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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Life + Arts

Only the dessert menu will leave you Raven

Located on the north end of the village, the Raven Grill sits tucked away in the corner of a strip of boutique shops serving up dishes with Tex-Mex influences.

The interior resembles a modern day bistro, with a modest selection of wine and a quaint patio. Unfortunately, this is one of the few good things about the restaurant.

After being seated, our waitress came to the table with bread and butter, which wasn’t warm or toasted in the least bit.

From the menu, the Ceviche and Tuna Carpaccio caught my eye, and were brought to us fairly quickly.

At first glance with the Carpaccio, I saw it was sliced thick, when a traditional Carpaccio is meant to be paper-thin slices. But this was thick steak strips and with the bed of greens it appeared to be more of a salad, which would be perfectly fine if called that.

Misnomers aside, it was a pretty tasty dish; it had a nice dressing with some acidity and a hint of wasabi, although I could have done without the bits of tuna tendon left on the fish.

The Ceviche is advertised to have a Texas influence to it. Looking down at the plate, I saw a lovely Ceviche with fish cured in lime juice with a crown of tortilla chips surrounding it, making the portion size of the ceviche looking that much smaller … where is Texas being presented in this dish?

After the appetizers, the main course was brought to the table: a bowl of pot roast with two slices of toasted sourdough bread followed by a plate of red fish tacos with rice and black beans.

The Pot Roast was rich and full of flavor. It was a bowl full of root vegetables and beef swimming in a thick ocean of port wine sauce, though it was very heavy especially for the dinner menu. I wished the portion size was smaller. I know that this is Texas, but this was a big bowl of pot roast.

As for the fish tacos, I have never seen an entire dish be an absolute let down, from the seasoning to the side dishes to the price.

The tacos had a chipotle mayonnaise that completely overpowered the taco, leaving the other ingredients to be experienced through texture.

When dealing with chipotle, you should always use it sparingly when you are trying to blend it with other flavors, otherwise you are left with a single note dish.

As for the price, it was $17 for two fish tacos — need I say more? I don’t care if God opened a taco stand selling the greatest tacos ever created, they still wouldn’t cost $17.

For the dessert, I selected in similar fashion to a trailer park preparing for tornado season; hoping for the best and expecting the worst. I had no idea what I was in for.

The blueberry with coconut tart and the cherry crisp arrived at the table, both served with a side of vanilla bean ice cream.

These two dishes, for lack of a better word, were perfect.

It is astounding how poor the previous dishes were, nearly bringing my morale down to nothing. However, thanks to the dessert, it had changed my recommendation from, “stay away” to “you must have the dessert”.

The blueberry is encrusted with a soft warm blanket of crust and soaks up the ice cream, creating a perfect bite every time

Tart cherries topped with toasted nuts are balanced by the sweet creamy flavor of the vanilla bean ice cream, my favorite part of the entire meal.

While Raven Grill has many faults, they are not impossible to fix. If the chef was only to taste the food and check the seasoning, half of the problems would be sorted out.

The menu looks to be full of interesting dishes and gives a feel of a rustic Texas-style bistro. The dishes simply need more refinement and prices need to be reset to a much more affordable range. Although the dessert was phenomenal, it did not save the entire dinner and certainly was not worth the $70 check.

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