A Speak Easy in Modern Time


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Williams & Graham on Urbanspoon

Isn’t it funny how all things old become new again?  You’ll feel like you’re walking back into the days of prohibition when you enjoy a cocktail at Williams & Graham in the Highlands.  The storefront is Williams & Graham Bookstore with bright lights and books.  Anyone walking by might think it’s a small shop but definitely nothing special.  Once you’ve walked thru the bookshelf into the backroom you’ll wonder why Speak Easy’s ever went out of style – isn’t everything more fun when it’s secret and taboo!?

Another girl’s night, 6 of us squeezed ourselves into a cozy booth and got comfortable in the mood altering ambiance.  The drinks are really the show stoppers here with such exotic drinks that you’ll need to ask for directions or you might end up with something quite different than you had anticipated.  I almost went with a drink that would have been VERY smoky – campfire-ish – according to the owner/bartender and he steered me to something less bold and definitely more my speed.

Our server for the evening Ali was adorable and friendly, learning all of our names and making our hours of fun that much better.  Kelsey had specifically requested her having had such a great experience her previous visit and she did NOT disappoint.  Sadly, the food did.  Don’t get me wrong – we didn’t send anything back but nothing knocked our socks off either.  At least until the egg sandwich… but more on that later.

The menu is small with limited choices.  This is never a problem, especially for a group like ours – that orders everything we see and shares with the bunch.  We started the meal with Candied Popcorn, Stuffed Eggs and Marinated Olives. The Candied Popcorn was very yummy with almonds, masala caramel, and fleur-de sal.  It was a table pleaser and had almost a spicy after taste if you got the right kernel.  The stuffed eggs were labeled as a family recipe and were just like how you would imagine them to be.  I am NOT a fan of olives – marinated or otherwise.  These happened to be marinated in orange peel, fennel and anise giving it that black licorice taste.  While I tried to be a good sport and try one, I promptly spit it out into my napkin.

We ordered all the menu items in the 2nd section: MAIN.  This consisted of boar bacon, Denver lamb ribs, pheasant, and mahi-mahi.  The mahi-mahi is supposed to be halibut but they were subsisting for the evening.  There were great parts to these dishes but they mainly centered around the sides we received with them.  For example, we couldn’t get enough of the savory bread pudding with cherry Cumberland that came w/ the Pheasant.  The black kale that came w/ the Denver lamb ribs was also incredibly tasty.  Unfortunately, the boar bacon and lamb ribs were very fatty.

There is a 4th section on this menu called: THIRD SHIFT that features 3 different egg sandwiches and is only available from 11pm to 1am.  These are really the showstoppers and sadly only available during this time as the chef does not like to contaminate the grill for the other dinner items.  We were lucky enough to beg our way into one and I would come back during this time again just to order it.  The eggs were cooked perfectly and the running yoke ran out onto the plate for extra dipping.  You can order it plain, with boar bacon or braised lamb.  The meat is totally unnecessary as the eggs are real stars and the same fatty issue from the MAIN section is still an issue in these sandwiches.

We again ordered everything on the dessert menu with was quite eclectic and interesting – bacon beignets, chocolate beet cake, ice cream sandwich and pommes anna which was essentially a deconstructed apple tart.  The oatmeal cookie used for the ice cream sandwich was really amazing and I almost wanted to order one alone.  It was hot and seemed fresh backed – soft and gooey.  The bacon beignets and chocolate beet cake fall into the interesting category and were definitely the kind of desserts that made you take a bite or two to really figure out if you liked it.  We seemed split on the issue. The pommes anna was yummy but I found myself wishing for some crush.

The drinks and company not to mention our fantastic service was really what put this place above another.  I would recommend coming here at 11pm with a friend or love – grabbing a seat at the bar, enjoying a few drinks and of course the egg sandwich.

RATINGS:

Presentation               3

Value                            3

Atmosphere                4.5

Service                       4.5

Taste                          2.5

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