Looking for a dinner spot one night and having sampled their brunch recently, I tried to corral some friends into dining at the newly reopened Maribelle’s Eat+ Drink. I was met with “Eh”. Hmmm, I was confused. The dinner menu looked delectable, the space was adorable and they had a full bar; what could be bad?
It seems Maribelle’s was suffering from “Former Location-itis”. It happens to the best of revamped restaurants. Maribelle’s (then known as Maribelle’s Tavern) was located on Riverside Drive, close-ish to downtown. As I understand from a few friends, the dining experience was nothing to write home about. Having never dined there, I couldn’t comment on the Riverside Drive location. All I knew was the Maribelle’s Eat+Drink in Oakley had a freaking awesome brunch and I wanted to eat dinner there, stat.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, 7pm, Maribelle’s. Myself and two friends settled ourselves into one of the center restaurant’s cozy high-top tables. As with my brunch experience, service could not have been nicer or more accommodating (especially when we asked to switch tables to avoid a polar vortex draft that was sneaking in under the door).
The menu is split into “Starters, Salads, Sandwiches and Sides” and they offer a daily rotating Specials menu that includes more hearty entrees. Always one to prefer a couple of sides over a main course; this menu suited me perfectly.
I had heard lovely things about the wine list; but alas, I stuck with my usual glass of bubbly (which was divine).
Between the three of us we decided to share two appetizers and a few entrées as it recommended:
Duck Fat Chicken Legs – NC honey + Greek dill yogurt + hellfire + celery root puree
Oh my LordandTaylor, these were INCREDIBLE. Imagine the most succulent, moist chicken legs ever that have been confited in DUCK fat for hours…then quickly fried to attain an absolute perfect crisp. Drizzle on some cooling, savory yogurt sauce and serve atop super creamy and delicate celery root puree and yeah, you’ve got what you see above. These were SO good, that one of my friends decided he needed this for entrée too. Yes, you read that correctly, after sharing this gorgeous plate among three of us, he ordered ANOTHER plate for his dinner. Sold, yet?
Brussels Sprouts – toasted walnut + caper + shaved fennel + balsamic + fried egg
As often discussed, I’ll eat anything with a fried egg. So putting a perfectly runny fried egg over crispy, savory Brussels sprouts is definitely my kind of thing. These little fried, cracking bites were like Brussels Sprouts chips with the rich egg running over the top.
I want to stick my fork through the computer.
And then we had entrées. I know, totally gluttony.
I opted for one of the starters on the Specials menu (for slight upcharge they will increase the portion to dinner-sized, which I did, since we were sharing)
Pan Seared Scallops – butter poached tomato + smoked bacon aioli + almond gremolata
Smoked Bacon Aioli? Seriously? I could have just stopped right there. The scallops were perfectly cooked, lush bites of scallop-goodness that operated as a perfect vehicle for SMOKED BACON AIOLI. Sorry, just wanted to make that clear.
In addition the “entrée” Chickn Legs for my friend, my other pal ordered the
Skin-on Seared Salmon – butternut squash puree + cous cous + purple spinach+ brown butter
I was too busy shoveling in my tender, delightful scallops; but I did have a bite of the salmon and it was flavorful and as well-executed as the rest of the meal.
If you have any lingering “Former Location-itis” from Maribelle’s on Riverside, I say get over it and get over to the Oakley location ASAP.
Before all the Duck Fat Chicken Legs are gone.