I haven't really gone out to dinner with anyone since...well, you know, but Shade was up in arms about me doing something to celebrate my birthday. For her day she's flown places, hosted dinner parties, etc, and the idea of somebody not actively celebrating was mystifying to her. After a few false starts, and a suggestion from a most surprising source, we ended up at BLT Steak at the W hotel downtown.
It's small, relatively speaking, and it's got one of those paper menus that they print everyday because they're always changing something. And it's pricy, I mean the hamburger was the price of dinner for two at your average mid-market sit down dinner spot. It's what you'd expect from a W hotel, in other words - very nice. All cool muted browns and glossy wood finish tables. The service was especially good, with forks flying and napkins being re-folded when you got up and had to leave the table. If you've never been someplace like that once, you need to go, it's a different kind of service.
And, they have an absolutely excellent selection of whiskeys, including something for $65 dollars a shot which I wisely decided really wasn't in my price range. The other broad selection of whiskeys, something I haven't seen since Ray's on the River, was encouraging, and I settled on something with a Buffalo on the bottle, just to be different. Points off because the barkeep didn't know there was a real difference between scotch whiskey and real whiskey, but you can't have everything.
For dinner we both got the Wagyu skirt steak (medium), mine with onion rings and BBQ corn, her's with a Swiss Chard. And because I haven't had any in ages, and although it felt like a betrayal, I ordered the crab cake appetizer. I know it sounds silly, but it does. Of course I still haven't had any Indian since, and I miss it. The steak was charred on the outside just enough, but pink and juicy in the middle. And the pop-over bread, their "upmarket" version of a yeast roll was tasty, until it got cold.
I like this spot, I'll admit now, because even before we got our food the place was interesting. The server turned out to be a man of contrasts. Although he possessed an accent that has to have grown up on dirt road in the backwoods of Alabama or South Carolina, when Shade asked for a wine paring for a Wagyu Skirt steaks, he not only produced a nice vintage, but broke into a very technical explanation of why chose it, and why he liked it's lack of tannin when combining with how the steaks were to be cooked. It turned out he's a sommelier in training, Second level, and we launched into a good five minutes of wine discussion. I mean, you expect your waiter to know the wines, but he really knew the wines. I mean, he also wore his braids in pigtails but then you never really know do you?
Over dinner, Shade explained to me the surprising source of this dinner inspiration after our first mis-step at Cloud iX middle school..er, lounge and bar. I'd gotten their first, expressed my displeasure via phone and wandered around the corner to No Mas Cantina, to wait for her. There I get a text from Scoop with dinner options. I'm a little shocked, because these two aren't even supposed to be speaking. But it turns out at some point in the last five days, they've made amends. In fact while we're eating, Scoop texts us and lets us know we could have had dinner at her house. I stop asking questions, because the whole thing is too surreal for me at that point.
For dessert, for which they thoughtfully inscribed Birthday wishes in chocolate on the rim, I was granted a chocolate peanut butter confection (think high end Reese Pieces) topped with a banana ice cream. Not too shabby. Nothing I would have chosen myself, but it was nice gesture.
Then when the check came, Shade grabbed it and paid it before I could even see how much it was. Well, because I'm curious, I peeked and saw how much it was, and that steak and other what not now qualifies as the second most expensive meal I've eaten. I include that sentiment because I don't want a gentle reader to wander in and look for the value meal. But, I want to go back, and will ...under the right circumstances. Nice place. Very nice place.
Now I wish I invented some kinda rating system.