Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A New Favorite

I wish I could walk to the Black Sheep to avoid the confusing side streets, but good food in a laid back atmosphere can forgive just about any driving difficulties.

The relaxed and welcoming demeanor of the servers is also reflected in the restaurant's decor and menu. Two waitresses frequently refilled water glasses and chatted with our table about our meal choices. Most of the desserts were displayed in a glass case, and the servers referenced our options with a gesture, keeping everyone at ease while we made our decisions.

Items on the menu have a similar feel: comfortable yet creative and sophisticated enough to make you want eat them somewhere besides your own home. Breakfast is generously served until 2:00 PM, and the lunch menu, with it's wide array of sandwiches, is served through the evening.

Although I don't particularly like deviled eggs, I did appreciate their presence as an option for a side dish. I was fortunate to taste the chicken and dumplings, which was a large, satisfying meal, and the dirty rice, which had unique flavors and an appealing texture. One bite of orzo salad was enough to make me wonder if my broccoli salad with sesame oil vinaigrette was really the most refreshing side on the menu.

An elaborate veggie sub served cold, one of the options under "The War of Northern Ingestion" heading, caught my eye, but I'm going to wait to try it when summer really gets underway in a few weeks. I also had a hard time ignoring the "Black Sheep French Toast," which is filled with chocolate hazelnut spread, but eventually I settled on the "Prodigal Son" - smoked turkey mixed with barbeque sauce and apple slaw on a toasted roll. Tangy and crunchy, the sandwich was hearty but left just enough room for dessert.

Just as the menu promised, the Peanut Butter Pie was "sweet, light and fluffy with a fudgy bottom layer." The "White Russian Brownie" with ice cream also delivered; our waitress divulged that the secret was doubling the amount of liquor called for in the recipe. Next time I'm really hoping to try the creme de menthe brownie and the banana pudding, which is rumored to taste like tiramisu.

Location is the only quality that could lend itself to The Black Sheep's name. Positioned on a corner a block north of Broad Street in the midst of several one way streets, finding the place and a spot for your car are the most difficult parts of the experience. The food is worth every wrong turn and parallel parking effort.

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