To be honest, I'd never considered this restaurant as I figured it was 'just' something attached to the Carleton Hotel. But we won a dinner for 4 in a local contest so off we went. It was a Friday nite at 6 pm and the place was empty! That's unfortunate as the food was really wonderful! There's a smallish menu but still has interesting selections and a small but adequate wine/beer/mixed drinks menu. My thought is - the smaller the menu the better prepared and fresh they'll be. That turned out to be true!
We ordered appies (they call them Tapas) and got one order of Lemon Dill Mussels and one of Shrimp Baja. The gang pronounced the mussles 'most excellent'. There was a good amount for sharing and they were in a wonderful broth which needed possibly more bread for dipping. The shrimp were wrapped in bacon and covered in their pico de gallo. They were quite decadent and disappeared quickly. The sauce in the bowl was also VERY yummy and got sopped up with the ciabatta bread that was included. For mains, we got 2 orders of peppercorn steak & shrimp which were cooked to perfection! One of our diners is VERY particular and wants his steak almost blue rare and it was perfectly done. The portions were large and there was a lot of shrimp which were nicely done and quite spicy - which was good! They also came with a good portion of potatoes. One diner got the blackened snapper with a caesar salad and potatoes. It was also very good. My dinner was a beef dip with a caesar salad. It was really good with lots of tender beef and a good amount of jus. We also got dessert - their Ghiradelli chocolate brownie with whipped cream AND ice cream. A large portion and the brownie was heavenly! The other diners shared some pecan pie which was also good.
So why are they not more busy? I can offer two suggestions which may (or may not) help. When looking into the restaurant from the street it really looks more like a breakfast/lunch place and not so much a dinner place. So here's my thoughts: at dinner time - remove the ketchup bottles from the tables and add some tablecloths ... maybe candles and small vases of flowers. All things that are pretty cheap but will help to transform the place to somewhere inviting for dinner.
I'm definitely going back to try some of the burgers on the menu ... they looked really tasty!!
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