Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Midtown Restuarant week arrives! Review: Repast

I've been looking forward to Midtown Restaurant Week as a way to try restaurants I think of as a bit too pricey for a nothing-special night out. So as soon as I heard it was time, I made reservations at Repast and Cuerno, two places I've been keen try try.

Repast is on Glen Iris, so it's super convenient to our Inman Park hood, and as a Top Chef geek, I appreciate that the first girl eliminated last time was one of their sous chefs. All that said, I had taken a look at the menu before and found it to be a bit too NY-priced for my taste. I moved to Atlanta to save money, not spend just as much as before on restaurants that wouldn't hold up against the likes of Gramercy Tavern or Bouley.

I've enjoyed restaurant week meals many times in NY, and I've found that at their best, they allow you to sample a restaurant's signature dishes at a much reduced price. At their worst, the set menu in no way resembles their normal menu and you leave feeling like you got a cut-rate meal for that cut-rate price. Unfortunately this was the case at Repast.

The restaurant itself is lovely with warm woods and mellow tones. Little sister often complains that even cool restaurants are filled with lame crowds, but I was impressed with the attractive crowd dining at Repast. Plenty of eye candy to go around.

Alas, the 3 entree choices on the restaurant week menu do not appear on the regular menu, so I didn't feel like I was getting to try what they were known for. I ordered the crispy pork. I wasn't envisioning something fried, but it turned out to be a breaded cutlet, akin to what you get when you order a teriyaki combo plate and get that little piece of breaded pork. See the picture above - does that really look like a meal from a high-end restaurant? It came with a not-spicy as promised slaw and homemade ketchup. Tasty enough but definitely not the haute cuisine I'd expect of a place normally charging $25/entree. The boyfriend's salmon was good enough, he said, but nothing special. Our appetizers were better - a grilled halloumi cheese with eggplant (the only thing to actually merit a mention on their real menu) and a tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. The halloumi was arguably my favorite part of the meal.

Our desserts tasted good as nearly all desserts do, but neither was exceptional in any way. My Japanese cheesecake was light but tasted more strongly of lemon than I'd have liked. Nothing I hate more than lemon flavored pastries! The chocolate cake with green tea ice cream tasted like any chocolate cake anywhere, and quite frankly wasn't as good as the molten cake I can make. Did we eat every bite? Of course, but that's because we're dessert gluttons!

We enjoyed our meal, don't get me wrong, but we enjoyed it at no more than a $25/person for 3 courses level. I'd have been much more pleased if the meal could have elevated above that price level to make me feel I was getting a real treat. Had it done so, I would have left wondering what else can I try on this menu instead of feeling like I won't be heading back soon.

So restaurants listen up - use Restaurant Week to show me why I should come back and pay full price. Don't dumb down the menu; it defeats the purpose!

Pros: Sophisticated atmosphere
Cons: Dumbed down restaurant week menu, high prices

Repast
620 Glen Iris Dr NE # C
Atlanta, GA 30308

Repast on Urbanspoon

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