I had been wanting to give this place a try for awhile now but couldnt muster up the energy to make the drive up from Coconut Grove (damn MGFD is like a vaccuum - I cant seem to make it past the exit for 195 haha). Well, I had some business up north to attend to so I decided to call a lady friend and check out this spot.
The place has a dining area up front and a dining/bar area in the back. It was POURING outside, so the place was somewhat empty. We chose the bar area since it was a Wednesday and they had live music - a great jazz singer with a few tables of fans sitting nearby. I think she sings every Wednesday and she was great as was the music. Only drawback was that the space is very tight so its hard to have conversation while she is performing but thats really not too big of a deal.
I really enjoyed the way that they break down the wine list by tasting notes. I selected a '06 Williamette Valley Pinot Noir (Willow Tree or Willow "something", the name escapes me at the moment) from the "truffles and mushrooms" section. The waiter liked the pick and we really enjoyed the bottle, enough that we had to pace ourselves as to not run out before the mains came out. For an appetizer, we ordered the Ricotta Risotto Fritters with Parmesan Dipping Sauce. These were fantastic. Nice semi-crunchy exterior with a filling of incredibly smooth, cheesy goodness. The parmesan sauce was great for dipping too.
The mains came out next. The waiter had informed us that the menu changes weekly and I liked that. Using the waiter's recommendation to help me decide between 2 dishes, I ordered the large portion of the Barolo Braised Short Ribs with Bacon and a grain that is also escaping me at the moment. She had the Grilled Skirt Steak with Sauteed Corn and Pancetta and a Warm Mushroom Vinegarette. The waiter handed me a knife and said, "This is for appearance only, you wont need it." He was right. The meat fell off the bone and tasted delicious. The Barolo liquid had awesome flavor that I felt really enhanced the flavor of the meat. The bacon was a thin slice of pancetta that was cooked to a crispy well done. Im still struggling with whether I liked that or not. At first, I didnt because Im a bacon fan and I dont like well done bacon. However, I thought the crispiness and slightly charred flavor really meshed well with the rest of the dish. I tried a little of my companion's steak and it was excellent. I will likely order that next time.
We were pretty full from the wine and meal, so we opted to skip dessert and I asked for their bourbon selection. Knob Creek and Maker's Mark so I chose Maker's. Kinda disappointing because this restaurant has an elegant high-end feel to it and these bourbons are kinda pedestrian. I recommended carrying Basil Hayden in a conversation later on with the hostess/manager but its somewhat silly on my part to expect a nice bourbon list at every restaurant I go to. A bourbon connoisseur can dream though... (Side note: The hostess/manager was extremely nice, polite, and informative when we asked about a spot to check out for a cocktail afterwards. The waiter and the rest of the staff were equally awesome. I think this is important to the success of a restaurant and it was much appreciated). Before my drink came, our waiter presented us with some Blueberry Fritters, compliments of the chef. Man, they like them some Fritters at North 110 and these were a nice end to a great meal.
Overall, I really enjoyed the dining experience at North 110. Service was great, food was delicious, tried a new wine that I loved, and the added bonus of a sultry jazz singer made for a killer time. Its not easy on the wallet but I thought the quality of food and presentation fit the bill. I will definitely have to make an effort to get back up there for another meal. A seared foie gras and that skirt steak are calling my name.
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