Dining Almost Solo

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris August 06, 2022 11:00 in Dining Diary

Restaurant Week also brought us back to the Rib Room, a good restaurant that has been overlooked for a long time. It’s especially too bad because the Rib Room may be enjoying its very best days now, under the management and creativity of Chef Tom Wolfe.

He took it over nearly ten years ago, and the changes he made instantly improved everything across the board. But still, it doesn’t command the attention of other restaurants in town. Even we wanted to go to GW Fins but wound up there. It was pretty empty when we arrived but people started trickling in throughout the evening.

I overheard the conversation at an adjacent table as they marveled at the food. They were from Alabama at a convention which seemed to be the source of everyone in the dining room but us. And everyone in the dining room was having a great meal, thoroughly enjoying the experience.

We were too. The menu was limited as these “deals” go, but this one was interesting enough for us to find something satisfying to eat. It was the Rib Room so it follows that beef should have been eaten, but the roast chicken dish was calling to me. Tom would get fish as he always does.

The first course was the better of the two. Tom always gets the oyster dish that Tom Wolfe created. It is crispy fried oysters in a cast iron ramekin over creamed spinach with feta cheese crumbles and roasted red pepper. This seems like an odd combination but it comes together deliciously.

Even though that is a go-to for us, and we are never disappointed, my appetizer from the special Restaurant Week menu outshined it. The beet salad was a surprise when it came to the table. It was a work of art as well as a salad. Paper thin slices of red beets were arranged like a flower on a plate, with a pile of crabmeat as a center. This was drizzled with an oily vinaigrette and the flavors and textures contracted into something sublime. The dish was just fantastic.

As I mentioned, the chicken entree was appealing, and the excitement from the adjacent table made me want it, but I stuck with the plan to eat beef at the Rib Room. A Southwest preparation of a rib eye was offered, and that is what I got. I decided on this visit that a rib eye, (other than the Cowboy because the long bone is so fun) is not a cut of beef I crave.

The glaze on the steak had whole peppercorns embedded in it, and it was quite pretty, and very spicy, with an adobo sauce as accompaniment. 

This was fine, but there are much better things in this house, and I wished I had them. Tom was well satisfied with his fish Amandine over kale, with roasted potatoes mingled about.

We got the lone dessert offered on the Restaurant Week menu, which was the Rib Room signature chocolate mousse, served in a dark chocolate cup with a couple of peanuts and raspberries as garnish. It was nicely presented with a circle of drizzled chocolate as sort of a frame. The chocolate mousse was as decadent as its reputation, offset perfectly by the tart raspberries. The peanuts were an unexpected but not unwelcome addition. I got this all to myself, since Tom was full and not a chocolate fan.

Service at the Rib Room is very attentive and friendly. I kept them busy bringing us more of the delicious French bread they serve, 

It’s a shame that an institution like this, which is still very good, gets as little attention from locals as it does. And I’m glad that they participate in these kinds of dining deals. It gives them a little more of the local business they deserve.