Sunday, November 07, 2010

Food as art

I grabbed a friend and ran off to Parlor Market last week to indulge. The restaurant's been open for about six weeks, and I'd heard great things about it.

We parked less than a block away, then made our way inside. It's a cozy, slightly dim space. The restaurant is located in an old downtown building, and it's been beautifully refurbished. Some of the walls look like old, historic brick, and there is gorgeous stained wood everywhere. An L-shaped bar and an open kitchen add to the ambiance.

We started off with cocktails and appetizers. I had the Front Porch cocktail, a mix of iced tea, lemonade, vodka, and mint. So delicious I had to get a second one. To start, we chose the mussels, which were cooked just until done and served in a spicy, tomato-based broth inspired by South Carolinian cuisine. Excellent portion size, and the crispy shoestring potatoes on top gave the dish nice texture. (We didn't leave a single mussel, in case you were wondering. No appetizers left behind!) Then, we had the soup special, a rich celeriac and truffle bisque, with lots of cream and butter. A few vinegary mushrooms awaited at the bottom of the bowl, and a crispy sage leaf garnished the top. I found it delightful to eat this dish with a bit of the tiny cornbread muffins that are served table side.

For the main event, we got the boar special - a braised cut of wild boar, served atop herbed speatzle and dressed with an amazing chimichuri sauce. The meat was very tender; you didn't even need a knife to cut it. And the chimichuri sauce made the dish - lots of complex flavors in there. We also chose the beef short ribs with homemade pasta. OMG. Tender pasta, creamy mushroom sauce, beef like butter, and maybe a few fried capers thrown in. We were in heaven.

After all that, it's no wonder we didn't go for dessert. Next time . . . ;-)

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