At first glance, a communal menu sounds wide-ranging and fantastic with options such as fried chicken and biscuits, red oil beef tartare, and cucumber carpaccio. However, ordering from such a menu can be problematic, since the indicators of value and sizes do not always align with reality. For example, there could be items that cost less than $50 and comfortably feed up to four people. On the other hand, you may find a snack going for about $14 that’s designed more as an appetizer than a meal. In other words, a person might spend $100 and leave with a growling stomach, while another person may spend $50 and leave with a stomach and a lot of leftovers. However, although the pricing and sizes can sometimes appear to be inconsistent (and possibly causing you to worry getting a collections notice — kidding!), the dishes are solidly good and creative.
The Vietnamese-inspired pork ribs going for $14 are one of the most generous items on the snack selection. Crushed cashew top a slaw of celery root and 4 large ribs. A fish sauce caramel and dense ginger marinade coat the tender pork, which falls off the bone and is perfectly cooked. The crispy Brussels sprouts are also something you should try. They are priced at $9 and feature honey-sweetened vegetables with crispy exteriors resembling chips and with an appealing heap of snow-like pecorino.
Ambrose and Eve’s approach to the watermelon salad is straightforward, proving that the establishment’s chefs know when to let classics be. A bed of cubed, one-inch watermelon is served with a chiffonade of mint, sunflower seeds, fine crumbles of feta, and microgreens. All the flavors and textures combine perfectly in this quintessential summer salad.
One of the main meals that are more of a starter is the $14 calamari. This delightfully plated selection looks like thick spaghetti over greens with an expressionist, abstract splash of what resembles squid ink, alongside crispy radish silvers. The noodles are poached tendrils of warm squid that are perfectly balanced by the microgreens, spicy greens, and citrus.
Going for $18, the chicken and dumplings are a match made in heaven and never disappoints. It features 2 small cheese-filled pierogies atop fragrant warm and fresh tomatoes, a fat-fried crusty chicken thigh served in a citrus-kissed broth and roughly chopped basil.
One of the selections with the greatest value is the fried chicken meal. It comes in two sizes; one for two people at $33, and another for four people at $60. The meal features huge pieces of crispy chicken served in a paper bucket, KFC-style alongside 4 excellent buttery biscuits and a jar of house-made hot sauce.
The sides that go with the fried chickens are nothing short of classics: mac & cheese, green beans, and dill potato salad. The green salad is arguably the most delightful of the entire collection with just a kiss of butter and sufficient salt. The rough-cut, mayo-laden potato salad does not have vinegar, but grains of whole mustard more than make up for it. The sizeable portion of mac & cheese is served right from the oven in a small skillet on a trivet that reminds you of grandma. With such an ensemble, the price is hard to beat. The Cherry Fry Pie Dessert is McDonald’s inspired and perfectly combines flaky pastry with house-made buttermilk.