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Columbia, Missouri


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Hi, a friend wants to know, for the special occasion: Sycamore or Les Bourgeois? She couldn't get reservations at Sophia's or Trattoria Strada Nova (sp?). As I haven't been to Columbia in ages, I had no clue, so I thought I'd offer it to the board for discussion.

Thanks, u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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I haven't been to Sycamore yet, but I love Les Bourgeois. And the view is awesome. I'd pick it just on ambience alone. Also, if she likes Sophia's, she might try its sister restaurant Addisons.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I haven't been to Sycamore yet, but I love Les Bourgeois. And the view is awesome. I'd pick it just on ambience alone. Also, if she likes Sophia's, she might try its sister restaurant Addisons.

Thanks emilyr:

I will be a guest at table, but I will offer Les Bourgeois on ambience. I've read about Sycamore and the food, at least, seems like a compelling reason to visit - sweetbreads. Yum. :biggrin:

Any other suggestions?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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have you thought of cherry street wine cellar? I just had a wonderful dinner there the other night and reservations would still be a possibility probably.

For an appetizer I had a wonderful Pan seared coriander and peppercorn encrusted kangaroo served with spiced black beans, grilled bok choy and smoked Missouri apple compote and sweet potato gaufrettes. My entree was Sautéed sweetbreads and poached king crab legs with a caramelized onion veal glaze over Persian butter beans and lemon garlic sautéed swiss chard also very tasty.

I do enjoy sycamore, but I think the offerings at cherry street are some of the best and most original in town.

573.442.7281

http://www.winecellarbistro.com/

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babern38

I :wub: you.

Veal Sweetbreads and King Crab    $25

Sautéed sweetbreads and poached king crab legs with a caramelized onion veal glaze over Persian butter beans and lemon garlic sautéed swiss chard

Wow. I'll offer it as a suggestion. But, I think she's decided on Les Bourgeois. Everyone says the ambience is too good to pass up. I would rather have sweetbreads and crab...

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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U.E.

I noticed on your flickr account that you wound up going to Sycamore. Unfortunately you didn't have many comments on the pictures so I was interested to hear what you thought. I've never been there when they offered sweetbreads before, but those looked great!!

babern38

:wub:  you.

Veal Sweetbreads and King Crab     $25

Sautéed sweetbreads and poached king crab legs with a caramelized onion veal glaze over Persian butter beans and lemon garlic sautéed swiss chard

Wow. I'll offer it as a suggestion. But, I think she's decided on Les Bourgeois. Everyone says the ambience is too good to pass up. I would rather have sweetbreads and crab...

u.e.

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babern38.

Yes, sorry, the weekend sucked the life out of me, and well, the week before Christmas did the rest. I'll try to report in detail more (or at least update my flickr in detail) later, but just to give you the skinny:

1. Being graduation weekend, the restaurant was PACKED... and service, unfortunately, was slow, slow, slooooowwww... there was a good 1/2 wait between our starters and our main courses. The worst part was, the food was just that side of cold to be displeasing.

2. The veal sweetbreads were cold, and therefore, had gone a bit tough. They had been sauteed and then sauced with an unusually sweet sherry sauce - think a very light teriyaki sauce. It came with some nice meaty slivers of shiitake mushrooms. The crispy potato strings atop were cold and soggy by the time they came out. Boo!

3. Lobster pot pie was a whole lotta potatoe and puff pastry. It was also coldish.

4. The best main course was mine - the sea scallops with a shiitake "lo mein," which tended to be a bit greasy. But, the scallops were large and perfectly cooked. The smoked duck breasts (two) were also a clear winner - the bourbon pecan sweet potatoes were addictive - sticky, gooey and wonderful.

6. The cassoulet was a conundrum. The beans were perfect, and full of flavor - but had some unusual spices - cinnamon? nutmet? Not quite sure, but it had somewhat Morroccan flare. The duck confit was wonderful, but the grilled bits of lamb were very dry.

Desserts were large and in charge. I loved the one bite of the carrot cake that I got - it was very dense and moist - full of nuts and bits of dried fruits. The pumpkin cheesecake pleased most everyone, except me - I don't care for cheesecakes, and Sycamore's was the textbook cheesecake - more cheesy than pumpkin.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, if anyone is interested, how would you order these Columbia "fine dining" restaurants in terms of preference:

Jack's Gourmet: http://www.jacksgourmetrestaurant.com/

Sycamore: http://www.sycamorerestaurant.com/

CC's City Broiler: http://www.ccscitybroiler.com/

Les Bourgeois: http://www.missouriwine.com/BlufftopBistro.asp

Village Wine and Cheese: http://www.villagewineandcheese.com/

Chris McD's: (website is down) http://www.chrismcds.com/index.asp

Cherry Street Wine Cellar: http://www.winecellarbistro.com/

Trattoria Strada Nova: http://www.trattoriastradanova.com/

Grand Cru: http://www.grand-cru.biz/

Churchill's Gourmet: http://www.restaurant.com/microsite.asp?rid=315726

I haven't been to all of them, and of the ones I've been to, I've had mixed experiences, so I'm interested to hear what others think.

