I think this may be the most anticipated restaurant opening in a while– even moreso than Local 127, simply because it’s just taken so darn long! They’d had some issues with a liquor license, but now they’re opening officially on Friday, February 19th. On Wednesday night, I was invited as a neighbor of the restaurant to their preview party. What fun!
It’s in a storefront on Vine Street, in a building that houses new condos, and the storefront is owned by Urban Sites. In talking with Greg and Kris from US, they pointed out a lot of the neat architectural features– particularly some shelving across from the bar that looks like it might’ve been a passageway at one time. Take all of that brick, and pair it with the bar and the restaurant looks like it’s been there forever. It’s a nice use of historic space.
We were greeted at the door with passed cocktails– oh, except they weren’t. In tall “shooter” style glasses, we were served a really nice corn and lobster soup, with a hint of coconut and curry. The curry was subtle– so subtle that Terry, who isn’t the world’s biggest curry cheerleader, was on the watch all evening for seconds.
We got our drinks– though there’s a definite focus on craft cocktails here, they weren’t pouring them just yet. There’s also a focus on craft beers, so we each got brandy snifter glasses of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. We liked it so much, we stuck with it for most of the evening. It’s good stuff- a little sweet, a little fruity- but I’ll let the Hoperatives comment more on their beer selection.
- A curried eggplant sandwich, with perfectly cooked eggplant (often difficult for restaurants to do, I’ve found) with labneh, which is a strained yogurt-like cheese. Rich and tangy– yum.
- “The Trailer Park”, a hotdog wrapped in bacon, topped with coleslaw and crumbled Grippo’s chips. Addictive.
- “The Chicago”, a twist on the traditional Chicago-style dog, was one of Terry’s favorites.
- “The Mexico City”, a hot dog with guacamole, what appeared to be Chihuaha cheese and a tortilla chip was my least favorite of the hot dog choices, but still really good.
- A salumi plate, with some hot mustard and very well-made pastrami and other salume
The owners, Daniel and Lana Wright, met at a Chicago restaurant and moved here; Lana is formerly of the Palace, and Daniel worked here with Jean-Robert de Cavel. According to the Business Courier, we can expect another restaurant to move in next door to the Senate, and lots more to come in the coming months. I have very high hopes for Senate, and expect a full-fledged review in about a month. I have a feeling I’ll go there a few times before I review it– since it’s so convenient. Plus, I’m pretty sure there’s a PBJ&F (Peanut butter, jelly and foie gras) sandwich with my name on it.