A group of us (Limster, Derek, and myself) gathered for a small but very pleasant dinner at Home tonight. Overall, we enjoyed the menu and I think would recommend it with a few reservations.
That atmosphere is good--white walls, linoleum tabletops, and lots of candles glowing all over the place, and there is a great outdoor patio with roaring fire to keep it warm. However, the noise level was rather annoying, and the place was packed, ensuring the waiters were so busy they seemed a little harried. We arrived at 8:30 and there were still people coming in when we left around 10:30, so if you want to eat without a wait, make sure to get a reservation.
The menu does indeed feature "comfort food" type dishes, with vegetables and sides served a la carte (including mac and cheese, spinach, broccoli in cheese sauce, and a couple others). There is a nightly special and then several different categories (pastas and sandwiches, seafood, and meat), each of which have 3-5 choices in them. Prices are low--nothing is over $12--but remember, sides nead to be ordered separate and are about $4 each.
Limster started with a spinach salad in a buttermilk-bacon dressing that we all agreed was a highlight of the meal. The spinach was crunchy and hearty, but well cleaned, and the dressing was very tasty and had a strong garlic kick at the end. Derek's potato-leak soup was good if a bit on the creamy side and also rather underspiced. One thing we would have liked was some bread, for both our appetizers and entrees, and despite the fact that we asked for it (during the entrees), it never arrived. Again--harried service had a few slips.
We then had a rather long wait for our entrees, a rock shrimp risotto for Limster, pork loin with a squash gratin and polenta for Derek, and mussels in a romesco sauce. The risotto was good, though not great..as I recall from my bite, a bit sweet, though good texture. The pork (and its side dishes) was also very sweet, though they did remember to bring it rare, as Derek had requested. The sides could have used a bit more spice as well--they were a bit on the bland side. The mussels were good--I think we thought them the best entree, but they were not especially remarkable. The romescu sauce was punched up with a bit of chile or something spicy, which was good, and oddly, there was a bit of barley swimming at the bottom of the bowl. However, I really would have liked that bread to soak up the rest of the sauce!
Desserts were definitely the highlight of the meal. A honey mousse (Limster correct me if I'm wrong!) was light and delicate, and the gingersnap that accompanied it was perfect! Blood orange and candied orange peel also complimented it nicely. Derek's pineapple upside down cake was made with fresh pineapple and was sweet and fruity without being cloying, and came with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream that melted appealingly on the top. And my vanilla creme brulee was smooth and creamy, just right--and came with two shortbread cookies--not particularly sweet, which went well with the sweetness of the bruleed sugar. Each dessert was $5.
Our bill came out to about $30/person (with no wine), which is certainly reasonable for this city. Limster pointed out it would be a great place to come to for drinks and dessert, and I agree--the bar scene and patio are hopping, and those were definitely the highlights of the meal. Overall, a great first Chowhound event for me, and a restaurant worth visiting if you are looking for a reasonably priced, reasonable tasting meal--and you are up for some strained vocal chords afterwards.
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