While the menu has retained a few of the Culin Ariane classics such as Cornmeal Crusted Oysters, Crab Cakes and Sashimi Tuna Flower, the emphasis is more on casual bistro type food, and as one would expect, it is fantastic. We have already been there four times since it has opened. A bar menu, also available in the dinning areas, is composed of homemade snacks as Ariane calls them. The regular menu is available throughout the restaurant.
We began our meal with three starters.
Deviled eggs, espellette. The Espellete Pepper is a variety of chili pepper that is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette. Here it is lightly ground atop smooth and silky deviled eggs giving it just a hint of heat. If you are a fan of deviled eggs as I am, you must try these.
“Cuban Sandwich” pork, ham, homemade pickles, grain mustard, served with homemade potato chips. Without question, this was the best version of this classic I have ever tasted. My only complaint was that the appetizer sized sandwich disappeared much too quickly. Ah, but I have the solution…a double order next time!
Forest Mushroom Ragout, Cheesy Grits, Rosemary Oil. I guess you could call this the American version polenta with mushrooms. Whatever you call it, color it absolutely delicious. An amazing combination of flavors and textures on the palate.
For entrées Carol enjoyed Braised Short Ribs with Charred Broccoli, Pearl Onions, Whipped Potatoes, braising jus. Cooked to fork tender perfection, she enjoyed every forkful.
I was equally happy with my crisp and moist "Fish and Chips" made from Atlantic Cod and served with crispy house cut fries and a dill tartar sauce. Comfort food simply does not get much better than this.
We finished the evening with her homemade Banana Cream Pie.
On our three subsequent visits enjoyed the following:
Pretzel bites with beer cheese dipping sauce. Wow are these homemade soft pretzel morsels delicious. I can envision an evening in the future when I am dinning alone and doing so at the AKB bar with theses pretzel bites, the Cuban sandwich and one of the artisanal draft beers served there. Sorry, I was to busy devouring these to take a photo.
AKB Burger made with ½ lb. American Kobe Beef, fried green tomato, pickled shallots, cheddar cheese and harissa aioli. Cooked to medium rare perfection this was juicy, tender and delicious. A multi-napkin burger. I was not crazy about the fried green tomato, but I think a slice of good old red tomato will go perfectly. Carol had hers with house made French Fries, while I had mine with house made Jalapeño, cheddar tater tots, a grown up version of the classic tater tot.
Each night there is one pasta special and on one of these visits it was homemade Taglierini Carbonara. Ariane adds some baby peas to her rendition, which is a fantastic interpretation of this Roman classic. In my opinion it is the best pasta dish she makes and I only wish it were a menu staple.
The wine list turned up 3 more excellent wines at very reasonable prices.
2011 Produttori di Carema Nebbiolo Piedmont ($44). From Northern Piedmont this is the normale bottling that drinks with the elegance and finesse of a fine Barolo or Barbaresco. $20 retail. Wine-Searcher.
2012 Cascina Ca'Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo Piedmont ($39). We drank this along side the Produttori and it possessed the same elegance and finesse as the Carema, but with a bit more depth on the palate. Both of the wines finished with good length.
2013 Foret des Dames Sancerre ($36). This is a delicious, crisp and clean Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France. A wonderful melange of acidity and wet stones on the palate made for a delicious quaff. $15 retail. Wine-Searcher.
If you live in the area and have not yet been to AKB, treat yourself. You will enjoy it. Oh, tell them Mark and Carol sent you.