Well, roll me in feathers and call me Icarus. It seems the Gods have punished me for my hubris.
I really, really, really wanted to have a great meal last night. I wanted to be able to write a glowing review, and feel all smug and self-satisfied with my bad, left-coast self.
Instead, I got the old cosmic pimp slap for dinner.
Dallas, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been such a schmuck.
I guess I deserved dinner at TWO.
I knew something was amiss when we walked in and they were playing Steely Dan. Not that there’s anything wrong with Steely Dan—it just felt like an odd choice for the space. A little too KFOG for the hip design of the interior. And it is hip, by the way. Nice color palette, gorgeous walls, lovely bar. Still, my partner and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.
Neither of us were inspired by the menu. Ordering felt like a bit of a chore. I started with the Baked Goat Cheese, Roasted Beet and Watercress Salad for lack of a better option, and when my partner’s Chopped Vegetable Salad arrived, I was glad I went with the beets. Her salad was a big, bland mess. And mine? It was fine. Not bad, not good. Just fine.
The real pisser for me, though, was the entrée situation. Having just arrived home from Carbville, USA, I didn’t want to order the sole veggie option—a Mushroom Agnolotti. Instead, I asked our waitress if she could have the chef make a plate of the vegetable sides. Now, these are items that are already on the menu, mind you. I wasn’t asking for anything crazy here.
My question seemed to throw the poor woman for a loop. She responded, “Uhhhh, I could have him make a Pasta Primavera for you instead.”
Can I just take a moment here to vent? Restaurateurs of the world, listen up. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, think outside the Pasta Primavera box. Do you really think that’s all I ever want to eat? Do you really think vegetarians survive on Pasta Primavera alone? Are my dietary proclivities really that bizarre and undeserving of attention that the only thing you can think of in answer is Pasta-Freaking-Primavera?
Okay. Rant over. Sort of.
I replied, “No, actually, I’d just like to have a plate of the sides. Whatever he thinks will work.”
She was flummoxed. “Can you tell me which ones you’d like?”
I realized at this point that I was fighting a losing battle. I chose the Caramelized Broccoli, the Creamy Polenta with Parmesan and the Grilled Radicchio, sans Pancetta. My omnivorous partner ordered the Pork Schnitzel.
A little while later, our plates arrived. All of them. I got each of my sides separately. The waitress apologized. “I asked him to put it all on one plate,” she said, “but I guess he got confused.”
Um, so, have him fix it before you bring it out to me. Just a suggestion.
I sat there looking like an idiot with a bunch of tiny plates in front of me, shifting them around when I wanted to take a bite from one or the other. Meanwhile, my partner tried to cut into her Schnitzel. Tried being the operative word. The cutlet was so tough, it gave her a workout. And she said the flavor wasn’t much better. Secretly, I was glad it wasn’t just me having a crappy time.
My Broccoli was good for the first few bites, but overwhelming after a few more. The Radicchio was just kind of gross, to be honest. And the Polenta, all by itself in its tiny little copper pot, was obviously lonely for something on top of it. I was hungry, but I didn’t finish any of it.
When the dessert menu came, we couldn’t be tempted. Even by the donut holes, and you know how donuts are like sugar-coated Kryptonite to me. I simply didn’t want to give them any more of my money.
Maybe it’s another classic case of overblown expectations. If I’d been served the same meal at someplace like Home, I might have been less disappointed. But then again, they’ve always taken good care of me at Home. And when you walk in, you know what you’re getting. There’s no pretense.
TWO, on the other hand, was nothing but pretense. All flash, no finish.