Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Urban Solace, Part Trois

D.'s parents were in town for the weekend and kicked off their arrival on Friday with The Original Pancake House. That night, we went to Urban Solace. I really love this place. The whole Americana bistro concept is great and I usually enjoy the ambiance.

They have a new menu, which I encountered on a previous visit with K. and B. That time, I had the cornmeal-crusted Arctic char with apple-fennel salad and roasted sweet potato. That was excellent. D.'s dad, S., ordered that this time. Looked great this time, too.

I decided to try one of their new dishes, the Duckaroni.

The lighting was yellow, resulting in a yellow tinge to my photos. Even tinkering with the white balance didn't help.

Anyway, the Duckaroni was very rich. Maybe a tad too rich. The duck confit was excellent, as were the baby arugula leaves. The garlic was under-roasted. That led to soft, but not caramelized, cloves. The flavors were very good, although they were all strong, adding to the heaviness of the dish. I'd definitely order it again, but I'd like to see it served with something else to lighten it.

D. had the Monte Diego, which he had last time.

It's a play on the Monte Cristo sandwich, which is a bit of a French toast sandwich. The bread is battered and ham, fontina, pears, and strawberry-currant jam make the filling. D. likes it. I think he wasn't too pleased with his last burger, so he switched to this.

D.'s mom, E., ordered two apps as her entree. The warmed spinach salad along with an appetizer order of the sweet potato fries. They looked excellent.

This leads to my commentary about service. The staff is very warm and friendly, but there are definitely logistical quirks that they should iron out. Service at each of our visits has been inconsistent and slightly off logistically. E. was asked when she wanted her dishes, since we also ordered the cheese biscuits as an appetizer. Very clearly, she replied that she wanted her dishes with the entrees. Our server, who was very nice but seemingly inexperienced, didn't understand the answer to her own question. I counted her asking three more times, "You know, I could bring that salad out first. Would you like that?" E. acquiesced in the end. What else was she supposed to say after being pestered about it? The server should have let it go after the first "double-check".

The other service quirk was that they literally cleared our dishes less than a minute after each person finished. When one of us was done, someone showed up in a few seconds to whisk it away. While it's efficient, we felt rushed. Certainly, we don't want to linger and hold up their ability to turn tables, but don't throw us out, either.

Still, those are just quirks. The food was great, the wine (a syrah from Ancient Peaks in Paso Robles) was very good, and the service was friendly. We'll be back, naturally.

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Thistlemoon said...

That duck dish you had sounds really interesting ! I love this style of restaurant too!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Meandering Eats said...

Thank you! I'm glad to be a part of it. Looking forward to meeting the other bloggers in the forum!

2 bites