like the looser, sweeter, ricotta style, this was a banging batch. Oh, whatever they pour as the house Merlot was excellent, and I thought their wine list was a nice range from $25-$85 bottles, to give people choices across price brackets.


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