Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Maribelle's Tavern

I recently had a dinner date at Maribelle’s Tavern. I’ve been there a few times before, and thought it would be a great spot for a second date with Dan, the new guy I’ve been seeing. Maribelle’s is located in a quaint house in the East End on Riverside Drive. The ambience is warm and cozy and the menu is very diverse – which is great, except it makes it really hard to choose what to order!
Dan and I arrived about 7:30 on a Saturday evening, and the place was absolutely packed. We were told there would be a 45 minute wait to be seated. There were a lot of people already waiting at the bar, which was surrounded by several TV’s playing March Madness college basketball games. Lucky for us, there were two spots open at the bar, so we decided to just eat there and skip the wait.
After much deliberation over the menu, I decided on the caesar salad to start. I was debating on a few appetizers (I hear the lamb sliders with goat cheese are delicious!) but ultimately decided on the salad. It was pretty good, but nothing exceptional; however, the creamy parmesan dressing did stand out.

Dan ordered the small salmon salad, which came with tomato, red onion, egg, fried capers, and creamy parmesan dressing, which was the same dressing that came with my caesar salad. He really liked his salad. I didn’t try it, but it definitely looked more interesting and flavorful than my standard, somewhat-boring caesar salad. He mentioned the fried capers were a great addition.

For my entrée, I ordered the baked cheese sandwich. I thought this was going to be more like a grilled cheese or cheese panini, but it came out on a baguette that was slightly toasted. While it wasn’t exactly what I thought I was getting, it was excellent. I don’t think you can go wrong with goat and muenster cheese melted between two pieces of crusty bread. It was topped with tomato and arugula and a wonderful truffle mustard. All the flavors together were excellent! I could probably put that truffle mustard on everything, it was so good! My sandwich came with a choice of coleslaw, chips or napa slaw; however, I decided to spend the extra $2 to upgrade to one of the other side dishes on the menu. Surprisingly, the brussel sprouts were what jumped out at me. They were prepared perfectly – not too soggy, not too crunchy. They were cooked in balsamic vinegar and topped with capers, walnuts and fennel. Sooooo good! If you like brussel sprouts, I would highly recommend these! On a side note, Kate – who is a huge fan of Maribelle’s – loves their sweet potatoes with goat cheese and candied pecans, so I’d say those are another good side dish option. 

(Sorry for the photo quality - these were taken from a cell phone)
Dan chose the lamb entrée with cheesy jalapeno grits for his side. I didn’t try the lamb, but he seemed to really enjoy it and mentioned a few times how good it was. I did try the grits, and these were excellent! They were a really nice consistency and had a great flavor – just the right amount of spice from the jalapenos.

Maribelle’s is such a hidden gem, and I’d highly recommend trying it if you haven’t been there already. The prices range from $15-20 for entrees, $9-12 for sandwiches and $3-14 for appetizers. The food is fresh, simple and tasty, and the servers are friendly and attentive. My favorite part is their outdoor patio in the summer. We didn’t get to enjoy it this time, but I plan to go back when the weather warms up (hopefully any day now!).
Food:  4
Service: 3.5
Overall: 4

~ Kris

Maribelle's on Urbanspoon

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