New Girl in Town

In a little local strip mall near us, there is Wences, a restaurant we have liked for years.  Also, there is a sushi bar, a Round Table pizza and a little Italian joint we never were interested in enough to check out.  Then two days ago I notice that it had become an entirely new bar/restaurant by the name of Wise Girl (feminism having come to the Mob, I guess.)  Tonight I took Gail there for dinner.

The site has been completely remodeled, giving an old time feel that my father would have loved–everything is dark, with red leather and heavy wood.  The ceiling is gold colored hammered tin, the entryway is decorated with 50 year old photos of the eateries owned by the father and grandfather of the current host, a woman named Angela.

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It’s darker than this, but that would make a lousy photo

Seven o’clock tonight the place was about half full, which isn’t bad considering they’ve been open only 2 weeks.  There is one big room containing both the dining tables and a full bar, with a couple of big TV’s so you can watch the Warriors game.  People were eating at the bar as well as the tables.  The south end of the room has two table for 8 and can be curtained off for private parties.

It’s a bar, it’s a local joint, it’s casual.  Real napkins, no table linen.  The candle on the table is real, not electric.  Your server’s name is Barbara.

We started by sharing the butter lettuce salad.  The aforementioned lettuce, sliced pears, nuts, cheese, some kind of dressing.  A decent, not brilliant, combination. For sharing we each received a huge bowl of salad, we could have shared this thing 4 ways easily.

I had the braciole (pronounced, in my house at least, as “brazzjole”).  At Wise Girl, this is a piece of rib steak rolled around cheese and prosciutto and pan fried, served with some properly cooked veggies and a portion of pasta alio y olio, oil and garlic.  Sort of an Italian, beef based cordon bleu.

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Not the way mother made it, but quite decent.

I should never order this dish, because nothing could possibly measure up to the memory of the way my mother made it.  It was always my favorite, and time improves the good things.

Nonetheless, the Wise Girl Braciole was just fine and I loved the pasta.  Don’t be thrown off by my nostalgic maunderings.

If there is prime rib on the menu Gail is most likely to order it, and tonight was no exception.  Prime rib is on the menu every night after 4 pm.  For $26 it’s a hell of a good deal.

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That’s a huge slab of beef

Gail ordered her beef “medium” and medium she got.  The baked potato was a dud, not hot and topped with cheap cheese and bacon.  The portion size was incredible–we’ll have lunch on this for 2 days.  The accompanying horse radish was particularly spicy, if you like that sort of thing.  Gail had very good things to say about the au jus, which most likely means they actually make it in house and not just serve “Sysco #6 dipping sauce, beef”.

So we’re happy with the new place.  The food is all you could want in a local eatery, service was prompt and friendly, they even provide an ice tea spoon to stir with. (I once had to speak to the maitre d’hotel on the Queen Mary II to get an ice tea spoon. These things matter.)

Wise Girl is open 7 days a week from 11 am, serving lunch and dinner, at 1932 Oak Park Blvd in Pleasant Hill.

 

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