Edited by A Patric (log)
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1.Cherry Street Wine Cellar: http://www.winecellarbistro.com/ - my last meal here was by far some of the best tasting and original food I've ever had in Columbia.

2. Trattoria Strada Nova: http://www.trattoriastradanova.com/ - Its been awhile since I've been here, but they always have good tasting food that is far from the norm seen in Columbia. Great wine list as well.

3. Sycamore: http://www.sycamorerestaurant.com/ - one of my favorites. best short ribs in town.

4. Les Bourgeois: http://www.missouriwine.com/BlufftopBistro.asp - the setting is beautiful, food is usually good but aims to be haute cuisine and comes up a little short. I think they try too hard.

5. Chris McD's: (website is down) http://www.chrismcds.com/index.asp - steaks and seafood usually done pretty well. bayou shrimp are the BEST!!

6. Churchill's Gourmet: http://www.restaurant.com/microsite.asp?rid=3157267. - I haven't eaten here since Valentine's day 3 years ago, but really enjoyed the meal and thought the service was great. All ladies received a rose upon leaving. I've been meaning to go here again on a normal night to check out the menu.

7. Jack's Gourmet: http://www.jacksgourmetrestaurant.com/ - great room and steaks.

8. Village Wine and Cheese: http://www.villagewineandcheese.com/ - I probably should have ranked this higher, because everything has always been good here. I live the creamy feta dressing and its nice they frequently change their entrees. Great desserts.

9. CC's City Broiler: http://www.ccscitybroiler.com/ - pretty good steaks, but overpriced. Also the inside dining room is way too cramped and the service has often been subpar.

10. Grand Cru: http://www.grand-cru.biz/ - pretty crappy in my opinion. service is usually down, food usually cold and too expensive for the quality. I can't believe this place stayed open this long.

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Well, it looks like I have some work to do then. I still haven't been to the first two on your list. Luckily, I haven't been to the last one either (and don't plan on it). I've been thinking about going to the Cherry Street Wine Cellar, so it looks like I'll have to make the effort to do so.

In other Columbia food news, a new Mexican restaurant has opened up on Nifong called Taqueria El Rodeo. It is run by a Mexican man from Jalisco State who worked at the El Maguey across the street for 7 years while he saved up the money for his business. I went in and talked to him the other day, and there are some interesting things about his restaurant that make it unique when compared to the other Mexican restaurants in the area, all of which are bordering on terrible on my opinion (though I haven't been to Carlito's).

So, here are some differences:

1) El Rodeo is the only restaurant to serve Mexican breakfast in Columbia

2) They make their own chorizo in-house

3) They make their sauces and salsas in-house

4) This coming week they are going to begin making their flour and corn tortillas in-house

5) They actually have more than tacos, burritos, and the like. For example, there are a number of traditional Jalisco dishes that one wouldn't be able to find at the other restaurants. One example is a Jalisco-style chile relleno with a potato mixture in the middle, another is a Jaliso-style shrimp dish with potato side.

6) They offer meats other than ground beef, pork and chicken in their tacos. For example, they have tongue, pork skin, and meat prepared al pastor-style, and carnitas meat. Again, though common in Mexico, none of the other Columbia restaurants seem to offer these choices.

The list goes on and on.

That said, I still haven't had the opportunity to eat there, but it is on my short list of places to eat at in Columbia. I also need to get back to Classy's and see what they have on their menu at the moment.

Babern38, or anyone else, have you tried Felix's since they have done the final remodel and fully switched to a "Greek Restaurant?" I have never liked their food, but I'm wondering if it has gotten any better. No doubt Greek food can be excellent, but I haven't found any excellent Greek food in Columbia yet...not even close.

Edited by A Patric (log)
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First, I wasn't aware of the new mexican restaurant opening, but those differences you mentioned definitely warrant a visit in the near future. I'm always looking for a better mexican spot in town.

Second, I've never been to Classy's as when I had glanced at there menu in passing I didn't think it seemed anything special. Is it worth a try?

