Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dick & Jenny's

When The Da Vinci Code was published, I remember seeing it everywhere.  Every bookstore I went into had standees and posters designed to heavily promote the novel and increase it’s public appeal.  It worked.  Everyone I knew would ask if I had read it, people on the streets would have the novel in hand.  Finally, I gave into the hype.  Thankfully, a friend lent me a copy because I have never been more disappointed and I would have been upset if I spent upwards of $25 for it.  The writing was sup-par, the plot was weak and the only thing I really enjoyed were the historical and scientific references that were later revealed as inaccurate.   I should have researched by reading reviews and criticisms beforehand and saved a few hours of my life for more interesting endeavors.

To the detriment of my palate and what could have been an exquisite cheat, I re-learned that lesson last night when I dined at Dick & Jenny’s.  This was my 9th week and my 9th cheat and I am down 36 pounds.

I had been considering several other restaurants for my cheat this week and on a whim, I looked up the menu on Dick & Jenny’s website and found myself salivating on my keyboard. Both the appetizers and the entrees sounded absolutely splendid and after conferring with John, we decided it was a go.  Also, for several years I had heard how incredible this restaurant was, and I was ready to “give into the hype” yet again and give it a try.

We entered the quaint restaurant early last night to discover we were the only diners.  The lack of crowds worried me a little because I had read about the long waits on the “porch” due to a no reservation policy, but I chalked it up to the early hour and walked in anyhow.  There were a few people at the bar enjoying cocktails, but otherwise the dining room was empty.  The atmosphere was very pleasant and homey-feeling what with walls decorated with painted plates and our drinks served in mason jars.  There were many changes on the menu from what we had read on the website, but we still were able to select dishes that tempted our taste buds.

We began the meal with two appetizers.  John ordered the “Cuban Cigars” which were crepes stuffed with shredded pork and ham, Swiss cheese, house made sweet pickles, mirliton slaw and black bean coulis. The crepes were pretty thick and I didn’t taste any Swiss cheese in the “Cigars”.  Also, I was surprised that the house made pickles on the plate were dill and not sweet.  Although the meat was juicy and plentiful, the entire dish was rather bland.  For my appetizer, I chose the Fried Eggplant & Crab cake Napoleon with a roasted yellow pepper aioli and my fear of ordering restaurant crab cakes was renewed as there was hardly any crab and much of the cake was filled with chopped bell peppers and breadcrumbs.  The “Napoleon” sauce for which I had high hopes was dismally bland, especially compared with the Eggplant Napoleon appetizer I had a couple of weeks ago at Joey K’s.

Being the optimists that we are, John and I still looked forward to our entrees with high expectations. If you’ve read my blogs, you’ll know I’ve been a huge fan of pork lately, so I was compelled to order the Pork Tenderloin stuffed with goat cheese, pine nuts and basil served with haricots vert, seasoned root vegetables and a balsamic reduction.  John was interested in the Bronzed Atlantic Swordfish served with a blue crab and Parmesan risotto and Bercy sauce (a fish stock-based velouté with shallots, a reduction of white wine, fish stock and seasonings).

When my dish came out, I was a little disappointed by the portion size (this town has spoiled me with excess!) and the flavor of the goat cheese seemed to overpower the pork but the sauce was nice and I enjoyed the crunchy haricots vert.  Also, the stuffing for the pork seemed to lack the pine nuts and basil as was described on the menu.  John’s risotto was tasty (although I didn’t taste or see any crab), but the swordfish was rather dry and for the first time ever, John didn’t clean his plate and left more than half of it uneaten.

Still hungry, we decided to order a dessert.  We chose the Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sundae with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.  The simple sundae was tasty and for the first time we were able to devour most of our dessert.  While walking back to our car, our hearts were heavy with disappointment.  Due to the hype, we had such high expectations for our dinner at Dick & Jenny’s and it seemed to us our valuable cheat day had been ruined.

Today, while researching the restaurant for this blog, I discovered that Chef James Leeming, who formerly headed the kitchen at Dick & Jenny’s, had left his position there in January to be replaced by Timothy Swepston of Café Atchafalaya.   If only I had known!  It goes to show that a little research goes a long way, especially when cheating’s involved!

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