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  • Sean

    After my uneven experience at Stephen Pyles on Monday, yesterday evening was all Nobu.

    Honestly, I only booked Nobu thinking I could just finally see the place – wasn’t expecting anything over the top food-wise – I mean, my perception of the price-point was so high, I just couldn’t imagine what they would give me for $35.

    But, holy cow. First of all – the staff was incredibly friendly and welcoming. I have been to several RW participants where I felt rushed, and frankly, a little cheap. From the manager to the servers to the hosts, I was treated like royalty. Very refreshing. I was expecting stuffy.

    Then onto the food. Although they don’t offer a wine pairing, they do have RW wine specials. I had a very nice PG for $7. Light and tasty.

    The first course – soup and salad. The miso soup was really nice – – VERY hot – – and as you would expect, pretty salty. But, I LOVE salty, so really enjoyed.

    The simple salad was mind-blowing. A spicy-sugary light dressing on top of simple greens. I couldn’t get enough of it – and neither could my friends.

    For my choice of rolls, I opted for the shrimp tempura. Although a pretty basic roll, the shrimp was cooked perfectly – not overly battered – and were very plump. It was the best roll I’ve had in years. Basic? Yes – but done SO well.

    On the servers recommendation, most of us had the Alaskan Cod for the entree. It was a perfectly cooked fillet, not too flaky, not firm – just right – flanked by tender rice. The sweet glaze on the cod was like nothing I’ve ever had. Every bite was truly exciting. Top it off with some sort of small coated peach (they explained what it was, but I can’t remember) to cleanse the palette, and this was one of the best plates of fish I’ve had in many years.

    Note: I notice the exact same pairing (soup/salad, roll, entree, dessert) is on their normal menu for $45 anytime. I’ll be back for that.

    Finally, desserts. I ordered the chocolate mousse, which was delicious, but a bit too rich for me (had a lot of sugar that day). I traded with my friend who ordered the lemon bar – and was quite satisfied. Not terribly sweet, and just the right portion to finish off the meal.

    We left overjoyed – and relieved that we didn’t have another Stephen Pyles experience.

    Now that I know the Nobu pricepoint isn’t as scary as I once thought, I’ll be going back many times!

  • Sean – I’m a big fan of Nobu – I think it gets a bad rap around here. And you’re right, your exact dinner is available year-round for nearly the same price. Glad you found it!

  • We ate at Fearing’s last night, but I’ve got to be honest: three RW dinners in a row and I just wasn’t in the mood anymore. Our schedules forced us to pack the dinners in, so we might’ve expected it would take its toll. Every restaurant we’ve tried has offered the same trifecta as entree choice: short ribs, salmon, or chicken, and Fearing’s was the same. (To its credit, Abacus had those dishes plus another two, but still.) So because I was bored and didn’t want any of those entrees, I ordered off the RW menu, which I realize makes me a complete RW cheater, but there it is.

    Overall, Fearing’s was the strongest meal we had this week. Abacus was really solid, and Stephan Pyles was phenomenal save for the terrible entrees, but Fearing’s was just all-around great. But again, I cheated, so our dinner probably doesn’t count.

    First course, we had the RW caesar salad, which is really excellent, with the supplemental shrimp bbq tacos, a standard there. For entrees, we (okay, he) had the short rib, which he really loved, and I ordered the halibut with crab (a standard, non-RW entree) and looooved it. Paired with the Ramey chardonnay, my salad and halibut were just out of this world. The dessert was fine, but we’re not really dessert people anyway (although Stephan Pyles’ desserts were standouts).

    Service was really excellent, and they were really generous with wine as well.

    So that’s that. On Night #3, I cheated. But that halibut was worth it.

  • Craig

    We did Five Sixty last night, and it was.. okay. After reading the Observer’s food blog post yesterday raving about the Texas Quail General Tso’s, I gave it a try, and it was good, but not great. My wife had the salmon, which was again good but not great. We did the wine pairings, which were very good – decent to good wines that went very well with their respective courses. Service was very good, if the waiters were pissy about it being RW, they didn’t show it.

    One complaint was that, when we made the reservations, the hostess said they could only do 6:00 or 9:30. When we left at about 7:30, there were plenty of open tables, so I’m assuming that the plan is give RW patrons only the pretty early or pretty late time slots, and leave the prime dining hours for non-RW reservations only. Do other places do that, as well?

