A few weeks ago, my friend Lauren and I went on another one of our dinner dates. Along with Kate, she's always been my "go-to" person for trying new restaurants. She loves it as much as I do!
On this particular Friday night, we decided to try Abigail Street, the new-ish restaurant that opened next to Senate in Over-the-Rhine's Gateway Quarter. It's owned by the same people as Senate but has a completely different concept. It's a tapas style, Mediterranean restaurant with wine on tap, which was a completely new concept for me. Lauren and I both ordered a glass of the Cabernet on tap. While it certainly tasted great, it was a little bit pricey for my restricted budget. I'm glad I tried it, but I'm still not sure it was worth the price.
Abigail Street is in a long and narrow space and is set up similar to Senate, but it has a cozier feel to it. It has a somewhat rustic yet modern vibe - complete opposite styles but that's the best way I can describe it. There are modern, funky light bulb-like light fixtures, yet there's exposed brick and beautiful hardwood. Dishes are served on various mis-matched antique china pieces, which I thought was a cool touch that added to the rustic feel.
After drooling over the menu for at least ten minutes, we finally decided on several dishes we wanted to try(with a little help from our server). The marinated olives were the first thing to come out. These were a great way to start out the meal. As you can see from the photo, there were large green olives, kalamata olives and another smaller olive similar to a kalamata. The olives were marinated in a really good, sweet olive oil, coriander, cumin, garlic and cilantro. My favorite part was the marcona almonds that were mixed in with the olives. They added the perfect bit of crunchy texture. I only wish the olives were served with some crusty bread to sop up the delicious marinade!
Next up was my absolute favorite dish - the "batata" (aka potatoes) . The picture does not do this one justice! They were absolutely AMAZING! I could have eaten these all day. With all the toppings on them, they look like they would be mushy...but they weren't. The potatoes were crispy and browned perfectly. They had a strong lemon flavor as well as coriander, lots of garlic and paprika. I would go back to Abigail Street just for these!
And the food just kept coming! Next up were the chorizo stuffed dates covered in tomato sauce. These were really good! I loved the combination of the spicy chorizo and sweet dates. Again, I wish I would have had some crusty bread to dip in the yummy sauce. :) After the batata, these were my second favorite!
There are a few different seafood dishes on the menu, and Lauren and I wanted to be sure to try at least one so we went with the cod. The cod was cooked perfectly, but the flavors of the dish weren't as developed as I had hoped they would be. It was served in a light tomato broth, topped with chick peas and served over a grain, which is escaping my memory at the moment but looks like maybe farro. The cod was easily the least memorable of the dishes we tried. I would try something else next time.
I was super excited to try the gnocchi, which was topped with pistachios, duck, peas and mushrooms. The pillowy gnocchi were made really well and not too dense. The crunchy pistachios were a great textural addition to the dish, and the mushrooms added a nice earthiness to the plate. While this was definitely better than the cod, for some reason, I expected it to be better. It was good but not great.
Lauren and I were both pretty full from all the food we had devoured but we managed to make room for dessert...funny how that always happens! "I'm so full, I can't eat another bite" somehow turns into "Well, maybe just something sweet for dessert." :) I think their most popular dessert is the baklava, but I am not a big fan of baklava in general so Lauren and I ordered the churros. What's not to like about fried dough covered in sugar and cinnamon, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and dunked in warm chocolate sauce??? Need I say more? Delish!
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Abigail Street. The cozy, eclectic atmosphere is buzzing with people sharing and enjoying great food and wine. Our server was attentive but not over-bearing, and he made good suggestions. I will definitely go back to Abigail Street, although when I'm in OTR I feel guilty not eating at A Tavola; it's still my favorite! :)