Third, I went to Felix's when it first open and was called Felini's. I remember the scary gypsy woman preparing the food. It reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where the Griswald's are in paris and eat at the tourist restaurant and they are opening T.V. Dinners in back and putting them on a plate with a little french flag for decoration. The only thing worth returning for was the butterless cake that was both the size and density of a real brick, but tasted amazing.

fourth, personally I think International Cafe has the best Greek Food in town. Their lamb dinner is wonderful and I think they have the best tzanziki I've had anywhere.

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Second, I've never been to Classy's as when I had glanced at there menu in passing I didn't think it seemed anything special.  Is it worth a try?

Third, I went to Felix's when it first open and was called Felini's.  I remember the scary gypsy woman preparing the food.  It reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where the Griswald's are in paris and eat at the tourist restaurant and they are opening T.V. Dinners in back and putting them on a plate with a little french flag for decoration.  The only thing worth returning for was the butterless cake that was both the size and density of a real brick, but tasted amazing.

fourth, personally I think International Cafe has the best Greek Food in town.  Their lamb dinner is wonderful and I think they have the best tzanziki I've had anywhere.

Regarding Classy's, it is definitely worth a try. The ambiance is not great, but the service seems always to be excellent, the chef knows what he is doing and there is always at least something on the menu that looks quite tasty (often many things). I'd recommend at least stopping by to see the menu during lunch sometime soon, and I think that you might rethink giving it a try.

As far as the International Cafe goes, I have eaten there about 4 times now and every time I have found it to be abysmal. Maybe I have the worst luck in the world, or maybe I keep choosing things at which they don't excel. I'll have to give them another try.

On a different note, have you tried Taj Mahal; not the buffet, which isn't good, but their various dishes? The service is almost always really (rreeaallyy) slow, but I've had so much good food there, from their various vegetarian curries, to the chicken dishes, appetizers, and countless types of bread, it is by far the best Indian restaurant I've eaten at in any city.

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I live in Moberly and work in Columbia, so most of my eating here is done either as delivery to work or with my friends going out. We're still pretty young and broke most of the time, so I haven't been to many of these place more than once or twice, but here's what I think:

Les Bourgeois - I've only been to the bistro once, and I agree with the trying too hard comment, but their food is always good according to friends and family who've dined there more than once. The view is the best in the area and the service is good. My friends and I usually go to the A-Frame, an outdoor seating area on the blufftops, also on the winery property. You can get a basket lunch (suasage, cheese, bread, mustard, apple, I think) and a bottle of wine and just enjoy the view. They used to allow carried in other snacks too, but I'm not sure if you can anymore.

Jack's Gourmet - I have only eaten here for a wedding rehearsal dinner, but it was pretty fabulous. This was just over 2 years ago and the chef was new at the time. I keep meaning to go back; the atmosphere is really cool and old school. I feel like ordering a martini everytime I go by!

Village Wine and Cheese - I haven't been in since they started offering dinner, but got lunch here with friends a few times (unfortch in my pre-21 years). It was good, and usually offers different tastes than what you usually see around here. The radio stations I work for run their ads and they always tempt me.

I went to Grand Cru and CC's each once for prom parties, but even at that age I could tell that they were overpriced and not very good for what they charge. They're both old school Columbia, and will probably stay open forever.

Felini's - I drove by the other day and it still said Felini, so I don't think it's switched names yet. I haven't eaten here since the belly dancing stage, but my dad works with the brother of the new owners (the third or fourth since it opened) and has eaten lunch there a few times. He really likes it, but I can't speak to authenticity; as far as I know, the owners are from Kosovo but of Greek descent (or just Greek enthusiasts? Now I'm not sure.). The menu outside looks really good. I like the coffe shop on 9th street next to the Blue Note (The Coffee Zone??) for the occassional Mediterranean dish. They make pretty good spanakopita and have good lunch specials.

Some of my other picks:

Boone Tavern - They're pretty consistent. Not fantastic, but good. This is a good place to bring a group and do really exvellent catering. I like their barbeque pork sandwiches (they bring them for office meetings every once in awhile).

Booches - If you're in Columbia, you MUST eat a Booches Burger at least once. 'Nuff Said.

Flat Branch - A good brewery with pretty standard brewpub foods. I like their hearth baked pizzas and their heffeweisse (sp?). This is just a fun place to hang out, but on the weekend it can be hard to get a table (esp. if there's a Tiger game).

SkyHI Bar and Grill - This place is pretty new, and I haven't been in there yet, but I've ordered their brick oven pizzas from work a few times. I think it's cool the varieties you can get. The thai curry with shimp is fun!

