Thursday, April 9, 2009


someone told me medjool means "date" in arabic. a friend and i went to medjool on a friday night.  i had heard a lot of good things about this restaurant.  my first thought when i walked in the swanky dining room was "this would be a great place for a date."

the small plates menu is arranged geographically: middle eastern, north african and european. we started off with drinks: a pear cocktail for my friend and a pomegranate margarita for me.  i was happy with my tart drink and she said hers tasted like a pear jelly bean: her favorite flavor.  after placing our order with the friendly server, someone brought over crispy pita chips, tangy hummus and sweet olives.  

the roasted beet salad (middle eastern) arrived at our table first; it was absolutely gorgeous.   Red and golden beets were thinly sliced and dressed with the cara cara orange vinaigrette.  we recognized halloumi cheese as the one that can be cooked without melting.  the medjool kitchen seared thin slices of halloumi until golden brown.  a festive chiffinade of mint completed the plate and made me smile.  this salad was an excellent example of how the sum is greater than its parts.  if we tasted a couple ingredients together, the salad was refreshing.  it wasn't until i took the time to put EACH component on my fork (beet, orange, tiny piece of cheese, mint) when i understood the dish.  the ingredients played off each other to make a complete taste experience: sweet, salty and fresh.  what a way to start a meal! we were more than ready for the next dishes to arrive.

we were served the braised short rib (north african) next.  the sauce was cinnamon sauce with medjool dates was dark, thick, sweet and savory.  it was delicious!  unfortunately, when we got to the inside of the meat, there wasn't much flavor.  a couple mini twice baked potatoes were cute and creamy, but flavorless.  we found ourselves looking for a salt shaker.  both the lobster ravioli and the fish needed salt as well. they were ok, but lacking in flavor and imagination.  

"excuuuse meee!" my friend had to track somebody down to order a glass of wine that arriveda few minutes later without a  stem and the medjool logo. impressive.  ok medjool...go on with your custom wine glasses.  the friendly server that took our order in the beginning was nowhere to be found after we started eating.  several different runners brought our plates as they were ready, but nobody checked on us.  instead we had to flag people down every time we needed something: a glass of wine, the dessert menu, the check. 

for dessert, we decided to try the carrot cake with citrus frosting and golden raisin compote.  unfortunately, the menu didn't mention the snow storm of walnuts that landed on top of the cake.  by the way, i don't like walnuts.  after maneuvering my fork past the nuts, i noticed the moist cake was iced with cream cheese frosting, not the citrus as promised.  it took a few minutes of searching to find the compote between the layers of cake.  i couldn't get past all those nuts so i flagged somebody down again to order the ginger cake with orange caramel sauce instead.  This time, the warm cake was served with a lukewarm apple, golden raisin sauce - no orange caramel sauce - and ice cream.  i started to wonder if any other customers noticed the inaccurate dessert menu.  the ginger cake was just ok, but i ate the whole thing because i was still hungry. after paying $50 for my portion of the meal, i didn't want to have to eat again later.

i love looking at restaurant pictures on other food blogs but  i couldn't bring myself to mess up the sexy vibe with a flash.  i'm working on an idea that will let me share my experience more without having to take pictures.  by the way, the medjool logo above is from their website. 

if you go...
-bring a date.
-order a drink.
-try the roasted beet salad.
-ask for a salt shaker.
-don't expect attentive service.
-ask for detailed description of desserts.

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