On Monday I shared with you my review of the movie "Gone Girl," which I saw at the brand spankin' new Assembly Row theater. If you haven't been yet - you must!
What I didn't get to say on Monday, but I am thrilled to tell you now, is that before the movie we tried one of Assembly Row's newest arrivals, Earls Kitchen & Bar.
The restaurant is located just steps beyond the new J.P. Licks, overlooking the Mystic River.
When we walked in, a hostess was in the entry way (before you could even step inside the restaurant) taking names down on an iPad. We offered our name and she told us it would be about 10-15 minutes.
Right at the 10 minute mark we got a text message that our table was ready. Love that!
There were about six girls behind the hostess stand, all doing nothing. We waited several minutes for anyone to acknowledge us.
We were eventually seated in a cozy, round booth. It's hard to see in this photo, but the booths are actually quite nice.
In between each of the booths there are outlets for charging your phone. Genius!
Our waitress popped by with menus and each one had a different design.
I think these are fun, creative and add extra personality to the place.
The Earls name is marked on each piece of silverware with a lower case "E."
Since we were headed into a movie (and one where we needed to pay attention) we opted to skip the alcohol and try some of Earls housemade soda concoctions. Below is the lemongrass orange blossom (on the left) and the raspberry lime (on the right).
I ordered the raspberry lime soda which was raspberry cordial, lime bitters and soda. It tasted like a melted raspberry lime rickey popsicle, with a touch of carbonation.
Across the table, a friend was sipping the lemongrass orange blossom which was lemongrass syrup, orange blossom bitters, fresh lemon juice and soda. She commented, "I love that it's not overly sweet. It has a great, refreshing orange taste."
Another friend ordered a Diet Coke which came in a pint glass stamped with the Earls logo.
As we enjoyed our drinks, one friend said, "You know what? I would come here just to charge my phone and have a soda." Ha!
To start, we decided to share an order of the truffle fries. When are truffle fries not a good idea?
The fries mostly tasted of black pepper, not of truffle. I was also wishing they had parmesan cheese, as truffle fries often do.
The highlight of the dish was actually the garlic aioli dipping sauce. It was so good we asked for a second helping!
You will notice in the photos to come, that all three of us took advantage of the soup special for the evening, which was tomato. Now that the fall weather has really set in, soup is just the perfect comfort food.
For our entrees, my friend ordered the chicken, brie and fig sandwich which came with roasted apples, spinach, that amazing garlic aioli and ciabatta bread. In lieu of French fries, she asked for the tomato soup on the side.
It was a very generous serving of soup, topped with cheesy croutons and parsley.
The sandwich looked beautiful. When she finished, she said, "The ciabatta bread is very soft. They did not skimp at all on the brie, the chicken is grilled nicely and the roasting of the apples was such a nice touch. I think I tasted a hint of cinnamon. Also, that fig spread was to die for!"
She also remarked, "The sandwich wasn't really that big on its own, so if I hadn't had the soup, I think I would still be hungry."
Meanwhile, across the table, a friend was enjoying the mixed greens salad. Normally a mixed greens or house salad at a restaurant is lackluster, but this one was gorgeous. It was topped with apples, candied walnuts, goat cheese and a light dressing.
Like the chicken sandwich, she too commented, "The salad wouldn't be enough on its own. You definitely need something to pair with it."
And pair with it she did! She opted for a menu combo called the Salad, Soup and Pan Bread. With her salad she also received a bowl of tomato soup and a thick slice of bread.
After much deliberation, I went with the vegetarian burger. It was chickpea falafel, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, citrus Greek yogurt and hummus. I know, I know. My breath did smell horrible afterward.
The burger was gorgeous and it tasted like everything you love about a Greek salad, with the added bonus of the perfectly cooked and crispy falafel patty. Falafel can be super greasy, but this wasn't at all. It was delicious.
I also decided to sub my French fries for tomato soup. Sadly, my bowl of soup was warm, but not hot. With each bite, it seemed to cool down more. The other girls swore theirs was piping hot, but I didn't have that luck.
Though my burger was fantastic, it was super hard to hold! It was several inches tall and kept slipping through my fingers, literally.
To all my single ladies, if you head to Earls on a date, do not order this! Unless you want your date to think you have no motor skills or are a complete slob.
All in all, our experience at Earls was a good one. The restaurant is super lively. It has three separate dining room areas and three separate bars, so there is a ton of action. The crowd ranges from families to young professionals to even a few AARP folks.
When the weather is warm, they will surely open all their windows to let in the fresh air and views of the river.
Have you been checking out all the new restaurants opening in Assembly Row? Which one is your favorite so far?