Friday, April 29, 2011

Oodles Uncorked: A pleasant but comforting surprise.

So after a very long 21st birthday weekend, I smothered up the courage to go to 'Oodles Uncorked'. I say this because my impressions of the place have always been tethered to the thought of 'oh no I cannot go in there, that's a fru-fru wine and dine.' Turns out I was very very wrong.

Lets skip the ambiance, lets skip the service and get right down to the food.

First Dish: Duck Confit Marsala

 I hate to say this but the dish was amazing!! The duck was just so tender and had the texture of pulled pork but so many earthy and comforting flavors. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly and to be honest could stand well on their own. In the Marsala sauce there was a mix of pine nuts. PINE NUTS! My favorite most delicate thing to eat in the world. To be honest this dish sent me over the edge into pure unbelievable bliss. The noodles were cooked correctly (al dente). And the whole dish was already tossed in the Marsala sauce, leaving no noodle unturned with delicious earthy flavors. If I were eating this at home, I would have happily licked the bowl.

Second Dish: Shrimp and Grits

I ordered this dish upon my second visit to Oodles during their brunch on Sunday. My was this dish tasty!! Caution if you do not like grits (for some odd reason) then please do not order this. In a deep dish bowl there was a good portion of grits in the middle covered in a smoky Cajun sauce with 6-7 large grilled shrimp surrounded by half cut cherry tomatoes. Everything on this plate was edible and enjoyable. The cherry tomatoes were juicy and fell apart in your mouth. The grits was smooth but not creamy nor runny. The sauce, which surrounded everything was just perfect. At first I thought it was some sort of ranch sauce, once I tasted it however, I was completely mistaken. This sauce does offer some heat, but nothing to scare away a lover of spice. The shrimp was cooked perfectly. Personally I am very picky about shrimp, growing up in the south, an over cooked shrimp is almost the same as a nasty insult. There was nothing chewy or dry about these shrimp, no sir-ee. Instead these shrimp were soft with a nice char from the grill. The spices throughout the dish echoed a lot in those 6 pieces of shrimp. Again I ate all of my dish and I was very tempted to lick my bowl. No disappointments here.

So my resolve on Oodles? Go. Do not be put off by the snooty wine drinkers, or the long list of wine Oodles offer. Sit inside, possibly in the kitchen, and pick something tasty off the menu, preferable at dinner time. Their pasta dishes are perfect. It is obvious that a lot of attention has been given in these dishes; To the simple flavors and respect to the ingredients. Verdict? Just go. Yes the menu may be a bit pricey (I did pay $15 for my shrimp and grits) But trust me it is worth EVERY dollar and dime.

To be honest, I am very surprised that my first review is for the better. Oodles Uncorked always read to me as the 'snooty patio everyone sits in and buys bottles and bottles of wine'. But inside there doors there is a sense of comfort and wonder. To the open court yard, to the cozy kitchen, and extremely laid back attitude at the bar. This place has no pretense, no facade of elitism. Inside, it is about the food, the taste, the flavor, everything that a restaurant should stand for. I encourage anyone to go to Oodles and really branch out, ask the servers or even the chef (if you get that pesky kitchen seating) trust those who cook your food, because Oodles Uncorked really does prove that attention has been paid.

Oodles Uncorked on Urbanspoon

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