Since July of last year, a lot of the local buzz has been about No. 246, the new offering from Ford Fry (from JCT) and Drew Belline (former chef de cuisine of Floataway Cafe). It quickly became the new “it” restaurant and when I read that they didn’t accept reservations, I figured that we wouldn’t get there any time soon. Today, after church, when I hit the Open Table app as we headed downtown, it came up as a possibility, so I grabbed a table for two.
The reservation wasn’t necessary as the place was empty (see above). The lunch menu had plenty of options, and after googling several things on the menu (cavolo nero = black kale / grana padano = cheese / porchetta = essentially, pork belly) we were ready to order. Side question: don’t you love, smart phones, google and wikipedia? In the dark ages, you always had to ask the waiter. Then he would pretentiously look down his nose and tell you that “No, fennel does NOT taste like licorice” (he was wrong and Google, on a computer in the kitchen, finally convinced him of that) or whatever, not that I’m still bitter about that, or anything….
Jo started with some fired toast with a spread made from cannelloni beans, braised cavolo nero, chilies and olive oil. I sampled a piece and the strongest taste was of lemon.
I decided to try the no. 246 meatball with san marzano, basil and parmesan. It was excellent. Not dense, like most meatballs or meatloaf can be, but with a “lightness” about it and wonderful seasoning from the tomatoes and cheese.
She said that the fish was excellent, and from the bite that I had, I would have to agree. She also said that the cherry belle radishes were very un-radish-like, nowhere near as bitter as usual red radishes. She shared one of those with me, I’ll agree they were an improvement: while I usually HATE radishes, I just didn’t like these.
Because I’m always leaning towards a burger, I talked to the waiter about theirs. Without telling me it wasn’t a good choice, he said that of the three sandwiches, it was the least memorable and that I really ought to consider one of the “plates”.
I ordered the shrimp – pan seared with parmesan polenta, garlic, local greens and tomatoes. This was, effectively, their take on shrimp and grits.
I’m a huge shrimp and grits fan and these did not disappoint. The polenta and cheese mix was spot-on and it was decadently tasteful. I actually sat there, with my eyes closed, savoring several bites. They seem to be on the same par as Miller Union and Cakes and Ale, as far as the local sourcing /fresh ingredients / high quality / inventive dining. We’ll definitely plan to head back one evening.