Have you ever held an undeserving prejudice for a restaurant, only to visit again and find out you have been holding out for all the wrong reasons? Well, that’s what happened to me at Repast. I went for a group dinner over two years ago, and was turned off by the fact that our group of 12 was split up into two tables, and also due to the size of our group we were only allowed to order from a selection of three entrees. By the time the food arrived, it was too late, my bias had been formed, and there was no way this $120 dinner for two was going to live up to the hype.
Whether you think my bias was right or wrong, sometimes it’s tough to forgive and forget, and restaurants are a perfect example of this. With so many choices, often times I mark them off the list and move on to the next spot. It’s not that I think one visit is all that is deserved before summarily judging, but I have limited resources and a strong desire to try new places.
Though I remind myself – a restaurant is a hundred violently frantic moving pieces, and it’s awful that just one or two kinks in the chain can throw off the experience. There are so many people/restaurants/chefs who know they are great, and they are working hard every day for the opportunity to show us. Letting myself get eaten up by one or two miscues is a slippery slope. Fault is going to be found when that’s what is sought. I need to be more open-minded, less likely to get bent out of shape about minor issues, and more likely to go and give places another chance.
Repast got their chance when I heard about their Monday-Thursday evening, 3 course, $15 special. There’s nothing like a great deal to bring me back! Indeed I ordered the special, which is the gumbo on Monday evenings, though I added a 4th dish to my menu, the escargot tart appetizer. I figured a $15 three course meal is nice, but a $25 four course dinner is a steal. Hello, my name is Jimmy, and I am addicted to food…
Katie, being the good veg she is, went with the carrot ginger soup and the macrobiotic plate. My pictures are worse than usual due to the dark setting, but I wanted to give some sort of visual impression from the meal.
To start with to drink I had the Red Rice Hitachino. This was my first red rice beer, and I absolutely loved it. It was a red color that turned light pink in the candle-light, the color giving me the impression that it would be the traditional red ale experience, but this beer was something incredibly different. Extremely clean, sweet, fruit-like notes (but not a fruit-flavored beer), with just enough bitterness to let you know you are drinking beer. I need more of this – does anyone know where you can find it in Atlanta?
The salad was a wedge with small onion crisps, blue cheese, short pieces of thick bacon, and a wonderfully acidic vinaigrette instead of the oft-used buttermilk/blue cheese creamy stuff that taunts my waistline. The salad was slightly different, large, crisp, and enjoyable.
I don’t have a picture of Katie’s soup, partly because she inhaled it so quickly. She loved it.
My second course was the Bergundian escargot. The deliciously crumbly shell, delicate filling, and earthy snails screamed for a pinot, but the brandl gruner had to suffice. The dish was very enjoyable regardless. It was the first time I had snails when they weren’t served in a small pool of butter, and I was able to enjoy their natural texture and flavor. Get this, or whatever variation of the tart they are offering when you visit.
Next up, the gumbo, which is also the poorest of my photos. The sauce wasn’t too light, nor overly seasoned, allowing the flavor of the filling items such as okra and crawfish to shine. The rice in the middle was a welcome addition, as were the croutons. This gumbo wasn’t overly complicated, but had a uniqueness and identity I enjoyed.
I also missed a photo opp for Katie’s macrobiotic plate. This was the type of thing I had never seen until hitting up Dynamic Dish, which is to say, a humbling vegetarian dish any seasoned eater should love. The peas were sweeter and plumper than those I recently dined on at Dynamic Dave’s, something which I had thought not possible a few weeks ago. The asparagus/mushroom/pea/quinoa/fried tempeh crouton mix was so fresh and naturally appealing that it was a big mistake Katie didn’t use her chopsticks because I was able to commandeer them and snag veggies from across the table. If you aren’t a chopsticks believer, I bet you hadn’t thought about the possibility of long-distance food sniping.
For dessert – ice cream with poached pears and balsamic glaze. The balsamic was thick and more bitter than what I’d expect to be used with ice cream, but when eaten with the pears it was just able to work for me. Delicious.
But the chocolate terrine stole the show. Chocolate, olive oil, and salt is fast becoming one of my favorite flavor combinations. If you haven’t tried it, or at least any combination of the two, you are missing out. This was a knockout of a dessert.
We waddled out after almost two hours, extremely stuffed, pleased with the price, and I was still fantasizing about the tart, macrobiotic plate, and the terrine. I’m glad Repast is back in my mix and can’t wait for the Thursday night burger.
Where have you gone in Atlanta that has earned you back? Why did you write them off in the first place? I’m interested to hear.