I’ve decided that I need to stop putting so much stock into Yelp and Urbanspoon reviews when I’m trying to decide where we should go for dinner. Choosing a restaurant has become a ridiculously stressful experience. I’ll see or hear of a restaurant that has potential and then I’ll read the reviews. Urbanspoon reviewers will say one thing, and Yelp reviewers say something completely different (most of the time). Not wanting to risk having a bad experience, I usually give up on that place, and move to the next spot on my list. After hours of searching, I finally get tired of the whole process and we end up eating at the first place I thought of. And what have I learned from the insanity that comes from choosing a place for dinner: some highly reviewed spots have a poor or mediocre overall score, and some of my least favorite restaurants have much higher scores, and basically I’m basing where we’re having dinner at on reviews from people who gave Wendy’s one star because the staff wasn’t very friendly at 10:00pm (yes, that’s a Yelp review I saw the other day).
Anyways. I realized my insanity earlier this week. We had dinner plans that got rescheduled for Saturday, our date night. So, we decided to have our date night on Tuesday. I spent half the night Monday looking for a place to go, a few hours on Tuesday looking for a place to go, and then a few more hours trying to pick from the three spots I had it narrowed down to. We ended up eating at DoG Street Pub in Williamsburg. It had lower reviews than the other two restaurants I was considering, but I picked it because I decided I didn’t want pizza (one of the restaurants), and I wasn’t in the mood to cross the bridge (the other restaurant was in Norfolk). Overall, it was a pleasant experience with only a few minor annoyances, but nothing bad enough to keep me from going back.
First, it’s a charming restaurant in a charming area. It’s in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg in an 80 year old building (it looks much older than it is) that used to be a bank. I was immediately taken by the light fixtures, the mismatched chairs, and the large windows. We’re apparently old, and arrived early enough that we didn’t have to wait for a table. We got a cute table next to a window (yay for good lighting) and looked over the menu.
Their food menu is honestly pretty bare bones. Of the four page menu, food was just the first page. The next two pages were nothing but beer, and the fourth was sodas, wine & a small selection of cocktails. Since the soda was served in cans (and $2.25 for a non-refillable 12 oz can… no thank you) and none of the cocktails jumped out at me, I stuck with water. Graham had plenty of beers to choose from and chose the sampler, which was three 5 oz. tastings for $5.
Once she came back with his beer, we ordered the Kalamata tapenade to start. This was absolutely delicious, and after one bite Graham told me that we needed to recreate this at home. The crostini were crispy and the perfect delivery vessel for the tapenade. Once we finished them, we still had half of the tapenade left. I refused to leave it behind, so she boxed it up for us, and threw in some more crostini.
Since the menu was small (not a problem, because everything sounded good), it didn’t take long to order. G went with the roasted prime rib (with Yorkshire pudding, beef jus, horseradish sauce, roasted potatoes and carrots). They offer two sizes and he got the smaller one (13 oz.). It was served with roasted carrots & potatoes. This smaller portion was HUGE. When they brought it out, I couldn’t believe that it was the small portion. They definitely skimped on the vegetables though. There were maybe 5-6 small pieces of carrot and potato. He said they were delicious, just not enough of them. The prime rib was good, but nothing spectacular.
I ordered the brick chicken (brick pressed herb basted double boneless breast with mashed potatoes and bacon Brussels sprouts), which was absolutely delicious, even though I don’t think it was cooked under a brick. Chicken under a brick usually creates chicken with extra crispy skin. The skin on this chicken was not crispy, and it didn’t have the coloring you usually end up with. But still. It was delicious. It had excellent flavor and was incredibly moist. The side dishes were pretty good. The potatoes weren’t creamy enough and needed salt. The Brussels sprouts were delicious, and the roasted cherry tomatoes mixed in were a nice surprise.
So, the food was good. The restaurant was charming. The main flaw with our dining was our server. She was inattentive. G ordered a full sized beer after he finished his flight, and It took her 15 minutes to bring it to him. She stopped by once after he ordered it and she said it was waiting at the bar. Um… maybe you should go get it? When she brought it (about 5 minutes later), it was the wrong one. After she delivered our check, we put our card in, stood it up so she would see it, and it took her another 10 minutes to come get it. Even though she was just cleaning & resetting a table two feet away. The other flaw was flies. They were everywhere, and it was super annoying. I’m sure it was because we were sitting very close to the door, and it was constantly opening and closing, but it was still really, really annoying.
All in all, it was a good experience. We’ll definitely be back. Just next time I’d like a better server and less flies.