Our most recent destination on the Foodie express brought us to the newly opened Urban Kitchen & Bar, located on Shrewsbury Street, where Coral Seafood used to occupy. Not sure what to expect, I entered with an open mind and empty stomach. Unfortunately, only one of those items would be filled at the end of the night…but more about that later. The décor had been updated slightly to give the dining room a more sophisticated feel, while the bar back was draped in red velvet curtain while black and white classic movies played on the projection screen above the neatly placed liquor bottles.
Looking at the menu, I could tell that I was going to have a difficult time deciding what to eat, as the menu consisted of various dishes that I have not seen offered at many other restaurants. I finally ended up ordering off the Restaurant Week menu ($23.50), which included an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert…hoping to get the most bang for my buck. My appetizer of choice was the country duck pate with brandied cherries and pistachios. The plate was presented beautifully with various colors and flavors of whole grain mustard, pickled baby onion and cauliflower, and a fruit spread. However, I found that the pate was not spreadable on the crustini that was provided. The pate more resembled a house made sausage than something you could smear. And while it was delicious in flavor, and I could understand how the chef was trying to balance the flavors of savory and rich, with acidic and crunch, I was having a difficult time figuring out how to eat. The best approach would be to just get a little bit of everything in one bite.
As far as entrees were concerned, there was no doubt in my mind what I would get after I studied the menu. Whenever there is homemade pasta available, I am a sucker! So when I saw that the Urban offered a fresh black pepper tagliatelle, with cauliflower alfredo, chives and garlic breadcrumbs, my mind had been decided. My main entrée came out in a deep white bowl with a wide lip, as to accentuate the pasta dish it was holding. The pasta was very flavorful, and the sauce was rich and creamy. You would have a hard time guessing that it was made from cauliflower rather than heavy cream. The garlic bread crumbs added a nice bite and wonderful texture to the silky pasta. My only complaint is that I wish I received a bigger portion. While moderation is a good rule of thumb to follow when eating rich food, I felt like even this portion was on the tiny side.
Still hungry, I anxiously awaited my dessert choice of chocolate panna cotta with mascarpone and chocolate crumble. The panna cotta was unctuous and decadent, while still being light. It was a cross between a custard and chocolate pudding and it was the best part of the meal. The chocolate crumble almost achieved a coffee flavor that added a nice crunch to the smooth dessert. The mascarpone acted almost like a whipped cream, but denser and with more flavor. As I sat and engaged in conversation with my fellow Foodies, I had time to reflect upon my dinner and experience for the night. As Foodies, we always eat first with our eyes. I have to say that the presentations were exquisite and really accentuated different aspects of the meal with different colors and texture, but most importantly, with purpose. There was a real delicate balance of flavor that was achieved in all of the dishes that I tasted tonight. The only downside to tonight was the portion size. For the money that you are going to pay for a dinner of this detail, you would hope that you would atleast leave the restaurant satisfied and not looking for the nearest fast food joint. However, if you’re looking for an exclusive date night dinner that doesn’t involved the 111 Chophouse or Via, this is definitely an establishment that you should try!