Whoa ho ho! It feels good to dust off the WordPress cobwebs, sit down, crack the knuckles and neck, and pen the first OUT post in the Lord’s year 2021! And I am going to just pretend that 2020 and my like, four measly blog posts from that whole year never actually happened! Feels good!
I mean, wel-come-back! And I am saying that mostly to myself. Welcome back self! Welcome back to the enjoyable exercise that is word-bragging on the one thing you like most in this world, which is going out to eat. Gah, it feels so good!
And now know, despite what has or has not been making its way to the blog here recently, I have been makin’ dates and makin’ plates at as many of the new and old establishments around this pretty little city as I can. Dining out is both something I like to do as hobby, as well as love to support as a culture, so with that and as the world continues to spin in whatever wonky direction that it will, I will continue the pursuit.
So let us begin with Metropole. Here is what I love about Metropole: it feels like such a special staple in this city. It feels like a pillar of pride, a hotspot of hip, a place that you can go to that is both a treat and a trip, while also being easy and cool and as casual as you’d like it to be.
I feel like there are places you go because you know you really want to zhuzh it up and make it a fancy night. Or there are places you go because you are looking for some elevated fare that will be both recognizable, while also being surprising. Or there are places you go because you want to hit the town, but hit it in a way that doesn’t require a lot of work or fanfare on your part. And I feel like for any of those feelings or musing, Metropole is where you can go.
So when I had an opportunity to not only head in to experience what new executive chef Vanessa Miller has going on, but do so by treating a small double-date sized group of friends, I was all the more fired up.
Now, I have to lead by saying, we really went for it. The four of us all threw our properly sanitized hands in the circle and said split everything? And on that agreement, we said break. And as we sat down and realized we were basically interested in everything off the starters list, we sort of made the joke that it would probably be easier to just tell our server what we were not ordering, and that would have been funny enough had the joke not ultimately been on us and the fact that we ordered so many things to share that we were moved to a bigger table (and we’re talking ten-top (again, there were four of us)) so that we could have room. Honestly though, it was one of the single greatest things that has ever happened to me in a restaurant.
But anyway, we opened up with it all – the brussels, the barrata, and the burnt carrots of course. All three were beautiful. The brussels were served with farro, grapes, and purple greens. The barrata was atop a thick cut piece of Sixteen Bricks quinoa bread, and topped with winter greens, fennel, and citrus. The burnt carrots were the ones you know and love (and I hope you know and love them) with avocado, pickled onion, and feta.
We also got the tuna crudo and grilled shishito peppers. The crudo ended up being the crowd favorite with a surprising blend of herbed Greek yogurt, savory granola, sea salt and sunflower sprouts. And the peppers were straight up solid with citrus aioli, scallion, and sesame.
And then my two favorites of the night were the crispy deviled eggs, with garlic, chili, and sprouts, and the calamari special, with tomatoes, greens, and a killer smear of squid ink. Both of these hit that awesome fried-crunchy spot you know and love, while also being perfectly light and settling and worth the order.
In some regards, all the starters made for a laughable array. But in others, it was utterly perfect. Each order was so easily sharable, with enough to go round and really get a sense of what each entailed, while also not being too much for the party to feel gluttonous. Everything rolled out in the right leisurely pace, so the evening just bore on in the most enjoyable of ways.
Now we did order dinner, but we did it in the style of sharing all around of course, so we ordered the bourbon barrel soy brined chicken, with savory rice porridge and truffled huckleberries, the braised short rib, with smoked tomato, navy beans, red wine glaze, and local mustard greens, as well as the black hawk smash burger, with cheddar and the fixins – iceberg lettuce, sweet and sour onions, and dill aioli. The images of the short rib and burger did not quite turn out (we were on our like, third bottle of red at that point) but I assure you they were polished off and enjoyed. There was big talk happening regarding the burger, with some in the party suggesting it might be the best in the city. I did take a complete bite, but only a single one, so I am not going to throw my weight behind that argument, but can attest that it was awfully, awfully good.
I will say though, the chicken. The dang old chicken. I am one of those who honestly would never order just a chicken dish if on the menu. I am always going to be zeroing in on the fish and not really looking at anything else. I also don’t really care in general for a piece of chicken? Like, it’s fine as an added protein in something else, but rarely do I consider it the star. This one though? The star. For for sure, definitely order, I’ve been thinking about it since. It was just so solid and flavorful and 10/10 would recommend.
And if you didn’t think it were possible, we then – in fact – ordered dessert. And much like the appetizers, what we didn’t order would ultimately be the easier way to explain this, but we finished off with a slice of the citrus olive oil cake – whipped mascarpone, seed brittle, and winter citrus – and the two ladies at the table found this one to be particularly perfect. There was also though the Metropole candy bar, with peanut wafer, caramel, chocolate mousse, flourless chocolate cake, and peanut sauce. And if you don’t think that all sounds and/or was dynamite, you’d be dead wrong. Boom.
It’s not hard, but I am always going to be a fan and advocate of Metropole. I love their dinner. I love their brunch. I love their rooftop. I love 21c in general. I love their spa. I just love.it.all. and I look forward to getting myself down there for many more dates, double dates, and any other kind of date I can use as an excuse to park myself in all the good places of both 21c and Metropole.
Thank you so so much Metropole for having us down and treating us to one heck of a night – we think you’re the best!