Foodie In Training

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ryan's Restaurant Review: York St. Cafe

Hi everyone, this is Ryan, I’m Erin’s fiancée and I’ll be guest bloging every now and then with some restaurant reviews and thoughts on food shows and recipes.

Last week, Erin and I went to the York Street Café in Newport, KY for dinner. We were celebrating Erin’s 25th B-day. I found the place through some while looking for a restaurant in Newport, but away from the Levee scene. We wanted to go to a movie, but I didn’t want to eat at the cliché places that the Levee has to offer.

York Street Café appeared to fit the bill. To call the atmosphere eclectic would be an understatement. The dining room walls were filled with bookshelves containing everything form 1940’s football helmets, to old random family portraits, to small collectables. Our waitress somehow fit right in with her obviously over-dyed hair, short skirt, high argyle socks, and long black boots.

We started with one of their “conversation boards,” basically an appetizer/salad combo to share. We decided on the Toastie Sampler, which included “toasted pitas” with a couple different toppings and a cherry salad. It was ok, but besides the layout, did not inspire much conversation. The pitas were just mini-pizzas and I enjoyed the one topped sun-dried tomato, eggplant, roasted red peppers and provolone. The artichoke, spinach topping on the other “pita” was ok, but I am bored with the cheesy creamy spinach artichoke dip that is on every menu in the discovered world. The highlight of the dish, and maybe the entire meal was the cherry salad. A nice mix of fresh greens was complemented with dried cherries, toasted sunflower seeds and some feta. The dressing was a dijon vinaigrette that beautifully combined the kick of vinegar and horseradish with a smooth and mild mustard.

For our entrees, I chose the Pork Tenderloin, while, Erin smartly went with the York St. Fresh Catch, Halibut. The Tenderloin was just ok. Instead of being “seared to perfection” as portrayed on the menu, it was overcooked, and more importantly tasted as if it had sat under a hot lamp since the afternoon. The Asian sauce was pretty good, but there isn’t enough sauce in the world to make up for a dried out piece of meat. The “garlic” mashed potatoes had no garlic, or garlic flavor to speak of, and they were seemed to be sitting for some time before being served. Finally the season vegetable was a lone broccoli sprig, overcooked and mushy with no seasoning.

Erin’s dish had its flaws, but was overall a success. The fish was cooked nicely and served with some nice basmati rice, and the same sad broccoli sprig. Unfortunately, the fish was smothered in a spinach artichoke sauce that was probably the same that they used for the appetizer. It overpowered the fish and made what should be a nice light dish heavy and creamy. Erin enjoyed it, but it could have been so much better.

Overall, I thought the meal was disappointing and the atmosphere can only go so far to save average food when you are paying $20 a plate. It was fun though, and I’d probably recommend York St. Cafe for a “conversation board” and a bottle of wine with a group of friends, though probably not for dinner. Overall grade: C

I did take a couple things from this meal: Spinach/Artichoke is overdone and I am over it and sunflower seeds are a tasty, crunchy addition to a salad. Cheers, Ryan

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