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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dinner at Metrofresh

MetroFresh was a favorite lunch spot for years, but I burned out and have been there infrequently in the last year. And I've rarely been there for dinner at all. Owner Mitchell Anderson expanded the original restaurant's size early this year to increase seating and install a wine bar. (He's also expanded catering operations and, of course, opened a second location in the Botanical Gardens a few years ago.)

Eight of us, surprised to find a parking space in the continually packed Midtown Promenade lot, dined there last Friday. We all ordered from the ever-changing menu of specials. Those who chose the ribeye steak, served with fingerling potatoes and mashed butternut squash, probably made the best decision. But the mahi mahi and grouper produced as many clean plates.

My own choice was a mistake. I know one of my readers has taken me to task for my years of complaining about the carnitas in town. I also know that he's right that I should give up looking. Apologies to him, but I tried again. This go-round, the carnitas were shredded and stuffed inside a burrito. The meat itself had great flavor. Unfortunately, it was all but completely overpowered by those Tex-Mexish spices that used to be especially popular with vegetarian cooks. Like most servings here, the burrito was extra-large. I ended up discarding the tortilla wrapping and poured the side of a mild green sauce over the meat. That helped mask the spices.

I did very much like my "lamb lasagna" soup - a huge bowl that I chose as my appetizer/side. It would have been perfectly adequate as an entrée with some bread. A friend who eats regularly at MetroFresh says the restaurant frequently does "interesting things" with lamb.

I'm always a bit surprised to see red-meat dishes on the menus of restaurants with a "healthy" orientation, but they are certainly the minority at MetroFresh, and typically made with sourced and grass-fed meat. The restaurant has expanded its menu vastly over its seven years of business, but soups, salads, and sandwiches remain the core items.

The staff is as hospitable as ever, still drawing on the city's pool of actors, although the cashier Friday night was a medical school student. We calculated that he'd finish just in time for single-payer healthcare to replace Obamacare, if it ever crawls out of its cyber prison.

BONUS INFO: I noted on the MetroFresh blog Wednesday that CNN was filming at the restaurant that morning. Anderson writes:

CNN is coming to film this morning in about 20 minutes for HLN. They're doing a story on healhty eating and where else would you go but MetroFresh. So we'll be on national TV - that's kind of exciting. I don't know when the story is going to air, but if I find out in time, I'll pass along the info so you can see your favorite cafe on the tube.

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