The Oakland

>> Sunday, August 28, 2011

This is just a quick sidebar, as I am sure we will mention this bar during the next review we do anywhere near Ferndale.
Master P and I stopped into the newest Ferndale drinking establishment last night just for one quick drink.
You may not have heard of The Oakland because I do not think they are advertising, on purpose!
The concept here is hidden speakeasy.  The door says something about art supplies.  But once you get inside, OMG this place is so freakin cool.  Its dark, swanky and crammed with antique-looking furniture and chandeliers.  The prohibition era cocktails are like nothing I've ever seen.  I mean, we have mentioned places with some similar type drinks, but you have GOT to see this.  The bartender as multiple bottles of fresh-squeezed juices and house-made concoctions.  There are mysterious dropper bottles of things that he meticulously counts out drops into the shaker.  The garnish is artfully flourished.  If you go, I recommend you sit at the bar so that you can witness the work that goes into your drink.  And the drinks were absolutely delicious.
Find it if you can!  I'll give you a hint, it is the location where Nami used to reside.   I will not be keeping this place a secret.  Tell them you heard about them here, they like to know how their word is spreading!


Atlas Global Bistro

Friday August 19th

Tonight we are all the usual players, Scarlet, Lulu, Thad, The Greek and Pippi.  We have a new guest star tonight, another Ms. L.  

Our Server tonight is Will.  I have to say that the service here was very good and everyone from the person answering the phone, to the host, bartender, everyone was very friendly.  Will was also extremely knowledgable about the menu and over-the-top knowledgable about the wine selections.  

The drink menu is very creative.  There are some pre-prohibition style cocktails.   There is a lot of cool stuff to try.  We recommend the mango fusion and the pomegranate fizz.  Unfortunately there seems to be a fruit fly infestation in the bar area as 3 of the poor suckers were found drowned in our drinks this evening.

For apps we try the trio of artisan cheese platter...which was great, hard to go wrong with good cheese with some bread.  We also try the teppanaki pork belly, which we found rather bland.

Teppanyaki pork belly

And the Lamb Bhuna, which we also found rather bland.  

Lamb Bhuna

Scarlet has the hearts-of-palm salad, which she says is bland, not much flavor going on there.  For her entree she orders the pan roasted duck (this is pheasant on the menu, but the role of pheasant this night is played by duck).  She liked the duck.  But we decide overall that the flavors of this menu are turning out to be so subtle, that we are feeling there is no "wow" factor or zing.  
pan roasted duck
Lulu has the asparagus ragout off the app menu as her entree, she also enjoys the tomato basil soup and the atlas salad.  Thad has the Bourride, which is poached corvina and prawn, and finds it "delightful".  Len also has the fattoush salad, see more below.
I have the Moroccan grilled quail.  This dish wasn't bad, but again, the flavors were so subtle.  There was also a lot of chickpeas and patty pan squash which could have used a little seasoning of some sort.

Moroccan grilled quail

My favorite item of the evening was my fattoush salad.  It had pistachio stuffed dates and feta, very delightful.  
Ms. L had the vegetable paella.  While she said is was just fine, I remember it also tasting somewhat bland and now that I'm looking at the menu, why is this priced at $25?
Seasonal Vegetable Paella
The Greek had the Osso Bucco.  He absolutely loved this dish.  He ate it with gusto and guarded it from others.  I would have to say that this is recommended for the meat eaters.
Osso Bucco

For desserts:  lavender vanilla creme brulee, we didn't taste any lavender.  Will seemed very surprised we couldn't taste it.  Again, flavors sooo subtle you wonder if they are there at all?
The chocolate mousse cake tasted store-bought.  The carrot cake was ok, the frosting was very good.  Our favorite dessert was the wild berry sorbet with champagne.

The total bill worked out to be about $80 per person with all the cocktails and wine included.  Our scores averaged a 4.  The food left something to be desired at times, but the lovely atmosphere, good drinks and impeccable service made up for it.  I would love to come here for pre-event drinks in the future, and maybe a cheese plate and fattoush salad!


South Bar

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, August 6th

Tonight we are Lulu, Thad, The Greek, a new guest, Mrs. B. 
Although we enjoyed our company, we did not so much enjoy South. 

First, lets mention the reservation negotiation.  Scarlet called and asked for a reservation at 7:30..was told flat out no way.  The closest to that was 6:15.  But when she said that wouldn't work, they said, about 6:45?  She asked about getting anything later than the original request for 7:30...was told no way, totally booked.  They finally settled on allowing us to have a 7:15 reservation.....thanks!  At 8:00 the place was still more than half empty!