Okii Mama - Thisis a pan-Asian place over in the Peachtree area. The first few times I ate there, I was under the impression it was a chain - it's sandwiched between a Panera and a Sherwin-Williams paint store - but it's apparently not. I am totally addicted to their wasabi chicken and haven't had ANYTHING bad here yet. I eat here a lot - sometimes going WAY out of my way to pick up dinner.

Grill 1Five is good for drinks and not bad for dinner, we go there for for birthdays fairly often, especially heading down to the Penguin for a party.

Sushi at Sake downtown is good, but my friends and I like Osaka better.

Sophia and Addison's really impress me every time I go in. I've only been to each twice, but like them all the time. I heard Addison's is hiring a chef if anyone is interested.

On date night hit Ragtag theater for the hummus dip, a good beer, and their really good popcorn (oh, yeah, and cool indie flicks).

Ummm...That's all I can think of right now. I admit, I eat a lot at chain places around town, but it's kinda my New Year's Resolution to eat more around me. Local foods and businesses, so we'll see. I'm pretty interested in Taqueria El Rodeo, as I like Jalisco style Mexican. From most of what I've heard about Sycamore and its service, I'll probably skip it unless we want to go somewhere nice just for dessert.

(geez - this is WAY longer than I meant it to be! :blink: )

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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good call on Booche's, best burgers ever!!

Have you ever been to Mugs up? They do great work there too. Its an old fashioned drive-in (like sonic) thats been in town for around 50 years. Its only open in the summer when its warmer for the servers to come out to your car. Their specials include the cheese zip which is their hamburger, where the meat is loosley packed and its like a nacho cheese on top. They also have chili buns, which is a hot dog bun with their homemade beanless chili (no hotdog). Homemade cherry cokes also a plus. They are located almost right behind the El Maguey on business loop. just turn into the parking lot with the white building next to El Maguey and drive behind it. I think they should re-open in may or so.

I also am looking forward to El Rodeo. I know its been there for a while, but I've never heard anyone eating there and its always empty or closed when I drive by. Given its differences from other places i hope it does well, but its kind of a crappy location given its in the middle of three other places within .5miles.

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Regarding the Taqueria, I hope that they can stick around too. The only time I was there, to talk to the owner, there were certainly people there, but it was near closing time and there weren't too many people. I did read on-line at Chowhound that when someone else was there the diners were primarily Mexican and/or latino/latina and the dining room was pretty full. That sounds like another good sign to me.

I would recommend, if at all possible, waiting about another week so that they can get their home-made tortillas squared away, and then when you go in, it might be a good idea to talk to the owner (thirty-something, mustache, bigger guy, really friendly) about what types of things he recommends. He is really big on ''authenticity'' regarding Jalisco cuisine especially, so I doubt he would steer you wrong.

Again, I haven't eaten there yet, but it sounds/looks so promising that I have high hopes.

My fingers are crossed!

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what exactly are the hallmarks of Jaliso cuisine?  How does it differ from others?

Well, I'd talk to the owner about that as he seemed to be quite willing to discuss Jalisco cuisine, and quite proud of it too. He mentioned a number of things to me, but I don't recall them all. From what he said, the sauces and salsas are slightly different, and some dishes that we are familiar with would have qualities particular to Jalisco, like the chiles rellenos that he mentioned as having potato in them.

Unfortunately my source for info on Mexican cuisine in English has nothing on Jalisco, and my Spanish is not good at all, but I do own the Diccionario Enciclopedico de Gastronomia Mexicana by Ricardo Munoz Zurita, and here are some things that I have gleaned:

Jaslisco is apparently the land of tequila, pozole and beer. I do recall the owner mentioning the home-made pozole as being special. Chilaquiles are quite popular as are enchiladas de picadillo, flautas, and a special pico de gallo that is unlike what one finds elsewhere in Mexico. Shrimp dishes and soups seem to be quite numerous, and El Rodeo has a few dishes and soups featuring shrimp. In fact, they have about 5 soups, and though a couple are only available on weekends (again...made fresh).

It also seems like potato accompaniments are common and this seems to be the case by the looks of the menu too. Since I have the menu in front of me, I'll go into a bit more detail regarding what I mentioned the other day:

The choice of fillings for antojitos:

azada, pastor, tripas, lengua, pollo, jamon, pierna, chorizo, nopales, milaneza, barbacoa, chicharron

Beer selection:

Corona and light, Dos Equis dark or light, Pacifico, Tecate, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial, Bohemia

Keeping fingers crossed still.

