Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Restaurant Review Time!

After making a brief stop at the card shop to get birthday cards because I haven’t had any time to get them earlier, time that would have been well spent by taking just a few more minutes to closely examine the one card I purchased that I thought was a birthday card but was, in fact, an anniversary card, I strolled on down Birmingham Green to our appointed date place.

It certainly has changed--the old black wainscoted deli/meat-and-three has given way to a restrained, fresh-looking restaurant with tasteful décor, soothing cream-colored walls, and starched white tablecloths. The neoclassical detailing and richly upholstered chairs contrasts nicely with the dark old tiled floor from the building’s original early 20th century construction date, and gives the place a New Orleansish feel, and I hope they keep it so spotless. New restaurants are always so nice, you know, with pretty plates and shiny silverware and clean walls and doorways unpeed upon by winos.

The place was busy, but not packed, and I asked the nice lady at the impossible-to-open front door for a table for two. There were about three or so open along the wall. She got a couple of menus and led me to a table for four. I thought maybe the others had been reserved, but no one was ever seated there the entire time. Whatever.

Anyway, I sat down to wait on Reba and examined the menu, which is similar to the one in the article I linked to earlier. Reba finally got there and agreed to sit with me, believe it or not, and opened her cards before looking at her menu. She was greatly amused by my choice of cards, especially the anniversary card.

As for lunch, after much hemming and hawing, we both decided to have the pecan-encrusted Mississippi catfish, which came served with black-eyed peas, grilled vegetables and rice with a molasses butter sauce. I realize that had I been an actual fancy restaurant reviewer like legendary Birmingham gadabout Dennis Washburn (may he rest in peace), I would have ordered something different from Reba to let you know what it tasted like, too, but the other stuff seemed either too heavy or too spare to make a good lunch.

The dishes arrived after only about ten minutes or so, artfully arranged with a sprig of green stuff that I think was probably dill or fennel or dogbane or something, on a small raft of whole thin green beans, vegetables, peas and rice. The fish was nice and clean and the portion was adequately sized, but the molasses sauce was just a little too molassesy. I realize you all think I’m a big rube, which I suppose I am, but the current temptation for trendy chefs to throw in these unusual “rustic” flavors with “rustic” foods is just a bit twee, and it grates on my nerves.

Unsophisticated or not, I know that simple is the hardest thing in the world to pull off well. And molasses for the sake of novelty don’t cut it. It wasn’t bad at all--it was entirely edible--but the wrong gesture for the wrong food.

Aside from that personal beef, the service was prompt and pleasant, and the glasses and forks didn’t have goop on them. It’s a good place if you want to show someone you’re real classy up during the day, although not the place to go eat lunch everyday.

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