Let me start by apologizing for the lack of pictures on this post. I do have them, unfortunately, I had already loaded them onto my computer shortly before I had some major problems and had to leave it in for repairs. So, I won't tell you how hard it has been for me living without a computer for over a week now (hard), but I will make you a deal--when I get it back, I will post the pictures then. Unorthodox I know, but I hate for them to go to waste. So if you want to see a few pics, check back in a week or so. *****Ok, obviously I have gone back and added the pictures....enjoy!******
Ok, as for the review, I have been mulling this place over in my head for the last week or so (I actually went twice because I am so torn about it). Here's the thing. There are many things I like about it--the ingredients are really fresh and high quality...the interior is modern and clean and the service staff is pretty spot on. And even the menu is really appealing (and quite large). But here's the deal, the food just didn't wow me, you know? There was nothing that was downright bad, and a few things that were interesting and good, but overall, I can't get myself really excited about it.
So the first time, I went with hubby and had a cup of the potato soup ($4) and the AK's grilled cheese which sounded up my alley (and both of which had been recommended by a reader). So the soup wasn't bad, and I liked that it had nice chunks of potato in it, and wasn't just a puree, but I immediately reached for the salt shaker, which is not something I usually do. I did like the little cheesy slice of toasty bread they served alongisde it--particularly crumbled up into the soup. Gave it that little extra texture and salt that helped it out.
So the "AK's grilled cheese" ($9) was actually melted brie and mozzerella and baby spinach with what are described as balsamic marinated portabella mushrooms--all on whole grain bread. So here's what was missing for me: the flavor of balsamic. All those other ingredients were there--and I enjoy them all. But when you have two very rich, thick creamy cheeses and then some veggies...without the flavor of the balsamic coming through, it kind of gets lost... you know what I mean? I did like the heartiness of the bread to break up the smooth texture of the cheese and mushrooms...but it wasn't enough to make me want to order it again.
|AK's Grilled Cheese|
Hubby had the "munchie supreme" ($10) which was pastrami, swiss, dijon remoulade with a "fist full" of fries on rye bread. Again, all the ingredients were good. The pastrami was moist and flavorful, and there wasn't so much of it that you couldn't fit it in your mouth. Again, though, I didn't get a lot of the sauce---the Dijon remoulade, which is what I was hoping would take it up a bit. The fries on the sandwich sounded like an interesting twist, but didn't really add that much for me (and hubby agreed). The fries themselves were pretty good (we had a side of them as well for $3). Handcut, darker fried fries with a decent amount of seasoning. I was bummed that they just served them with ketchup. These fries deserved more. Give me a little aioli or hell, some of that Dijon remoulade. When you have some high quality fries, you need something a little above and beyond ketchup (in my opinion).
They also served housemade potato chips as a side with the sandwiches. The chips were thick and hearty, cooked a little darker than your average chip. More like kettle chips. The thickness made them just a teeny bit chewy. Nicely done though. Hubby thought they were better than the fries, but I was torn a bit on that question.
|Munchie Supreme and Fries|
You know what I really liked though? The pickle spears they served alongside the sandwiches. These were delicious. A little more vinegary than most pickles, and with some fresh dill right on them. I was quite grateful for this little piece of tangy vinegar flavor to balance out what was otherwise a very savory, slightly monotone, meal.
So for my second meal, I went with a cup of the mushroom soup and a half a chicken salad sandwich. The mushroom soup was described as mushroom Brandy soup, and was aptly described. And despite the fact that our server highly recommended the potato soup (which the BFF ordered and promptly salted and peppered), I think the mushroom soup is better. It is still quite rich, and again, I like that they don't do pure purees, and that their soups contain some nice chunks of, in this case, mushrooms. The soup had a nice flavor from the Brandy without being overly sweet. Again, I crumbled up the slice of bread toasted with cheese on it and liked the extra bit of texture variation.
I also had a half of the chicken salad sandwich because it sounded interesting. It was described as chicken with celery, pancetta and mayo and a touch of Dijon. I was intrigued by the addition of the pancetta---I had a sandwich at Nordstrom the other day with crispy prosciutto on it and really enjoyed the crunchiness of it. However, I didn't even get a pancetta flavor (which is more bacon-ish) from this sandwich. Honestly, I didn't get a lot of any flavor other than the greens and the bread. There wasn't a lot of the chicken salad and it wasn't overly flavorful.
The BFF got the chopped salad ($7) (which I would have done if she had not, but since she was, I knew she would share, so I went a different direction). It was chopped romaine, sopressata, pepperoni, artichoke hearts, red onions, hard boiled egg, blue cheese and the house vinaigrette. So her thoughts were, wow, there was way too much meat. My thoughts were, wow, there was way too little dressing. So somewhere in the middle, was a decent salad, that either needed more dressing to balance out the heaviness of the strongly flavored cured meats, or less of the meats. Or maybe a little combination of both.
So again, the ingredients in the food were good. I loved the pickles and the soups were interesting and obviously being made in house. The sandwiches were clearly homemade too, but just lacking a little in the pizzazz that for me, makes a sandwich great. But there are a lot of things on this menu, and the second time I was there, there was not an empty seat in the house. So let's hear from you guys--obviously some of you all are eating there--what is your favorite thing and why?
6515 North College Avenue