Saturday, February 21, 2015

McGuire's is Baaaaaaack

Black Manhattan

If I were Queen of Everything I would order all the folks in the Lark Street neighborhood to go to McGuire's now that they are done with their 2014/15 renovations. Steve Barnes has kept close to McGuire's in his blog Table Hopping, so if you want background do a search on the restaurant name. I think people should go and  try this new incarnation and see what they think.  I wouldn't have painted the ceiling black, but there's no accounting for taste.

Of course the bar is always going to be fun, because of its unique view of Lark Street.

It's a "new concept" with a new menu, but I did not become familiar with any of their old menus, so I'm not the one who is going to write a comparison review. I have tried several of their dishes and enjoyed them. Here are my impressions:

The small plates are where all the flashy stuff is.  Combining a small plate and a salad could make a good light dinner. The salads are given some attention and are thoughtfully composed.
Further down the menu, the tried and true entrees of beef, pork, foul and fish look solidly good - unless the cooks are clods they will be reliable staples.

I had the delicious frisee salad with blueberries and candied nuts.  It was fresh and a refreshing start to my dinner on the night that I had the sliced steak. I love steak and fries, and this one really hit the spot.  It was small and sauced nicely.  So next time I'm in the mood, I know where I want to go. I had the key lime pie that night and both the wait person and myself thought it was cheesecake.  But pie, cake -- no matter, it was a great creamy citrusy finish for the meal.

Bread and a nut butter come with the table.  I'll go for any sort of butter over olive oil, which I consider to be an unhappy aberration in restaurant trends, and the nut butter makes a good spread.

The bread also served as a nice alternative support for the chicken liver mousse with fig and mustard.

The cute mason jar service with jelly on top and a sprig of thyme was entertaining for about a minute, then I realized that having to go back to the jar and scoop out each dip of mousse is tedious, so once I scooped it onto the plate I got into serious tasting of various combinations of flavors.  I could go on eloquently, because I save chicken livers for special occasions, and the mousse was nicely done. The low-key sweetness of the figs and the sharp mustard are truly excellent condiments to this treat.  This dish and a salad also make a great light meal. 

The night I tried the fish was also a happy night.  The combination of Asian flavors was wonderful on the perfectly tender and moist mahi mahi. I got a spoon for the broth and used it well. The noodles were an overcooked loss - something a 15 yo would know better than to do, but I didn't even care. 

To sum up the food, there are probably going to be things you like about the place and things you don't like, but I highly recommend trying what they are offering and making up your own mind.  I happen to like it and will return.

To finish up I have a few things to say that I would like to tell all restaurant managers and owners, like when I write pleas to floor managers who allow their staff to spray everything with cleaner spray:  don't conduct your business in the dining room.  I'm sure it's comfortable, probably more comfortable than your office,  so renovate or redecorate or get yourself an office where you can do business.  I don't want to hear it while I'm trying to enjoy my steak.

And if you're going to admonish an employee, don't do it in the dining room(s).  Just don't. Don't make a bunch of phone calls to confirm reservations for a special holiday night. I want to hear the music and the dishy conversation of my near neighbors and I don't want to keep hearing you tell everyone that it's a $xx dinner with x courses. That is a definite drag and I hope the manager gets the word on this: take it to the office.

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