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Special Treats at Johnny D's

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Special Treats at Johnny D's

galleygirl | Nov 13, 2003 01:36 PM

Stick to the specials at Johnny D's, and you'll be blown away. Really.

Ready to sacrifice a meal to the gods of pop, I really wasn't looking forward to anything beyond a piece of broiled salmon, or nachos, to make a bar food experience really down and dirty...And, looking at the menu provided nothing to dispel that, from the mundane(fried calamari) to the slightly weird. (Broccoli rabe and goat cheese quesadillas? What were they thinking??) To be perfectly honest, there were some fish dishes and some pastas,which sounded reasonable but all sounded like they had too many ingredients...)

The little green specials page was a different story...Pan roasted striped bass; you don't have to ask me twice...The nacho eaters at the next table, and the calamari-eaters at the table beyond them gasped when my plate came out, and I heard one of them say. 'That must be the sea bass..." They all looked very sad...

I was ecstatic over the whole (over a pound) striped bass, resting on a mound of garlicky, lumpy potatoes...The flesh was thick, sweet and juicy, one of the best cooked piscine displays I've seen in awhile, and this from one who regularly hits the whole-fish options on many ethnic menus. My only quibble was the skin wasn't crispy, but so delicate, that it didn't matter...It was topped with a compote of intense roasted tomatoes, pine nuts, something leafy and green (disappeared in the melange) grappa, whole melting cloves of roasted garlic, and, drumroll please, that trendy little item; fennel pollen...Juices dripped out over those potatoes, and each forkful blended the clear clean fish taste with the dense aromatic relish. I loved it...And this was $13.95!!!!!

My companion knew better than to argue with me when I "suggested" the braised lamb-shank, with a mound of spinach, garlic-intensive, and the same lumpy (in the best way!) spuds. After careful grilling (in the name of research), I elicited the following comment...."It had a thin layer of fat, which I guess I kinda liked, now that I think about it, and the meat fell right off the bones, but it came off in strings"...
I think this is inherant in the basic long-cooking of a modest(i.e., cheap) cut of meat? I myself had ample time to view said bones, because they were picked clean, without even the spectre of using fingers in place of untensils...In fact, his plate was seen to glisten with cleanliness as the waiter whisked it away (g)....

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