New Kid On The Block
In a blink of an eye it seems new restaurants are cropping up all over the area. Opal Restaurant and Bar is one of the newcomers and it deserves its’ just due.
We went to Opal when they were open just three weeks and I must admit I was impressed. Although I found the dining area to lack warmth and energy in its décor, the entryway is just spectacular. If Chef Patrick Owens and the Opal Dining Group wanted a “wow” factor when you enter, they hit the mark without question.
We made reservations and I wondered if we actually needed to. After all, it was a new restaurant in Seaside Farms shopping center and not too widely publicized. Thankfully we had the reservations after all. When we arrived there was already a 45 minute wait for tables and it was only 6:30 p.m.!
We were quickly seated and our server immediately approached the table. He was intimately familiar with the menu and told us that he also worked at Langdon’s, which is this restaurant’s sister concept. A recent local article about Opal stated that the “menu changed daily”. I thought this was an aggressive approach to a new restaurant opening. It was the same plan that Sean Brock had with Husk and when we dined there during the first few weeks our entrees took over an hour to hit the table. I hoped that we would not experience the same thing at Opal.
As we looked over the menus it appeared I had a different menu that the other three folks at our table. The server quickly explained that I had “last night’s menu” and replaced it with the correct one. But get this… The “changing menu” only had one item changed. The fish entrée that was on the menu was switched from flounder to mahi mahi. Hmmm… interesting.
We started with 3 appetizers. It’s unusual for us to order dinner and appetizers, but things looked very interesting. The Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Purple Onion and Valdeon received rave reviews. The tomatoes were incredibly fresh and tasted as if they were picked that afternoon. The Salad of Local Herbs and Lettuces with Fresh Ricotta and Tomatoes was scooped up in a New York minute - again, a fan favorite.
|Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Purple Onion|
|Salad with Fresh Ricotta|
My Spicy Local Shrimp Bruschetta with Chiles and Garlic could have been a meal in of itself. Two very large toasted slices of crispy crusted bread were topped with heavenly, perfectly cooked, spicy shrimp. Reluctantly I shared it. But when I go back to Opal this appetizer is definitely on my repeat list.
Our entrees were perfectly timed and served piping hot. Two diners ordered the Sweet Bay Acres Crispy Chicken Breast with Arugula, Heirloom Tomatoes, Fennel, Prosciutto and Vincotto. The gents thought this dish was superb and I had a hard time bartering for a taste. The Seared Diver Scallops, Brunoise of Local Zucchini, Tomato, Corn, Israeli Couscous and Brown Butter was a big win. Usually someone that eats half of her entrée and takes home the other half finished this - hands down!
When ordering my entrée of house made Tagliatelle with Pork Sausage, Broccolini and Marjoram our server told me that it was not a “large portion” (pasta prices ranged from $15 - $17), and he was right. My dish was the smallest of the entrees and unfortunately the most disappointing. The pasta was a bit mushy, which I could tolerate, but the dish overall was bland and lacked flavor.
|Tagliatelle with Pork Sausage|
|Seared Diver Scallops|
|Sweet Bay Acres Crispy Chicken Breast|
I would say though that like Langdon’s this restaurant is a bit pricey. We were interested in the Charcuterie & Cheese but one small sampling was $5.00 and it went up to $41.00 when the offer was increased to 12. We saw this delivered to another table and based on the portion sizes it seemed overpriced. I can’t speak to the flavor because it looked great, just expensive.
Despite my pasta snafu we still managed to leave the restaurant very full and plan to return. I was very impressed that despite only being opened three weeks the restaurant ran like a well-oiled machine.
We gave Opal 4 out of a possible 5 plates.
#tidal #restaurant #American