Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quail and New Wave

I didn't mean to do Restaurant Week, really I didn't. When a friend suggested meeting up before I went to the National, I didn't give it a moment's thought when I told him Bistro 27, my neighborhood joint.

And then when I got there and realized what I'd done, it just seemed easier to stay. I try to stay out of the fray during the hustle and bustle of RW, but there was room for us at the bar and Carlos wanted me to try his menu and before you know it, we had a bottle of the Barboursville Cab Franc and I was scanning the menu.

Friend had dinner plans later, so it was just me eating and after a quick look at the menu, there was really no question. The pan-roasted quail stuffed with a mixed mushroom and foie gras mousse served over autumn root veggies was too tempting to pass up, so I didn't.

The funny part was that Carlos came over then and said I should order the quail after I'd already decided it was what I was getting, so I could pretend I was taking the chef's recommendation.

Of course, I had to have a first course to get to the quail and I went with the Bistro salad, a perennial favorite of mine, as was my dessert of choice, the hazelnut chocolate torte, But I've swooned over them both before and it was really the quail that was the star tonight.

The mousse stuffing was decadent and the heaping dish of minutely-cut root vegetables was everything fall should taste like. I only hope other diners are smart enough to order something so un-RW-like. I was the first of six who ordered it tonight he said.

Friend had to leave to pick up his dinner partner, so I finished my wine and chocolate solo before moving on to the National. Local band Lubek opened and were playing when I arrived. I hadn't heard them before, but knew they were on the new RVA label Acme Thunderer (such a great name).

Metric's set was indie/new wave with loads of 80s influences and plenty of post-punk guitar. Lead singer Emily Haines (and her little girl voice) had nailed the 80s look in an off-the-shoulder metallic tunic (so Flashdance) that shone under the lights with every step she danced.

And did she ever dance...except when she was vogueing, posing one way or another to the beat of the music. Her baby-fine blond hair was in a perpetual state of slo-mo windblown from an unseen stage fan. She had the audience in her thrall for sure.

Guitarist James Shaw did his 80s take with a skinny tie, but his strong suit was his incredible speed on the guitar. I only wish he hadn't spent so much time facing the back rather than the audience. Perhaps he is the yin to Haines' yang. In any case, he had my full attention.

The audience was full of Metric lovers, most of whom knew every word and sang along. For a change, I only saw a few people I knew besides one of my faithful bartender friends.

Afterwards, I went next door to Gibson's to meet a friend and hear a couple of Minneapolis bands, Me & My Arrow and Phantom Tails. M&MA, a nine-piece, were especially interesting because I always appreciate a band with a cello. Especially when it's being played under a disco ball.

We left before I got to hear one of my favorite local bands, the Colloquial Orchestra, because friend needed to get home. But it turned out that he also wanted to make a quick stop at Penny Lane, so we detoured there, resulting in a random discussion of Mt. Everest and Mallory vs. Hillary with a nearby beard.

You never know when two guys with Wikipedia minutia on the same subject will get going, but I watched it unfold tonight (what did happen to the wife's photograph?). That's what I get for stopping at Penny Lane.

That, a taste of good Scottish beer and a bartender who called me "love." All as unexpected as my indulgence in Restaurant Week.

But then life seems to be handing me a lot of unexpected lately. The question is, what do I do with it?

Hell if I know.


  1. What DO you do with it????

  2. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

  3. Karen, had a really good time writing up my RW recommendations for RVAnews. Generally, I'm a little jaded about the parade of prix fixes, but I found some tantalizing options among the menus. And yes, I included Bistro 27 and said nice things about Carlos. Would love your thoughts on it.


    Huge Metric fan here, btw. Wish I hadn't missed the show.

  4. And here's my take on it:


    And I had an extra ticket to Metric, too.