Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thoughts on Neighborhood Services

After our first failed attempt at Neighborhood Services Tavern, we decided to give it another shot on a Friday night when we knew they would be open. The restaurant is tiny and with a 45 minute wait, we decided to head to the bar. The bartender looked so familiar to me and after a little further investigation I realized that we went way back* so we decided to forgo the traditional table and just eat there.

We had fried asparagus with lemon and dill aioli to start, he got soft shell crab tacos, and I got the Schnitz with black pepper spaetzle (basically pounded veal with a cous cous-esque pasta). He definitely got out-whataburgered... the schnitz was tender, had great flavor, and what little of it was leftover- he quickly consumed. I had never had schnitzel before, and my first experience did not disappoint. Being a lover of all things spicy, the asparagus could have been kicked up a notch, but I completely understand that not everyone likes things as hot as I do.

The food was great, but Andrew (the bartender) was what really made the experience for me. When the food came I was drinking a Stella and he came up and poured a third of a glass of wine and said "try this with your food, you'll love it". I love wine. And I love food. And despite being raised by glass swirling, tannin sniffing, napa lovers... I would not know the first thing about what to pair with SCHNITZEL. (Hence the Stella-- in a feat of grand stereotyping, my thought process went as follows: German's love beer. Schnitzel = German-esque. Therefore, Schnitzel + Beer = tasty pairing... yaaay logic!)

Anyways, the wine made it pop much more than the beer. I appreciated him not only knowing the menu and his wine list, but knowing what would work together and taking it upon himself to suggest I try it. Love that. Our experience ended with discussions/tastings of what exactly grappa and St. Germain were. FYI, grappa tastes like rubbing alcohol. But St. Germain could be quite tasty mixed in the appropriate cocktail.

So to wrap it all up, I will be going back to Neighborhood Services and when I do, I will most definitely be barside.

*In trying to figure out why the bartender looked familiar, I asked where he had worked before NS and he told me Fireside Pies. Then it clicked... about six years ago when we were all fresh out of college we had a girl's night at Fireside. We had all just moved to Dallas and had heard about this bar that was "invitation only" called The Candleroom and wanted to go. So after dinner, we stopped to ask Andrew how to get in-- he promptly set his martini shaker down and told us to follow him. He literally left the bar, walked us across Henderson, down the little side street, introduced us to the door-guy and made sure we got in. The funniest part about it was that he was walking so fast (ya know, since he had a BAR to attend to and all) that he had about eight girls trailing behind him in single file. He looked like a mama duck leading his eight chicks to the pond. Too funny. {Sidenote: After further investigation, Candleroom is not really our type of place- even six years ago. But hey, we were 22 and wanted to see what all the fuss was about}.

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