Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Belvidere at Broad

A new neighborhood restaurant is always cause for exploration, so last night I invited Beer Geek Friend over to share some wine (yes, he goes both ways) and do some reconnaissance. We enjoyed a bottle of Antonelli 2008 Grechetto Colli Martani DOC, courtesy of River City Cellars' Italian Summer Sippin' tasting a week or so ago, and had to agree with Peter of RCC about its fruity and floral notes, but weren't quite as clear about it having a sense of structure and grip that would be the envy of many red wines. Still, it went down easily and was a fine start to the warm evening.

We then set out on the arduous two-block walk to check out The Belvidere at Broad, barely allowing us enough time to compare notes on insomnia. Mine is a fairly new phenomenon, having started back in February after life smacked me in the head with a two by four, but he's had it for years. Even so, he could offer no assistance about how to deal with the frustration of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. to obsess.

The Belvidere was hopping when we arrived around 715ish, but we managed to snag a booth in the back. Three of the eight wines by the glass were from Washington state (!) and $30 was the highest priced bottle (a Gruner Vetliner). The menu was interesting, with an emphasis on organic, so naturally I ordered a burger and Friend got salmon. Both dishes satisfied and my side of broccoli rabe was especially tasty. Between the large burger and the cab I was drinking, there was no room for dessert, which prompted our waitress to insist that I return and try the dessert menu. Friend is watching his weight, so he settled for ordering another beer. (Note to locals: PBR on tap).

One of the owners introduced herself and talked about their hopes for making a difference on that block of Broad (near the Rite Aid) and in the west end of Jackson Ward in general. Turns out she loves the neighborhood as much as I do (she's a neighbor of mine, too) so we had loads to talk about. She told us about what a mess the space was when they began and, looking around, it was clear that everything in the restaurant was new.

Got home, we finished the wine, Friend left and then the dog and I headed over to Abner Clay Park, which was hosting the Down Home Family Reunion, for the last part of Jr. Walker's All Star Band's set (yes, Jr.'s been dead for years, but two of the originals added members and carried on). They were doing classic Motown (Stop! In the Name of Love, Dancin' in the Streets, et al.) and the large crowd was way into it. The dog and I got comfy and finished our evening laying in the grass listening to music. And this is why I love my life.

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