Now, as for the drinks.  I paid $12 for a shot of blueberry vodka with some club soda, cucumber, a few blueberries and lime.  It was mostly ice.  In a short glass. This is the drink everyone was recommending?  Having been to many establishments in the past year, I normally do not balk at paying $12 for a drink, but this was ridiculous.  Same for the $12 shot of valentine vodka with cherry juice and club soda.

Our service was best described as meek and slow. 

Apps:  We have the tuna sashimi, which was ok.  The seaweed salad had good spice.  We liked the chips and salsa.  The guacomole is very bland. We tried the blue corn crab cake, and hated it.  We described the texture as gross. The Greek has the gazpacho, and deems it a salsa slurpee.  Too frozen. Not good.  I have the black bean soup, and like it.  It has a chunkier texture than most, but that isn't a bad thing in my book. 

Crab Cake

Mrs. B has the linguine with shrimp.  She says the sauce is spicy good and the artichokes are very good.  She said they are stingy with the shrimp.
Scarlet has the fish tacos, which she really liked.  The rice was dry and refried beans canned, but she recommends the tacos.  She said it was the best fish taco she has ever had.

Fish Tacos

The Greek had a giant burrito. He hated it.  It was bland and just plain nothing special.

A giant burrito

I had the jerk chicken, it was just ok, again...nothing too special.
Lulu has a predictable quesadilla and Thad had the grilled prawns. 
We come to the conclusion that the food here is on par with Applebee's.....shudder. 

For dessert:  We try the lime vanilla creme brulee.  It had no lime flavor and a grainy texture.  We try the banana crepes.  The banana was good, like bananas foster, but the crepes were folded on the side and hard to use.  The chocolate cake was predictable and the kaula fried ice cream was forgettable.

The score averages to a 2.  Usually I feel a little bad when a restaurant scores so low on our rating system, but this one I feel truly deserved the title of "the pit of mediocrity".

Total bill $277 plus tip.

After hitting a couple other bars in Birmingham we come back to check out the night club scene.  I'm trying to be generous and say something good about this entire place.  But I just cannot.   I'm not impressed with any of it.



>> Monday, August 1, 2011

July 16th

Today we are Scarlet, Mr. R, Master P and myself.  Mosaic is located in the heart of Detroit's Greektown.  We start with drinks at the bar.   The decor is really cool here, modern and sleek.  The drink menu has some creative and interesting cocktails.  I have the Bella, which is strawberry vodka, strawberry puree and just a touch of strawberry pucker. It is delicious.  Many of the drinks are made with fresh fruit.  Scarlet and I also enjoy the mango mojito.
Our waitress is Devon.  I am going to give her major props.  She was seriously one of the best waitresses we have had in my opinion.  She was knowledgable and described the food with such genuine enthusiasm.  We have the typical standby greektown appetizer of saganaki.  While the waiter didn't yell "opa", we enjoyed it very much.  I noted that I hadn't had saganaki in over ten years.
I have the highly recommended pistachio goat cheese salad...I loved it.  The warm goat cheese round is encrusted with  pistachio.  So lovely.

warm pistachio goat cheese salad
Master P has the lobster bisque which was pleasant.  Scarlet has the caprese salad because this one is unique with a fried green tomato.  The salad was typically good overall but the green tomato was actually bland.

Caprese salad
For entrees, I have the Piedmontese filet mignon, medium rare - of course.  It is cooked perfectly and just lovely.  I order a side of the stuffed tomato just to check it out.  It was stuffed with a very garlicky cous cous salad.  I had expected it to be a hot stuffed tomato and was rather disappointed with the raw tomato and overpowering raw garlic.

While my entree was very good, it paled in comparison to the rest.  Scarlet has the Kasu Chilean sea bass, sake lee marinated and served with a coconut-almond rice cake and asian veggies.  It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Incredible. Great sauce. Awesome rice.  We recommend this.

Sea Bass

But, for the best of the night, both Mr. R and Master P have the highly recommended JP's specialty lamb chops.  Devon recommends them, and we are so glad she did.  I have got to tell you, I have NEVER liked lamb and this dish has actually converted me.  These chops are mediterranean marinated and grilled with a smoky flavor...I am craving it now just thinking about it. If you love a good lamb, run to Mosaic NOW. You must try these!

Lamb Chops
Total bill $277 plus tip.  Our overall score is a 5!  I really wanted to give it an absolute perfection 6.  We love, love this place and I personally am coming back asap.