Sunday, February 19, 2012

Date Night!

I don't know when B and I last went to dinner on a Saturday night without E, but if I can't remember it, it's been a long time. Way too long. That's not to say I didn't enjoy Bensi nights, Applebees, Charlie Brown's, BUCU, Friday's, etc. But, it is nice not to have to bring a cooler bag with milk, pick crayons up off the floor and find things to entertain a 2-3 year old. Sydney has moved up in the ranks to evening babysitter so we were finally good to go.

I'd been dying to try Park West Tavern in Ridgewood since they opened. Our store had won Best Home Decor store in Bergen Health & Life a few years in a row and we'd attended Bergenfest at Florentine Gardens for their party and one of the years The Park Steakhouse in Park Ridge won for something (sorry, I can't remember what they won for). All the restaurants who won a category were giving out samples and I could've stayed at their table stuffing their mini steaks in my mouth all night. The Park is definitely on the expensive side and it's kind of far. Not that we don't like a good drive but it's just easier to stay more local and we do have a ton of restaurants nearby. We've never made it to Park Ridge but when I heard the same owners were taking over where Winberies went out, I was thrilled.

Saturday night was our chance. We made the reservation on Thursday. And good thing- because I heard they were booked and there was a waiting list when I was being seated. We made our reservation for 6:30p. They were turning people away then. At least I felt like I made a smart choice! It's been there for at least a few months and they're still at the point of turning people away so that was a good sign.

Everything looked very similar to Winberies. Bar is in the same place. It had the sunken room still. They added a fireplace on the bar tier, where we were seated. They added some brick-y things on the walls and there were around five flat screen televisions. Four of them were above the bar and then one was on another wall. I thought it was kind of interesting because the menu is very gourmet, but it had the televisions like a sports bar. It's fancier than a local bar, like The Office, but there were still kids there. But there was no kids menu that I saw so I don't know what you'd order a child. I'm not ordering E a filet mignon. A regular burger is $14 and I wouldn't waste that on a three year old.

We ordered appetizers. I got the simple mixed green salad. It's mixed greens, tomatoes & cucumbers. They said it's a "champagne vinaigrette". I was NOT impressed with the salad. The tomatoes were kind of mealy and the dressing was SO bitter. So bitter that I had a hard time eating it. I heard the guy next to me complaining so we asked the couple what they thought. The husband said he hated it. The waiter came over and we both told him we didn't like the dressing at all. The husband next to us was a bit more vocal but I definitely made it known, very nicely, that it wasn't good. I told the waiter I didn't like it but that it wasn't a big deal. He asked how everything was so I said I was just telling him. Now, I just didn't like his response. He said, "Hmm. I have that salad like every day and it's never been bad..." Ok asshole, does it matter if you had it and liked it? Two people are sitting here and saying it's awful, just say, "Oh, wow, I'm sorry. Do you want something different?". I would've said no but it would've been nice if he had asked instead of making it like we were lying.

B had the smoked duck & pumpkin dumplings. Now THESE were awesome. They had some balsamic on them but you could immediately taste the different flavors. They have goat cheese in them, which I'm not a fan of but I couldn't taste it in a bad way. They were just really delicious.

We got our main courses in a timely fashion. I ordered the crispy skin salmon with lobster risotto. I thought the whole thing was awesome. The lobster chunks were really generous and I just love risotto. The salmon was perfect and it was a good portion. It wasn't too big or too small. I didn't have enough to take home but definitely left some on my plate. B got the filet and he said it was terrific. He's had some questionable meat dishes lately so this was a pleasant surprise. He ordered their "In & Out" spinach as a side dish and was very happy with it.

Now, the best part....DESSERT. They don't have their dessert menu online so I had no idea what to expect. Then we got it after dinner and neither one of us were impressed with any of it! So disappointed. So we halfheartedly ordered two separate dishes. I ordered cinnamon & ricotta zepoles with strawberry dipping sauce and some kind of whipped (?) cream. It was called some other kind of cream- I don't remember what. B ordered some almond strudel with cinnamon ice cream.

WELL. We were SO wrong to be disappointed. I wish I never ordered that salad and just went with the dessert. I was so stuffed by the time I got to the dessert I couldn't eat every bit of whatever that cream was and I really wanted to stick my face in it. You know, if I'm going to honest. The zepoles came in a little brown bag and I can't even explain how totally amazing they were. I was eating them like I hadn't eaten in two years. They were sick. I gave one to B but then I ate EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. after that. And there were many. It was no tiny dish. I need to find out what that cream was and how to have it in my house. No, no I don't need that. But I want it...

B loved his choice too but the description on the menu definitely didn't do it justice either. It doesn't look like a typical strudel you might have in your mind. It was fancy looking and had wildberry spread on the bottom. I tasted a piece and it was fab. It was just enough for him because he doesn't like to leave dinner feeling stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. I don't mind feeling like that when it comes to dessert.

It definitely wasn't cheap. Or even moderate. I had two drinks and B had one and the bill came out to about $130 without tip. It wasn't overly expensive for the area or anything but it's not like we'll be going there once a week.

Overall I really liked it. I won't be ordering the salad again but there are so many things I wanted to try. They have steamed edamame which I almost ordered instead of the salad. There are almond chicken nuggets, short rib & risotto aroncini and some other stuff that sounded really interesting. Definitely worth trying out. Even though we had an early reservation, our table was ready right away. That's sometimes more important than anything else, especially when you're paying for a sitter!

There was a sign on the door that says they have free parking Thursday-Saturday (or Sunday?) nights in the lot on Walnut Street. But it was raining so B had dropped me off to park and he'd driven away before I could tell him about the lot. Good to know for next time.

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