posted Aug 8, 2012, 10:52 AM by Unknown user
updated Aug 8, 2012, 11:03 AM
Has it really been 4 months since the last Vickery Plates blog entry? Well, there is no time like Restaurant Week to start it up again, and what better place than at a restaurant that does not participate in Restaurant Week! ACME F&B is a new restaurant that opened up within walking distance of our neighborhood, on Monticello Ave just on the other side of Central Expressway.
ACME has been creating all kinds of waves in the food blogosphere, mainly because of the dreamteam behind its creation (Good 2 Go Taco and Barcadia). But we're here because we are hiding out from the hordes of rabid Yelp reviewers who have descended upon our part of town from the far-flung leafless suburbs... but they are all at the Restaurant Week participating restaurants this week. And we're not!
The inside of the restaurant inspires all kinds of colorful descriptions. Trendy Rustic.... contemporary rustic.... or even "steampunk farmhouse", as described by one of the owners. That's a great description, steampunk farmhouse describes the quirky metal-meets-lace interior almost perfectly.
To start things off, every table is greeted by the waiter and a complementary aperitf of Lillet. Lillet is a French aperitif wine that contains mostly white Bordeaux wines, and some citrus liqueurs from the peels of sweet and bitter oranges, as well as the addition of a liqueur from Peru which contains quinine! It was quite refreshing and summery, with a velvety sledgehammer effect.
Our waiter proudly asked us if we knew about ACME's "wine program". We had not, so he explained that all the wines are marked up 8-15% over retail, instead of the usual 150% - 300% at many other restaurants. So maybe that was a suggestion for us to try one of the better wines on their list, and we obliged. Jack Larkin 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a big and full bodied cab, with a wonderfully long finish. Our waiter thoughtfully offered to decant the wine for us, seeing the reaction to the first taste.
The appetizer course arrived! Fried artichokes with aioli and pickled tomato salad. We're in Texas and if the August sun doesn't get it first, they'll toss it in a vat of oil and try to fry it. These were delicious, with a great crunchy outside dusted with coarse sea salt and a soft artichoke heart inside that was complimented perfectly by the sauce.
... and yukon skins, with braised beef and horseradish creme fraiche. Very Gastropub, begging to be downed with one of their great draft beers. Note to self... need to return to try out the awesome draft beer selection...
The owners of ACME buy entire animals, and use all of it at their various restaurants. So the menu changes day by day, and occasionally even on the same day! Today we were informed about the various specials, including beef heart schnitzel (which was unadventurously declined), and leg of lamb. But the beef dish of the day was flat iron steak with brisket, with grilled fingerling potatoes and endive salad. The steak was perfectly seared and seasoned, with a delicious wood fired smokey charcoal taste.
Braised Rabbit with Three Onion Risotto. This would be a great dish for those fantasizing about cooler winter weather. Dark and hearty, and the risotto was perfectly creamy.
While we were waiting for dessert, we admired the vintage decor... in particular, the mechanical belt-driven fans above the bar. And the impressions of the original tin ceiling in the old weathered insulation. Very cool!
Dessert arrived! And what a wonderful rustic farmhouse presentation. Pineapple upside down cake, in an iron skillet. So delicious!
... and a banana's foster bread pudding. Who doesn't love bread pudding in a rustic dining room?
A wonderful early evening spent at ACME. We shall be sure to return again.