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I have been in Taqueria Rodeo several times and sincerely hope they make it because the food is terrific. It is a welcome change from the other Mexican Food places we have in town. There is (or was) another Mexican food restaurant/grocery store in town in what used to be the Paris Road Bar and Grill. I assume it is still open. We went in right after they first opened and at that time, it was a little frustrating because they had no menus, did not speak English and we speak no Spanish. I have no idea what we ended up ordering but I have to say that it was out of this world. Truly a treat. I wish I could figure out what it was!

We went to Casablanca today for Mediterranean food and I was glad to see them busy. I have heard that the Cherry Street Artisan sells gallons of hummus each week but I much prefer what they make at Casablanca. They leave out the cumin which makes all the difference to me between edible and inedible hummus.

I'm not a big fan of Jack's Gourmet. I guess I had heard for years about how wonderful the place was and after finally going in for a special occasion, it seemed to be pretty ordinary.

I edited this because I wanted to put in a plug for McKenzie's restaurant as well! I have no affiliation with them but it is a restaurant we can actually walk to which makes it nice for us. They are located on North 63 in the little shopping area with Jasons Frozen Custard and the Movie Gallery. It is a small intimate restaurant with steaks, chops and some seafood selections I believe. It's a nice romantic place to go on date night with my husband! The owner used to own at least one restaurant downtown and I want to say it was Fat Otters but I will need to check my facts on that.

Edited by Velma (log)
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I have been in Taqueria Rodeo several times and sincerely hope they make it because the food is terrific. 

Good to hear! I'll give it a try this week.

Regarding Casablanca, I hadn't heard of that restaurant before your post. Is it fairly new? How would you rate it overall?

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Regarding Casablanca, I hadn't heard of that restaurant before your post.  Is it fairly new?  How would you rate it overall?

I probably should have called it Middle Eastern food because it is owned by the people who own the Middle Eastern grocery down by the Mosque (I'm assuming they are still the owners-I have not heard anything to the contrary.) Anyway, it isn't new-they have been open for four or five years I would guess. It is in the shopping center in the south part of town where Hemingways is. I have to say that I only get the hummus and baba ganoush because I crave it and can't find it anywhere else in town. My husband ordered a falafel wrap with lentil soup and he really liked both of them. I have also seen things like Kofta on the menu, offerings with chicken or lamb, and they have other soups and salads as well. In addition, they have a wide variety of teas as well as Turkish coffee. If you need a caffeine pickup, WOW...the Turkish coffee will do the trick!

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Well considering that it seems there are a few foodies here that are familiar with Columbia, I wonder if you'd all be interested in picking your favorite restaurants of many different genres?

The only rules are that the restaurants must be local ones--not a national chain--and that if you haven't been to a good restaurant for a certain genre, leave it blank. Feel free to add a genre if I've left something off. I'll start:

Hamburgers: Booche's

Thai: Bangkok Gardens

Vietnamese: Chinese Wok Express

Japanese: Sake

Steak: CC's City Broiler

Bar Food: Flatbranch

Sandwiches: Was Rootcellar, but they don't have sandwiches anymore

High-End Dining Misc: Sycamore

Breakfast: Uprise

Bread: Uprise

Indian: Taj Mahal

Desserts: Flatbranch (that stout brownie sundae is amazing)

Ice Cream/Frozen Custard: Scoop's

Pizza:

Mexican:

BBQ:

Mediterranean/Greek:

Middle-Eastern:

Chinese:

Italian:

French:

Spanish:

Southern/Soulfood:

Cajun:

Seafood:

South American Misc:

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Hamburgers: Booche's

Thai: Bangkok Gardens

Japanese: Sake

Steak: CC's City Broiler

Bar Food: Flatbranch

Sandwiches: Village Wine and Cheese for lunch has some good options

High-End Dining Misc: Cherry Street Wine Cellar

Desserts: Village Wine and Cheese - don't change much but always good

Pizza: Italian Village

Mexican: Currently, La Tolteca - could change with Taqueria

Mediterranean/Greek: International Cafe

Chinese: House of Chow or Q's

Italian: Pasta factory or Bambino's - neither are that great though, but the only local-owned italian I can think of

French: Cherry Hill Brasserie - Frog Legs w. morels were great

Cajun: none that aren;t chains

Seafood:Chris McD's

South American Misc: Gaucho Churasscaria - only been once and was just okay

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No one has mentioned Murry's in this thread. Has it gone downhill? I remember it as one of the consistently best places in town, quality ingredients and professional service.

JB

I've had good meals there, but also many average meals there, especially when taking into account their desserts, which I find to be consistently underwhelming. In my experience the food is very reasonably priced, but the service is also often sub-par. Overall, I'd say it is a top choice for budget eating, and certainly from a price to quality standpoint, is excellent. That's my take on it at least.

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