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Restaurants & Bars 1

Joan's in the Park

Brad Ballinger | Nov 22, 2011 11:52 AM

I started a previous thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796003 that was titled "Grampa Tony's Under New Management." Joan's probably deserves its own thread title. But there are some comments about Joan's in the earlier thread.

My wife and I ate dinner at Joan's on a Saturday night. Earlier in the day, I had looked on Open Tabe, and there were plenty of openings, so we just figured we'd walk up at our convenience. This was the Saturday it snowed, and we live only four blocks away. I called Joan's to inquire about BYO (they welcome personal wines for a $20 corkage fee). Joan suggested making a reservation rather then gamble with walking in. So we did. Good thing. The place was plenty busy.

Decor. Now that renovation appears to be complete, two major changes from Grampa Tony's layout. A bar with seating for 6-8 has been added along the south wall, and the counter and frozen treats case have been removed. Sheer fabric separates the dining area from the kitchen. Warm colors of deep mustard. Artwork and mirrors placed at odd heights. White tablecoths. Flat spaces covered with wine cases and wine bottles (Joan's does bill itself as a wine bar as well as a restaurant). One wooden wine case is from Nickel and Nickel (somewhat higher end California), but no N & N wines on the list.

Food. The menu is divided into startes, salads, flatbread, entrees, and desserts. We didn't order any startes. I was tempted to order the carpaccio, but I was having the filet for my entree, and it would've been tenderloin X 2. So I "started" with the wild mushroom flatbread, and my wife had the baby beet blue cheese salad. Both portions were larger than I was expecting. The salad had plenty of everything. The flat bread had a very cool presentation -- long oval cut into six pieces on the angle, sort ov like /VV. Execution and flavors were solid. My filet was cooked perfectly medium rare and served with white asparagus dressed with tomato hollandaise (appeared the tomato contribution was diced tomatoes on top of a hollandaise). My wife had the salmon with a miso glaze, green beans, and sesame lemon vinaigrette. It was walso perfectly cooked, and the glaze was a nice flavor. We were full from our starters, and did not order dessert, although we probably could have split the $3 red velvet cupcake.

Drink. Approzimately 6 wines of each colr by the glass, that many more whites by the bottle (all $25 or less), and three times as many more reds by the bottle (over 2/3 under $50). Most offerings are domestic with a few forays into the rest of the world. Two personal-sized sparklers, two port options, and nine beers by the bottle. As I mentioned above, I brought my own.

Service. Incredibly attentive. Our main server checked in with us frequently, and was also very knowledgeable about the menu. Another server checked in with us as well. Joan checked in with us twice, and the chef made an appearance as we were leaving. Very friendly.

One other note: Each table is given a mini round loaf of freshly baked bread. This particulary night, it was topped with caramelized diced onion.

Again, the place was plenty busy on a snowy Saturday. I don't know what mid-week is like. I see us making several walks to Joan's. And when the weather turns warm again, I think they are opening up patio seating.

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