It sounds crazy, but it’s taken me a long time to give Senate another chance.
When OTR first got hot, or at least when I first got hip to it, it was all about Bakersfield, A Tavola, and Senate. And initially, of the three, I was most interested in Senate and their hot dogs. So of course I went and tried the Lohan, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I remember thinking the whole meal was blah and that it was not that big of a deal.
So because of that, Senate never really crossed my mind. That was until recently. My friend Jess always spoke so highly of their mussels, and when we made dinner plans while she was in town, I thought, maybe this is my chance. So I poked around the menu and found about five appetizers and two sandwiches that I wanted to try. We had our date and split everything down the middle.
While the poutine (fries, cheese curds, braised short rib, and gravy) was super tempting, we opted for the pork wontons with a sweet thai-esque dipping sauce. Now, I can’t seem to find it on the currently posted menu, but I can tell you the dish was zesty and very asian in flavor. I am hesitant to use the word overwhelming but I remember thinking there wasn’t anything subtle about it and that wasn’t a bad thing. It was a perfectly great little starter.
But the real reason we were there was for the mussels. As we all know, my mussel loyalty lies with Abigail Street, but I had been told many times (by Jess) that Senate’s were better. Now, Senate and Abigail Street are sister restaurants, so I knew they’d be close, but Jess was right, Senate’s are better. The broth, which is completely and utterly where it is at, was super flavorful with more kick to it. I let each mussel linger in it, dipped my cut of the rich buttery bread in it, and even dunked a few fries in it in the end. It was all that good. I am now a bonafide fan and will be back for those mussels.
For our main course, we opted to split a sandwich and both went in eyeing the lobster BLT. Unfortunately, this good looking sammie was underwhelming. It was ultimately a super light sandwich, but with the lightness came lackluster flavor. I barely remember what the lobster tasted like and I recall my first bite being overwhelmed by the oil and basil mayo. I think my first comment was this tastes like a garden, which typically wouldn’t be a bad thing, but when you’re planning for a bite of rich, sweet, and buttery shellfish, it is disappointing. Which is such a bummer.
All in all, Senate didn’t deserve my cold shoulder for so long. The good parts were really good and there are a number of other things I need to go back and try. So until next time, Senate.
Oh! And don’t forget about the Clothe Ohio giveaway here!