“What’s your favorite restaurant?” Everyone asks and I can’t answer.
Previously, my pat answer was a particular spot where I could always count on a great meal. And since it closed last year, I’ve yet to settle on a new standard reply.
I can’t tell you my favorite restaurant, but I can tell you about my last great meal.
It was at a place that I hadn’t visited since February. My winter visit was tasty enough — hearty gumbo, swordfish with pork belly and black grouper with curry sauce. It was good, but it wasn’t a meal of greatness.
That meal came two weeks ago starting with a mixture of West and East Coast oysters ($2.75-3.50 ea.) and fun cocktails like the Mother of Pearl ($9), a gin-and-tonic based libation with celery bitters, sea salt and black pepper. From there we moved on to the charred Spanish octopus ($12), so simple with the perfect texture — my favorite creature from the sea.
But the truly fabulous came in the form of a duck-fat-poached swordfish ($26) topped with crunchy little bread crumbs and a slightly sweet chile relish to complement the grilled peach. A close second was the cornmeal-crusted redfish ($26) over kale with chunky bacon and a thin coating of pepper jelly.
Where was I? The Optimist.
It was a meal of greatness. But next time, I’d start my oysters and cocktails in the courtyard so that we can enjoy the music before heading
inside to the inviting space for the remainder of the meal.
I won’t ask your favorite restaurant. Instead, I’ll ask about your last great meal.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog