Trouble With Toast

Date Night at Wisteria | October 6, 2008

A lot of people complain about Open Table, claiming that they’ve been treated poorly (as compared to call-in reservations), that their reservations have been cancelled without notice, and that points were not awarded when they should have been.  In my personal experience, Open Table is an invaluable tool, and a rewarding one–in fact, a $20 Open Table reward certificate is what brought us to Wisteria on Friday night.  And thank goodness!  We are so happy to have discovered such a gem within walking distance of our apartment.

Located on North Higland Avenue in the Inman Park neighborhood, Wisteria has a very warm and inviting decor–there’s some great exposed brick, and lots of cool artwork on the wall.  The space is big enough to feel hip and happening, but it’s not so big that it becomes deafeningly loud at full capacity.  There is a small bar where (I believe) you can order from the full menu.  My fiance ordered a gimlet at the bar, and he said it was very well-made, but it harkened us back to DC with its $12 pricetag.

We asked our lovely server to bring us a dry white wine in the $30-$40 range, and she did just that–I just wish I could remember what it was!  In any case, it played very well with the food and was reasonably priced.

For appetizers, I couldn’t resist the Kumamoto oysters flown in from the Pacific coast, and they were as briny and delicious as I expected.  They were served with some sort of cocktail/mignonette hybrid, but to be honest, I didn’t use a drop of it because the oysters were so tasty.  Fiance ordered the seared sea scallops over braised pork belly, radicchio, and a bourbon-molasses reduction.  Yum!  The scallops were just underdone, which is exactly how we like them, and the pork belly gave the dish some salty, slightly crispy contrast.

For entrees, fiance went with the pan-seared skate wing, which was served with lemon brown butter, stone-ground grits, and asparagus.  The fish was delicious and perfectly cooked, and the accompaniments suited the dish very well (though the asparagus were a little scrawny, and I was surprised to see them on the plate out of season).  I opted for the roasted half duck–and I probably shouldn’t have.  Don’t get me wrong, the flavors were spot-on (it was glazed with an orange ginger sauce and served with a Napa cabbage and julienne pepper saute), and it was prepared exactly as it was described.  However, I really prefer my duck cooked rare, and roasting forced the bird to be more like medium.  The good news was, the skin was perfectly crispy, and it was a delicious treat.

Desserts are more like tastes, and the idea is to mix and match and try a number of them.  We opted for three for $10, and we chose the carrot cake (which I don’t like, but which Jason thought was very good), the pecan pie (a good, solid rendition), and the balsamic strawberry and mascarpone tart (stellar–I could have eaten three more).  I like the concept of dessert “tapas,” so you can sample a bunch without feeling totally bloated.

Service was excellent–friendly and attentive, but not annoying and overbearing.  Our waitress really knew the menu, and she made excellent suggestions.  With a bottle of wine, two apps, two entrees, three dessert “tastes,” a glass of port, tax, our Open Table certificate, and tip (on the pre-discounted amount, of course), we walked out for less than $150.  For what we received, we both felt that Wisteria was a good value–and certainly a wonderful neighborhood destination.

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2 Comments »

  1. It hasn’t been a perfect relationship, but I, too, am an OpenTable fan.

    Comment by lacochran — October 6, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  2. I am, too. A lot of days, my only free time is when restaurants are at their busiest, so I prefer to make reservations online instead of calling and getting a frenzied hostess. Of course, I like being rewarded for eating out–and it’s often fun to just browse for spur-of-the-moment dining options.

    Comment by bettyjoan — October 7, 2008 @ 12:13 pm


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