Well, let me just say that it was an experience that I'm glad I had, but not one I plan on repeating.
First, I knew that the restaurant was in a bad part of town, but woo-wee...I actually bid farewell to my car on my way in. ;o)
We were greeted by the aforementioned "musty" smell on walking in the restaurant, but it didn't offend (maybe because I was prepared for it). We were immediately seated (hubby on a chair that looks as if it was ripped off from a VFW and I on a vinyl cushion bench more full of holes than baby swiss). The waiter was very nice, although so soft-spoken we had to strain to hear. We were given two very (and I mean VERY) well worn, crumpled, stained menus and a wine list. The wine we ordered was nice, if nothing special, and very reasonably priced. I wondered if the dirty wine glasses were a part of the atmosphere or merely over-looked in the darkness of the room.
For the first course, we ordered pate and sweet potato soup. The pate was, in a word, phenomonal. It was the most delicious pate I've ever tasted. The saltines and cut up Vlasic pickles didn't really do it justice, but even they couldn't tarnish the experience. Hubby's sweet potato soup...what can I say? It was cloyingly sweet...I hated it...I loved it...it was incredible...I was glad I got the pate. That about sums it up. Overall, appetizers got high marks.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the main courses. I got a filet with portobello mushroom and goat cheese, while he got lamb chops. I think both would have been fine if not covered with a gloppy, sweet tomato sauce. My filet was particularly puzzling...I've never had trouble cutting one before (even one cooked rare). This one was a challenge for my steak knife. Sides were some very good roasted potato chunks and it appeared the same veggies that are found in the soup.
Service was practically non-existent. After we finished our shot glasses of water, there were no refills. The ladies at the table next to us actually got up and retrieved the pitcher from the bar (no one on staff noticed). By the time we finished our entrees, we had had enough of our "experience". We decided to have dessert and coffee elsewhere, paid a very reasonable check (we don't often see dinner bills less than $100 with wine) and headed out into the rain.
Seeing the car still parked on the street was almost as good as creme brulee and french roast.
Thanks for all the input last week. It was very much appreciated!!
I'm headed to The Bicycle this weekend. Report to follow.