Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: York Street Café

I recently went to dinner with Kate and her sister Kelley at York Street Café in Newport, Kentucky – a few blocks from the Levee. I’d never been there before, but Kate has always raved how much she likes it and wanted me to try it so we went one Tuesday evening.
We found out some great news upon arrival…on Tuesday and Wednesday you can get a bottle of their house wine for $1 with the purchase of two entrees! That’s like music to my ears!! However, Kate had a Groupon to use so we weren’t able to combine the two deals, but I would definitely go back just to take advantage of that!
The décor at York Street Café is very interesting and eclectic. There are walls covered with tacky signs, unique artifacts, shelves of old books, toys, even a collection of Pez dispensers. Your eyes don’t know where to look because there’s so much to take in.
We were greeted by a host, or at least we think he was a host. He seemed a little bit confused and like he didn’t belong there. But we got to our seats and were glad that he was just the host and not our server….wrong! Turns out, he was also our waiter! He wasn’t mean or rude or anything, but he didn’t crack a smile and he seemed very confused a lot of the time – like he didn’t know what he was doing. We actually overheard another table asking him if he really worked there, and he had to defend himself. It was one of the oddest service experiences I’ve had, but we made it into a joke and definitely didn’t let it spoil our girls-night-out dinner!   
For starters, the menu has a few smaller appetizers as well as what they call “conversation boards”. These are larger and more involved platters, such as an Italian sampler and a Mediterranean Board. We decided to start with one of the conversation boards – the Swiss fondue, which is only available during the week because it’s a somewhat complicated process and takes about 20 minutes (but well worth it!). The server first brings out a fondue pot, pours in the garlic, amaretto and chardonnay and ignites the sterno underneath it to heat it up. Once that was warm, he came back to the table and added the cheese. He instructed us to periodically stir the cheese and to wait 5-10 minutes to allow the cheese to properly melt. At that time, he also brought out a tray of grapes, apples, orange slices and assorted breads. This part was a little torturous because we were all starving but had to wait for the cheese to melt.

After about 4 minutes we all gave in and started eating! It was so delicious and we all loved how interactive and fun it was. I would highly recommend it! On a side note, Kelley has been to York Street before and would also highly recommend the Brie en Croute from the conversation board menu. She obsessed about it multiple times throughout dinner! J
For our entrees, Kate and I decided to share the Chicken Cherry Salad and the Mediterranean pasta with shrimp. Both were excellent choices! If you can’t tell by our other reviews, we’re both big fans of sharing. There are always so many things on restaurant menus that I want to try, so I love the idea of sharing two entrees so you get to try more than one thing!  
The salad came with dried cherries, mixed greens, Dijon vinaigrette, feta cheese and sunflower seeds. The Dijon dressing was definitely the star of the dish. It was excellent! Unfortunately, the chicken wasn’t that great. It was a little hard and rubbery and tasted like it was frozen and microwaved right before going on our salad. Minus the chicken, the rest of the salad was pretty good.

The Mediterranean pasta was a great choice! This was penne pasta topped with artichokes, feta, diced tomatoes and shrimp (choice of shrimp, chicken or salmon) and tossed in olive oil, garlic and spices (you could definitely taste oregano). I’m definitely glad we chose the shrimp as our protein since we learned from our salad that their chicken isn’t the greatest! The dish was a little heavy on the oil, but overall we both really enjoyed it and were satisfied with our choices.

Kelley chose the Fresh Catch. We saw someone at a table nearby eating this, and it looked sooo good so Kelley decided to order it. The filet of sole was encrusted with spinach and artichokes and topped with a Marsala beurre blanc sauce. It came with sides of rice and broccoli. Kate and I both tried Kelley’s fish, and it tasted just as good as it looked. The sauce was creamy and decadent, but maybe a little too rich. The sides were nothing special – just plain steamed (I think) broccoli and rice. Pretty bland…except when paired with the beurre blanc they were much, much better! J 

Overall, we enjoyed our experience at York Street Café. The service was a little weird, but the food and atmosphere made up for it and it gave us something to laugh about. We didn’t have to wait for a table, but if you did, there’s a cute little store called the Mercantile that’s connected to the restaurant and would be great to browse through while you wait! Enjoy!
Food: 3.5
Service: 2
Overall: 3

York St. Cafe on Urbanspoon

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