  • Marcus

    My one and only visit to Nobu was the complete and exact opposite of Sean. It’s good to hear that they’ve changed things at the very least for this report.

  • Marcus

    After reading Maggie’s Fearings report, I wonder if we should have a short rib quick fire challenge, post RW between Fearing, Pyle, and Rathbun.

    Nancy can you set that up?

  • Ooh… and after salivating over Michael Chiarello’s short ribs on the Top Chef Masters finale, I’m even more in the mood!

  • Marcus, no prob. Tonight okay with you? KIDDING

  • Kellyn

    Round two (electric boogaloo). Coming off a somewhat disappointing meal at Central 214 on Monday, my husband and I headed to Ft. Worth’s Lonesome Dove with high hopes.

    If you aren’t driving out to Lonesome Dove for Restaurant Week then you’re a fool and I pity you. Our meal was exceptional and I plan on returning again and again to Tim Love’s famous bistro.

    Reeling from nerve-racking traffic, we decided to go off the RW menu and get a regular appetizer. Our server hooked us up with a sampler platter of 3 items of our choice. We ran with the grilled shrimp and grits (average), fried artichokes (no breading made it very good – a squeeze of lemon made it better) and blue corn lobster hushpuppies (an out-of-the-park home run).

    Back on course with the prefix menu, we both had the Butter Lettuce Salad. The online menu failed to mention the bacon lardoons and goat cheese jalapenos that rimmed the plate. Salad was good – the goat cheese jalapenos and bacon were killer.

    Main course: I had the pork chop with cheese grits (online menu says chile) – perfectly cooked chop, mouth-watering grits. My husband had the roasted garlic stuffed beef tenderloin – HUGE portion and the western plaid hash was an exceptional combo with the velvety demi-glace.

    Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake. A thirst-inducing short cake – way too dry. I could have gone with the strawberries and whipped cream only and I would have been a happy girl. However, everything we had proceeding dessert more than made up for the marginal shortcake.

    Service was spectacular! Worth the drive … can’t wait to go again!

  • ELW

    Did Fearings Tues night, and it was very tasty, but I was disappointed by the lack of options, and my friend hated her salmon. My shortribs were great, though! My hubs upgraded to the surf and turf with the chicken fried lobster. A-MAZ-ING! But I guess Maggie’s right — It’s cheating but worth it! We had the $30/bottle RW cab, and it was excellent. The name, however, is escaping me. Service also exceptional.

    That was all blown out of the water last night by the tip of the top of my 3 years experience with RW thus far — Bijoux. There were 7 of us for an 8:30 reservation, which we so rudely did not show up for until 8:50 because getting our friends together is like herding cats. The selection was amazing, something like 4-5 options for each choice, except the CM 4th course (still generous with prawns and shortribs as options). I had pork belly and also tasted the vichyssoise (with white cheddar and lardons), the prawns, scallops with a sort of tomato and bacon thing backing them up, and my fave RW course ever — bleu cheese wrapped in puff pastry with pickles on the side! The service was never rushed, despite our late arrival and despite the fact we were the second to last table in the restaurant.

    York Street tonight — my first time. Can’t wait!

  • Grace Simmons

    My group of four vowed to try smaller, less famous places this year for Restaurant Week too. Last night we went to Canary Cafe, an interesting looking, smaller place we had been meaning to try for awhile. What a surprising treat! The scallop appetizer was delicious with a wonderful spicy sauce. The fresh pomegranates and feta was a first for me. What a wonderful combination. The lamb was cooked perfectly–charred on the outside, but still medium rare and the optional course of escargot in their pomodoro sauce was exceptional. We especially enjoyed the creative and great tasting menu items you don’t usually see. Very interesting and affordable wine selection too. The personal attention we received made the evening complete. We all agreed this one goes to the top of our list.

