Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Hanger Room...high hopes crash and burn

After reading reviews of The Hanger Room I was excited to see them offer a deal on Living Social.  We decided to use our certificate on September 24th for date night.

We were slightly early for our 6:15pm reservation, so we had drink in the bar.  Their beer menu is quite extensive, well organized by flavor and style.  I read online it was close to 80 beers on tap!  I ordered a Blood Orange Martini (I'm not a beer drinker).  Made with real blood orange juice which gave it a beautiful color (don't knock them until you've tried them-their outer skin is orange, but the insides are deep red).  These oranges are not too sweet either, which was perfect for the drink.

We then went to check in for our reservation and the hostess was quite talkative, explaining to us how the space had been a bowling alley.  Because of this, the inside of the restaurant did not match the outside.  Inside was traditional steak house decor with dark woods and white linens.  The outside had all the appeal of a gray box, but they did have a beautiful sign.

Our appetizers (or small plates) were wonderful.  We had the pork belly which was served on celery root cole slaw.  The pork belly was akin to large chunks of bacon, with a sweet glaze on the top (the web menu says cherry, but ours had something different, closer to brown sugar)  Eaten with the slaw, which was not too wet, the flavor combination was tantalizing.  The other appetizer we ordered was the mussels.  Again defering to the web menu, they were steamed in a combination of cider, sage and shallots.  Steamer clams is one of my favorite dishes, so as long as it is close and you give me bread to soak up the cooking broth, I'm happy.

Our main entree was a major letdown.  We ordered a ribeye, which the waitress mentioned as a special, and decided to share it.  The sides that came with it were mushroom risotto and green beans.

Now my idea of a good ribeye, especially for the price, is something thick.  By thick, I mean at least 1", up to 2".  This steak came out, they had split it in two (I know, we said we were sharing it, but did not specifically ask for them to plate it on two plates, which they then charged us for) and it was no thicker than 1/2".  I had heard great things about their steaks in reviews, so I was thinking it would be right up there with Mannys.  Not even close.  It was done to our request (medium rare) but was a tougher piece of meat.  Ribeyes should be tender, almost melt in your mouth.  This one did not.  We also like steaks without too much salt.  This one was quite seasoned.  I think that sometimes too much salt is used to hide the quality of the steak.

The risotto side was also disappointing.  Now, if I may say so myself, I make a mean risotto.  I know what it takes to make it work.  One of the problems with knowing how to cook is that my bar is pretty high.  Risotto is not one of those things one makes on a whim.  It takes time.  When we tasted it, there was something not quite right.  Not creamy enough.  And a strange taste.  I finally figured out it was goat cheese.  Looking at the menu online, it does mention the goat cheese.  It just didn't work.  Goat cheese has too pungent a flavor for something like risotto.

We both said we would not go back to the restaurant again.  Had we stopped at the appetizers, we would have had a much different experience.  I could see ordering just appetizers (small plates) in the bar area if we were nearby.  I don't see making a special trip.  I would not revisit the dining room side of the restaurant. 

On a side note, I am glad we had the chance to use our certificate after reading this article.

All of that said, it was still a date night, which is always good.  But the restaurant overall did not live up to what I had expected.

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