For 2013, I’m going to handle restaurant reviews a bit differently. Instead of a letter grade, I’ll be giving restaurants a “Description of Future Interest” such as: Won’t Go Back, No Need to Go Back, Must Go Back, This Restaurant has Entered my Sex Dreams. Also, because writing is not my strong suit*, the reviews will be shorter, but hopefully more frequent.
Max’s Wine Dive
Max’s Wine Dive calls itself a dive, but can a “dive” serve duck confit? I don’t like bars calling themselves a dive. If you think you’re a dive, you’re not a dive. And you can’t be a dive if your bar is in in sterile strip mall. You’re only a dive if you appeal to white trash alcoholics or hipsters who need a place to ironically sip Pearl. The wine list was ok at best**. And there was no sign of Max. So I have no idea how this place got its name.
The food was good, with the tuna and duck (not on the same dish) as highlights, but the atmosphere was atrocious. The place was way too well lit for either a dive or a wine bar. And some jackhole dumped enough quarters into the juke box to treat us to a seemingly endless stream of Elton John and Billy Joel. Neither of which should ever be played in a dive.
No Need to Go Back
I feel bad about this, because this is a place I was wanting to like – a fast food restaurant specializing in healthier choices such as grass fed burgers and pastured eggs, but Start did nothing for me. The grass fed burger I had was good but could have used a sear or some more seasoning. It was just kinda bland. And the tater tots were terrible. Even though they are baked, they tasted of rancid seed oil with virtually no crispiness.
“But Steve”, you ask “Isn’t Start very good compared to regular fast food?”
Maybe. If you’re comparing to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Jack…, yes. Unfortunately, Start doesn’t price itself at ordinary fast food prices. For what I paid at Start I could have had an even better grass fed burger and excellent sweet potato waffle fries at Goodfriend. And for that reason, Start, you’ve been Chopped.
No Need to Go Back
Jack’s Southern Comfort Food
If it’s a cold winter evening and maybe you’re not feeling so good about yourself and the only way to lift your spirits is comfort food, a bottomless glass of free sangria and a restaurant staff drunk off their collective gourds, then Jack’s Southern Comfort Food is for you. Although I would suggest you invite someone along to share in the hijinks.
First of all, the food is very good. There’s nothing fancy here. Just good comfort food. The Pigs in a Pashmina are decadent mash up of smoked sausage, cheese and puff pastry that will make you forget just about anything shitty that happened that day. Their upside-down pot pies (with the filling poured over a home-made biscuit instead of crust) will also bring a rib-sticking smile. And if you have room for dessert, the buttermilk pie is a must.
And if you’re interested in a dinner and a show, Jack’s is a great choice. Out waitress informed us up front of her four-shot/four beer afternoon break. And while no such proclamation was made by the chef, it was clear something was up when we came to inform us the pork belly would be delayed a few minutes as the restaurant filled with the smoke of burnt pork belly.
Oh, and until they get their liquor license, they give away free sangria, which is nice.
Will Definitely Go Back
* Probably not good for a blog writer.
** Yes, that means a dearth of Willamette Valley Pinots.