I’ve blogged about movies, books, TV, random nonsense, feelings, my cat…why not food? The time feels right. I’m reviewing all 4 courses of my Restaurant Week experience and then counting down the days until the next one.
Dayton Restaurant Week happens in January and July every year, and it’s a beautiful thing. It is the only time of the year when I can afford a 3 or 4 course meal without eating ramen for the rest of the month.
The thing about me is I love food, and regret nothing about choosing Meadowlark for this Restaurant Week, already one of my favorite places to begin with. Meadowlark is a Dayton establishment, owned locally and operated on the basis of serving new twists on old classics with fresh produce and unexpected flavors. Even if it sounds like a strange combination on the menu, you know whatever you order will be amazing. Because it’s Meadowlark.
Please join me and my mother for dinner. Or, rather, look upon my food pics, ye mighty, and despair.
Course 1: Beet Borscht with Rye Croutons
I’ve got to be honest–say the word “borscht,” and I will probably react with indifference. Are beets really anyone’s favorite? And chilled soup is odd as a concept. However, this soup was amazing; lots of dill so the beet flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and a bit of sour cream to add some richness. I expected this course to be my least favorite, but it was a strong start to the menu.
Course 2: Corn Griddle Cakes
These were served with a poblano cream sauce, tomatoes, and bacon (which I opted out of). The cakes themselves were soft, moist, and just a little bit crunchy on the outside. What stole the show here was the sauce, which brought most of the flavor to this course, and just the tiniest bit of spice. Though I’m not a vegetarian, I’m really appreciative of Meadowlark’s efforts to offer vegetarian options and adjustments. My mom opted for the Deconstructed Shrimp Cocktail for this course, but I think this was the better appetizer.
Course 3: Za’atar Chicken Cooked Under a Brick
Truly a highlight of the menu–the couscous was great, veggies were good, and the chicken was some of the best I’ve ever had. So juicy and tender inside, with a crunchy exterior seasoned with…whatever za’atar is. I thought chicken cooked under a brick was just a hipster thing, but I stand corrected. I want to eat only this chicken for the rest of my life. My sole criticism is the yogurt sauce seemed purely decorative, and I couldn’t really taste it in the dish (OH GOD, have I been watching too much Chopped???).
My mom opted for Cream Cheese and Fresh Corn Enchiladas, which were also delicious. The accompanying zucchini and squash were amazing too, and I maintain it’s a crime that I don’t have two stomachs.
Course 4: Ina’s Chocolate Blobb with Whipped Dulce de Leche
I don’t really get what a chocolate blobb IS. It was like a very dark chocolate brownie combined with a cookie. Whatever it was, it was delicious. The whipped dulce de leche was the standout part of this course, though the flavor was very subtle. I would’ve preferred for the dulce de leche to come out a bit more because the strongest flavor was really the whipped cream (not that I’m complaining).
My mom opted for Dessert Bruschetta: pound cake, raspberry ice cream, almonds, and chocolate sauce. This one was slightly better as a dessert because of the raspberry ice cream; it had so much fruit flavor and struck the perfect balance between being bitter and sweet. Biggest criticism here was the pound cake seemed overcooked.
Overall, we were very happy with the number of choices available and the mix of flavors in each course. The courses didn’t necessarily go together thematically, but I enjoyed the different elements forming a sort of hodge podge that worked together beautifully. I tried flavor combinations new to me in every course, and I still salivate Homer Simpson-style thinking about that chicken. I would expect nothing less from Meadowlark.
God bless Restaurant Week. It’s probably for the best (in terms of my finances) that it’s only twice a year.
Can someone please pay me to be a food critic now?