Wednesday, May 30, 2012

of restaurants past :: three in one

i mentioned in one of my past entries that there are a few restaurants that i have tried months ago but have yet to write about. it's  been so long ago that these experiences are considered obsolete since a lot of restaurants update their menu to match the seasonal ingredients or just to switch things up a little.

i blame me and my slacking with updates. i've looked it up and this list includes dinner at hopleaf and brunches at sola and sable kitchen&bar. in view of this, i've decided to write a concise compilation of these three restaurants (which i hate doing hence i promise to try to not do this again) since it's been months i've eaten at these restaurants, take these reviews with a grain of salt.

to jump to these specific restaurants sections in this entry, these are the links you could click on::
{dinner at hopleaf}
{brunch at sola restaurant}
{sunday brunch at sable kitchen}




when :: thanksgiving 2011
meal :: dinner



ambience :: loud bar scene up front. in contrast, it is quieter in the dimly lit dining area out back where its decor is simple with a touch of vintage. there is a semi open kitchen where you can watch the chef prepare your food. there is limited seating so be prepared to wait if you are planning to go there during dinner rush.
note :: must be 21 with valid id to enter the restaurant.

food :: defines gastrotavern at its best, serving great new american with their personal twist and influence from different cultures. their specialty is mussels.



mussels for one ($13) or mussel for two ($22) | served with frites and aioli. it comes in two ways :

o1| belgian style :: steamed with witterkerke white ale with sliced shallots, celery, thyme and bayleaf
o2| white wine :: steamed in white wine and pork broth with white beans and tasso ham



since there were four of us, we ordered both styles. belgian style is reminiscent of the publican mussels are made out of. the mussels were delicious but it is a bit salty for my liking. R thinks it's normal level of saltiness for american food. great for dunking the chunks of french baguette. the frites were crispy and seasoned well, pairs well with the mild, creamy aioli. personally, i like publican mussels better over these.

the entrees (no longer available on their current menu as of the time this was posted) | i shared black earth farms lamb stew with moroccan spices, carrots, parsnips; cous cous with slivered almonds and golden raisins ($18) with R while R's sister and her friend shared the gunthrop farms duck leg confit :: crispy skinned with beluga lentils, braised cabbage, glazed baby carrots. ($18)


the lamb stew was hearty with the tender chunks of lamb, seasoned with the right balance of warm spices. the unexpected crunch of the almond slivers and sweetness from the raisins made this surprisingly delicious. the duck leg confit was as described - crispy with succulent, gamey dark meat with great flavors. even though they are no longer part of the menu, the excellent execution of these dishes probably reflects what hopleaf can do with their current offerings.



hopleaf was one of my co-workers' favorite hang outs and they've always recommended the mussels, cb&j sandwich and the reuben. definitely a place worth trying for their yummy interpretation of pub food with great selection of beers to boot.


Hopleaf on Urbanspoon

{return to list}



TWO | sola restaurant



when :: end of fall 2011
meal :: brunch



ambience :: not quite sure what i think of the place in terms of decor which was simple and with hues of warm colors such as orange and beige.. i thought the open bar counter was a bit out of place. i love at the fireplace at the front of the dining area which makes the place a lil cozier.

food :: asian fusion cuisine with hawaiian influence and new american fare.



entrees we ordered were short rib benedict :: prize-winning short ribs, eggs, cheddar biscuits, pesto, hollandaise sauce ($12) and breakfast wrap :: flour tortilla, beans, kalua pork, eggs, spinach and avocado mango ($9)


from what i remember which is vaguely was that i enjoyed the short ribs which was tender and the eggs were poached beautifully. always a great plus when the yolks oozes its richness on the tender meat and savory cheddar biscuits. this is the dish to get if you tried sola for brunch. xy was disappointed with his selection of breakfast wrap and thought it lacked seasoning. i gave him almost half of my entree (since i was full) which was what he wanted to order in the first place but passed on it since i decided on it first and he was late to brunch.

Sola on Urbanspoon

{return to list}


THREE | sable kitchen&bar



when :: summer 2011
meal :: sunday brunch



ambience :: loved the modern contemporary decor with deep green, black, and silver being the main hues - definitely my cup of tea. natural light streaming through the ceiling high windows - sucker for both the modern contemporary and natural lighting.


food :: new american cuisine.



savory entrees that kf and i selected were smoked bacon omelet with asparagus, chives, brie, home fries and choice of toast ($14) and wild mushroom-spinach eggs benedict with home fries ($14) respectively. i was terribly underwhelmed by the flavors. my eggs benedict was missing seasoning and the only good thing was the poached eggs were done correctly. kf's dish was better probably due to the bacon to provide the smoky and saltiness to the dish and he was kind enough to offer half his dish to trade with half of mine since he noticed how miserable i was with my dish.


i would definitely love to give sable kitchen and bar another try but not for brunch. i have read great things about their lunch/dinner menu and would love to see if it could redeem itself in terms of flavors.


Sable Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

{return to list}

there you have it, three reviews in one.

p.s. there might be a couple more compilation entries to make up for more-than-postponed-for-too-long entries . however, this is definitely not my style since i prefer to dedicate an entry each to a restaurant experience but i gotta do what i gotta do :p

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

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