Sunday, September 18, 2011

Romansa Restaurant, Wine Bar & Lounge

I found Romansa Restaurant, Wine Bar & Lounge while searching for Eastern European restaurants. So we went there for dinner. It was OK, some hits, some misses. Definitely interesting.

Romansa has a few Serbian items on their menu, but in general it's a pretty general menu and would please all manner of diners, from steaks and fish to burgers and fries.

We started out with an appetizer, the Beer-Battered Onion Rings. The onion rings were perfect! I nice beer batter was fried to absolute perfection, They were tasty and served piping hot. I would not change a thing abou them. Certainly an American food item through and through, but also done right. There are many chances for error with somethign as simple as onion rings (old oil, under/overcooking, too much/little salt, etc.), but these were done right.

We started of with salads. The salads themselves wer ordinary, iceberg lettuce cut into small squares. I bit of mixed greens would have made the salads a bit exotic. Simple iceberg screams "diner" to me. The were garnished with a bit of carrot and red cabbage, and a slice of tomato. I had the house dressing and it was very good, an oil and vinegar with a somewhat Italian-like combination of herbs and spices, yet some flavors that were not run-of-the-mill and said "exotic" to me. I liked it, outside of the plain iceberg lettuce. My friend Tommy had the Blue Cheese dressing--it was common and ordinary, most likely out of a bottle.

We also had some bread with our meal. It was very good, nice and crusty, and the seasoning on the bread, a flavor theme that ran thoroughout our meal, was also very good.

I ordered two entrees, only because one was available in a small size, and because both were Serbian, a type of food I've never had before, that I recall.  The first was called Cevapi, small, grilled, rolls of minced meat that were spiced with "secret spices. They were served on a very delicious bun of sorts and accompanied by a bit of iceberg lettuce, some chopped onions, and a delicious red pepper and eggplant puree. The meat was very good and also quite spicy, though not in a "hot" sense. It was good with a lot of flavor though perhaps just a bit dry. I'm not sure how you'd keep meat in this condition more moist. But this was quite good actually.

My second (and main) entree was called Pljeskavica, a ground beef patty that was mixed with "secret spices" and stuffed with bacon and cheese. It was tastly and flavorful. It was also just a bit "tough." A steak knife would have helped. I would guess that if you're going to finely grind meat and add spices, then it would be a bit tough. It was tasty and flavorful, however. It was also accompanied by the lettuce, onion, and red pepper/eggplant puree. For a side I ordered the steamed broccoli. Unfortunately what I got was well overcooked broccoli that was a drab green color, cooked well beyond the few minutes of steaming it should have gotten. I think it was over-sauteed. It was edible, but certainly not the great side it could have been. 

My friend Tommy ordered the Roasted Pork Medallions, accompanied by Mashed Potatoes. It was served with a garnish of a leaf of the aforementioned (and overused) iceberg lettuce with a slice of tomato and a few shavings of carrot and red cabbage. The mashed potatoes were pretty ordinary, though appeared "real" and not from a box. The disappointment here was the meat--it was very dry. Like way dry. The BBQ sauce and cheese that topped the medallions added some nice flavors, but the meat itself was dry, very dry, and thus a bit chewy. I would say this dish was a miss in that sense. Pork is hard to cook properly because of its low fat content, and this was a miss.

Our service during our meal was excellent. We were one of only two tables during our meal, but were well taken care of. Our waitress--the ticket says her name was Dragana--certainly knew the food and the menu and took very good care of us, along with another young lady who was "in training." I'd guess that perhaps Dragana is Serbian, she certainly knew the food and the names of the dishes rolled off her tongue quite easily. The prices were decent and the $5 house Merlot was good and an adequate pour.  I'm not sure that I'd go back for the Serbian food for dinner, but I'd certainly like to try them for lunch, they have a nice selection of burgers and other lunch food.       
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