Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ruth’s Parkside Café

A winner in Northside 
that pays homage to, but exceeds, Mullane’s

Dexter Waits for Us to Arrive at Ruth's Parkside Café
     Many former patrons remember Mullane’s and Kona Bistro fondly.  Ruth’s Parkside Café combines the best of both of those former establishments.  It’s in the American Can Building in a part of Northside that’s Bohemian cool, rather
than dicey, and it has lots of parking.  There’s a relaxed 
Ruth's Home in the American Can Building
neighborhood feel about it already with a diverse clientele.  It’s a large factory space that’s been converted with zest to an industrial loft with some stunningly original artwork and a snazzy bar area that faces the front door.  

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Roasted Beet Caprese
     We were with Katherine, Ann, and Louis, who’d visited a couple of times before and have made their way through most of the menu.  We shared the Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with pecorino, red pepper spice, and Gorgonzola cream sauce.  Actually, that sauce was akin to gravy and it was delicious; the potatoes were perfectly cooked, though it’s a monochromatic dish.  The Roasted Beet Caprese was a beautiful version of this dish with magenta and golden beets, burratta (a creamier mozzarella), basil, sea salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  This combines sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and edamame flavors.  

Thai Mussels and Catfish Daily Special
     Katherine ordered the Thai Mussels and Catfish special with Red Curry sauce.  It was a good portion and the server was correct in saying that it was flavorful, rather than hot.
Spinach Sauté
Ann had the Spinach Sauté over rice (one of the entrées from Mullane's) and this version was more colorful than those of other local restaurants.
Grilled Salmon Filet

Louis chose the Grilled Salmon Filet, which he’s had before, and Neil tasted it and said the sauce was excellent.

Airline Chicken Breast
Neil followed the server’s recommendation of the Airline Chicken Breast (it’s a boneless breast with the wing attached) with roasted fingerling potatoes, braised kale, and cannelloni beans.  The meat was perfectly cooked, as was the Creole Catfish that I ate.  Sautéed and almost blackened in creole spices, sitting atop a firm, but still creamy, risotto, and braised kale, the fish was meaty and redolent of the bayou without having any off-putting aftertaste.  There were two sauces:  a dill beurre blanc and a red pepper cream sauce that added complexity.  It reminded me of a Redfish dish I had at Emeril’s in New Orleans, but without the fussiness and desperation to overwhelm.

Creole Catfish

     Desserts are a must.  Between us, we ordered the three fruit pies a la mode.  The crust was flaky and delicate on two of them.  They reminded me of my Mom’s and she makes a great crust.  The peach pie had a tasty crust, according to Neil, though both he and Ann were surprised that it was thicker than they’d expected in comparison to the raspberry version.  The Gooey Butter Cake was like a perfect Shoo Fly pie without the crust.  It was sweet, spongy, and gooey.  It reminded me of a British Treacle Cake, except it was cooked better.

     Service is attentive, friendly, and understated.  We sat and chatted for a while after we’d finished and didn’t feel as if we were pressed to leave.  This will turn into a must return for most patrons who visit.
Ruth's Parkside Café on Urbanspoon

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