...not completely so.
In our first foray into the "finer dining" realms of Richmond, we visited the bank building-turned-restaurant appropriately named "Bank" with a [dine] after it like a pret-a-manger Eat. A not-so-subliminal message or a warning to someone who might stumble in actually wanting to conduct a financial transaction?
First looks: Very pleasing decor, old-world lighting with an interesting bar bisecting the floor, high vaulted (pun intended) ceilings, cool marble floors and a generally majestic ambience. Large red banners and (what we thought a bit Ikea-ish) paintings on the walls contemporized it a little. The place apparently turns into a club after 10 playing house, top 40 etc. The waitstaff were milling around on what was a strangely empty restaurant for a Saturday night. Apparently, we were informed, the city empties on holiday weekends. So we got seated at an excellent table with a view of the (meager) goings-on below.
The menu was a laminated diner-esque piece, a bit surprising considering. The wine list was also a bit sparse on the wines/glass. I settled for a sauvignon blanc. Nonetheless, the food actually looked like someone took some effort and creativity into preparation. So....good !
The scallop appetizer with apple puree and braised pork belly was excellent! The scallops were actually perfectly done (something that is a bit of a rarity in many places) and the trio vanished in no time. We waited in anticipation for our entrees. We had the tenderloin and the rainbow trout (is this my second time with this fish in this town?).
The first impression- it looked like the entrees were from a completely different kitchen! The appetizer was tastefully presented and here were the two large entrees looking rather uninspiredly put together. Portion sizes again, were very large (a recurring theme in this city) and we were glad we split the appetizer. In fact, the heaping of food looked quite unbecoming of a restaurant that had just presented us with such a well constructed appetizer.
The tenderloin was quite good, the meat well prepared, easy to the touch of the knife and pleasing but the accompaniments quite dull. My adventure with the trout wasnt quite as positive. The fish was a bit too "fishy" and a cilantro sauce (which I presumed would jazz up the dish) was missing in action. The green sauce slobbered on the trout had barely a hint of taste. The fingerling potatoes were fine but the net effect was one that didnt excite the palate one bit.
The dessert menu was a bit disappointing too with some very boring and unimaginative chocolate-type dishes. All 4 of them I should say, in what was surely a limited array of options. Stuffed as we were, we got a flourless raspberry chocolate that turned out to be another heavy creation, albeit modest in taste and presentation. This place could certainly invest in a pastry chef.
Bottom Line: C+. Bank offered great promise. Nice decor, service was good (our waitress forgot to refill our glasses, despite the lack of traffic) but she was pleasant and things moved along well. However, the food was a trifle disappointing, especially after a good start.
The check was in the neighborhood of $100 for two. Maybe club Bank might be worth a visit.
Friday, September 7, 2007
...not completely so.