  • MDF

    Bolla last evening was good, but not great. The service was fantastic. (Thank you Daniel!) We were pleasantly surprised to see that the wine pairing option was only $10 more. The quality of the two wines served and the generosity of the service made that a well spent $10. The service was well timed and our waiter’s pleasant but unobtrusive nature made for a nice dining experience. We never felt rushed or as if there was any problem with us being “Restaurant Week diners”.
    Selections were limited to 2 for each course, but the food had a beautiful presentation. My friend commented on the need for salt (which wasn’t on the table) on almost each course, and I agreed that there was an overall blandness on all but my main course filet. The filet was served in a rich sauce so the small portion was all I would have wanted. The root vegetable terrine served as a side seemed somewhat out of season and echoed the overall “bland” theme. My most impressive course was the salad of heirloom cherry tomatoes and fennel with goat cheese. The portions were small but adequate, we had the optional 4th course (vegetable risotto) but without this I might have left hungry.
    I noticed that all 4 people at the table next to us ordered the chocolate cake for dessert. It seemed odd for no one to try the other, but after receiving my panna cotta it seemed they had all made the correct choice.
    There was a nice crowd there, I am happy to see that restaurant week is working for some restaurants in this hard economic time. We hope that Bolla can get the seasoning right and continue to have crowds during other times so that we can return.

  • SHM

    The wife and I did Five Sixty last night and had a wonderful experience. We had to wait a few extra minutes for our 8:00 reservation – (which our hostess was apologetic for – a little too apologetic for) While we waited, we sat near the bar, sipped our drinks and watched as the sun dipped below the horizon in a beautiful Texas sunset.

    The selection variety was good (I want to add that the sampling of fried green beans for a starter was magnificent). The wife started with the lobster spring roll while I had the korean shortrib with kimchi. The spring roll was good but the Shortrib was just outstanding. The dish was full of flavor and delicious.

    The wife and I added a Sushi roll (the Dragon roll? I think it was) in addition to our starters and it was very good – for sushi. The wife is the sushi expert in the family and she gave it high marks.

    Our entrees were the green thai curry dish for her and the pork loin for me. Both were very good (but at that point I was spoiled by the delicious Korean Shortribs and manna from heaven would have been just okay for me at that point).

    For dessert, we had the chocolate cake with cherry sauce for her and the apricot cream cheese turnover for me. The turnover gave the appetizer a run for it’s money as the highlight of the meal. The mix of apricot and cream cheese worked extremely well.

    The service was very good but it did start to taper off as the meal wore on and we begun to see our server less and less. We had run out of water and had informed our waiter but he seemed to forget about it for a while (which given the spicy nature of our entrees began to be an issue). If all the other elements of our meal were not so stellar, this wouldn’t have stood out as much as it did.

    Overall very happy with the experience and will definitely be recommending Five Sixty to our friends.

  • MHB

    Thursday night: Aurora – perfect. Food, ambiance & service. Refined elegance. Entire experience exquisite. First visit & would love to return for a special occasion. Felt & treated as if we were in a wonderful jewel box.

    Friday night: Abacus – spectacular. Great choices to appeal to everyone. Potstickers & tip steak & dessert combo fabulous. Excellent service by the always wonderful Tamara. Everything from front to back of house was running like a clock. Chef Rathburn on the floor making sure his diners were pleased.

    Saturday night: The French Room – one of my favorite restaurants anyway. Service impeccable by Francisco and his assistants. Wonderful choices on menu. Had to have their crab cake despite up charge but the hit if the night was the salted caramel ice cream with toppings. Everything perfect as always & how can you beat eating in that beautiful dining room?

    Tonight – Charlie Palmer

  • Cari

    I second your review of the French Room. We went last week and everything was spot on! The service was attentive even thought they were quite busy. The crab cake with aspic was my favorite and from now on it will be THE crab cake that all others are measured by.

    The other menu choices were pleasing too. Mom opted for the Filet and I had the roast chicken with a champagne sauce that was rich and wonderful like the murals are.

    My dear, sweet mama was swooning and me, I won some brownie points for being her dinner date.

    We also tried The Oceanaire last night. The service was very efficient but the RW menu choices weren’t that inspiring. Clam Chowder was the only appetizer offered with seafood in it – the other two items were salads. My crab cakes were large and Mom’s scallops with balsamic reduction and pesto were tasty, but I prefer the RW offerings that have a special occasion feel to them. Still it was a better than average dining experience.

  • Laura

    Four of us went to Nobu on Aug 20th Thursday for restaurant week and it was our first time at this location. Have to say that the food and service were outstanding.

    However, there was a manager looking lady running around with “close-to-naked” dress. Did they find her on Harry Hines? She had a hideous dress almost an eyesore.

    I’ve been to other Nobu locations and they all have class except this one.