Monday, October 13, 2008

Ocean City Dining

Mr Minx and I just got back from a long weekend in OC.  Remind me next year that the second week in October has become a bad week for a visit to the beach. It's Cruisers' weekend and the place is full of muscle cars with ridiculously loud "mufflers," booming and popping and revving at all hours of the day or night. Also, there was some kind of kiddie soccer tournament going on so there were jillions of pre-teens running around.  Running around and slamming doors seems to be the favorite pasttimes of kids when they are at a resort.  And why is it that their parents never seem to say a word to them about proper comportment? the food. I wasn't in the mood to take any photos, so sorry about that.

We had dinner at Yokozuna Sushi (in the Gold Coast Mall) on Friday.  So far, it's still the best sushi we've found anywhere - properly dainty maki rolls with lots of flavor, very fresh fish, and the best eel ever.  They were out of our favorite kahlua chocolate bundt cake this time though, which was a bit disappointing.

Saturday's breakfast was at the Bayside Skillet.  Mr Minx had Crepes Wilbur (crepes wrapped around generously-sized sausage links) and I had the spinach and bacon crepes with hollandaise.  The food is good enough (even though I suspect the crepes are made well in advance and refrigerated, as I detected off flavors in mine), but the prices are a little outrageous...particularly for the coffee: $2.50 a cup.  And you're lucky if your dingbat waitress notices you might need cream.  Or a refill.

The one good thing about being in OC this particular weekend is that we were able to experience the last few days of OC Restaurant Week.  We chose Jules for Saturday's dinner because the menu looked particularly appetizing.  A good thing we had the sense to make a reservation - the place was hopping.  

Mr Minx had the Chicken Satay (skewers of marinated free range chicken breast, spicy peanut sauce, hoisin glazed soba noodles), the House Salad (mixed greens tossed in a maple walnut vinaigrette, croutons, fresh veggies, and peppered pistachios), and the French Onion Rack of Lamb (New Zealand rack of lamb chops atop focaccia crouton and caramelized onions, gruyere cheese sauce, and local vegetables).  The chicken in the appetizer was extremely tender; it tasted fine but suffered from oversalting.  The noodles were probably spaghetti and not soba, and they were most definitely spicy.  The salad was pretty standard and had an overabundance of dried fruit on it.  The lamb chops were gorgeous specimens, perfectly cooked.  The cheese sauce was a little grainy, but overall a very flavorful dish.  

I had the Wild Jambalaya (wild boar sausage and wild gulf shrimp jambalaya, slab of corn pone, grilled scallions) , the Blue Ice Wedge (wedge of iceberg lettuce, house bleu cheese dressing, candied walnuts, applewood smoked bacon, bleu crumbles, and balsamic reduction), and Drunken Duck (breast of Maple Leaf Farms duck, marinated in sake, soy, ginger & garlic, chive oil, mashed sweet potatoes and local vegetables).  The jambalaya was pretty darn good, authentic-y even, and though the corn pone seemed a bizarre accompaniment (corn mash with rice?  carbs, anyone?) it was delish, sweet and corny, and I could have eaten a whole bowl of it on its own.  The salad didn't need the bleu cheese dressing, as there was enough crumbled bleu cheese for three salads.  And the duck was unfortunately salty, but well cooked.  The sweet potatoes were simple and buttery and really very good, but the string beans were so undercooked as to be raw.

Sunday, after a depressing Ravens loss to Indianapolis, we went to Galaxy 66 for another restaurant week dinner. Mr Minx started with the "red curried glazed ribs with a jicama and radicchio salad, and sunchoke chips," following that with "whole wheat pasta with shrimp, crab, broccoli, mushrooms, andouille sausage, tomato fondue, finished with basil cream," and creme brulee.  The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, but the thin bbq-type sauce didn't taste of red curry (it was good, however).  Didn't see any sunchoke chips.  The pasta dish was weird - the components didn't quite work together, and the pasta (penne) probably had been cooked much earlier in the day. It had an unpleasantly hard and dried-out texture.  There also was no basil cream.  The creme brulee was standard issue, attractively garnished with strawberries and squiggles of chocolate and caramel sauces.

I had the "seared scallops with pickled jalapenos, crispy sweet goat cheese" and the "pork roulade with garlic, mango, arugula, and goat cheese, sided with spicy potato cakes and grand marnier drizzle," with Heath bar crunch ice cream for dessert.  The five scallops were enormous and perfectly cooked, but the breaded goat cheese round, cranberry sauce (!) and slices of jalapeno had no business being on the same plate.  As for the roulade - hardly.  It was a large center cut pork chop that had been cut into a spiral and dabbed with a bit of goat's cheese.  The arugula and diced mango were scattered on top.  The potato cake tasted like old refrigerated potatoes, a flavor I happen to hate.  The pork was pretty nicely cooked, only slightly dry.  The ice cream was regular commercial stuff, but there was plenty of broken bits of real Heath bar distributed throughout the generous serving.

That's the thing about Galaxy 66 - the portions were extremely generous.  The scallop appetizer was entree-sized, and Mr Minx's ribs were almost that large.  The food was well-cooked for the most part (except the pasta) but the combinations of ingredients seemed ill-conceived.  One can almost say the same for Jules, but there was a bit more cohesiveness there.  In both cases, the food was well worth the $30 per person.

It's good to see that there is an attempt at fine dining being made in our humble resort town, and hopefully it will become a trend that will continue.

Jules Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Bayside Skillet Crepe & Omelet on Urbanspoon
Galaxy 66 Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon


Meklena said...

having never been to OC - I can only relish and drool from a distance....maybe one day I'll actually get to OC and try these delectables.....:-)


Kit Pollard said...

I almost went to Galaxy 66 the week before (Corvette week - just as many revving engines, but maybe not as many door-slamming pre-teens). Glad now that we didn't, I think, even though we had miserable service (but decent burgers) at Fagers.

How was your service? Our overall experience was that "island time" was in full, off-season effect...