Square One: New American Table

Published by Miss Prissy on April 9th, 2013 - in Restaurant Reviews
So hey, FINALLY a restaurant review! Actually, this post covers 3 things: the soft opening, a dinner, and a lunch.  Let’s just say I’m making up for lost time :)The Handsome Captain™ and I SO-7

have been awaiting the new Square One since this past January 17.  No, I do not have an uncanny memory.  I remember this date because we were at our friend Mike’s going away party when the news broke at Grand Vin: Carmelo and Carolyn of The Bottlecap Groove Lounge (also formerly of La Trattoria) and Dominique of Banana Café were the new owners of Square One.  Further news was that they were renovating the restaurant and redeveloping the menu.  The old Square One had it’s followers, certainly.  I can’t say Greg and I hated the place because  we’ve definitely had worse food.  It’s just that we never thought the menu was especially inspiring and it seemed the prices were high for the quality.  We were so excited for this overhaul.

 

Fast forward to March 2, the soft opening of Square One: New American Table at 1075 Duval Street (Duval Square).  Lots of peeps were there and early!SO-1

 

SO-2

 

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SO-3Did I say there were lots of people?  We think the whole city was invited.

 

SO-4And we locals were sure bellying up to the food trough.  Well, not us personally as it was a bit crowded to hang indoors.  We found a less crowded station and sampled a couple plates outdoors.

 

SO-6Moroccan-spiced vegetable tagine with casbah couscous and harissa chili aioli.  The flavors were phenomenal and this dish works for vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free folks.  Or for those of us who just find it delicious!

 

SO-5Speaking of vegetarian…how about crisp silken tofu with fresh soy beans, marinated mushrooms, and a citrus soy dipping sauce?  No, not everything on the menu is vegetarian…we just happened to taste those dishes, in addition to a delicious Spanish chorizo-crusted sea scallop.  We were extremely impressed with the sample plates.

 

Friend and Chef Andrew Nguyen
SO-19 was a huge force behind this new menu and we couldn’t have been more thrilled with it. (Picture from Square One: New American Table’s website)

 

As much fun as tasting with friends was, we had to take off with Mike and Judie to make our 8:00 reservation.  However, we knew we’d return and…we did for

 

Dinner!SO-6Not quite one week after the soft opening, we made reservations for dinner and saw pretty much everybody we knew.  Almost.  Anyway, we love the new look, the art, the exposed brick and so did many others.  One particular older patron was not happy though, and made her opinion known.  It’s too bad that she can’t share in the exciting vision that three local business people created in this venue.

 

Where to start, where to start?SO-9Ohhhhhhh baby, housemade duck rillette with country bacon butter, that’s where.  This was so good that I almost passed out!

 

andSO-10

Roasted butternut squash agnolotti pasta with spiced walnuts, ricotta salata and hazelnut butter & crispy sage leaves.  Another small plate hit out of the freaking park!  The sweet, combined with the savory, and topped with the creamy & crunchy.  The flavor and texture combinations were just perfect.  Thank you sir, may I have another?

 

Check out the exposed brick, a new addition at Square One: New American Table.SO-8Our waiter was awesome and I wish I remembered his name.  Unfortunately, our receipt for the evening is MIA but I do remember that he lives in a huge house on Southard…or was it Fleming?  And that he decorated it lavishly for Halloween.  Look, I’m old, okay?  I do remember that he was a WONDERFUL waiter!

 

But we still remember how to eat…and drink! 🙂SO-11The Handsome Captain™ ordered the Heritage pork belly with caramelized brussel sprouts & cipollini onion and Yukon potato wafer.  It proved to be a winner…like I had any doubt.

 

Me?SO-12 (2)Roasted chicken with broccoli rabe, rosemary cannellini beans, and a pancetta-mushroom dressing.  I ordered this dish despite my dislike for broccoli rabe.  Besides, tastes change and there were so many other flavors that I could’ve felt differently.  I didn’t, but I could’ve.  I couldn’t even pawn the broccoli rabe off on Greg.  This is no slight whatsoever against Square One, it’s just that we don’t happen to care for that green.  Anyway, the chicken was juicy and the savory/salty theme was pleasing.  Yum!

 

Just a table shot.SO-13

 

 

Time for dessert? You betchya…SO-14Does that look luscious or what?  Profiteroles filled with green tea ice cream filling and topped with Kahlua chocolate sauce.  So our friend Robin and Chef Andrew had a conversation regarding whether green tea should really be inside those profiteroles.  When the many local opinions came in that week, we all felt the green tea was a PERFECT match for the heavenly, sweet chocolate sauce.  At first bite, it’s a combo you don’t expect.  Yet it finishes so “clean”, much better than a heavy vanilla would.

 

Yep, another winner.SO-15We couldn’t have made that plate any cleaner without looking like two junkyard dogs.  We do have some standards.

 

Since we enjoyed two glasses of wine, two small plates, two large plates, and one dessert…it was time to leave.  We didn’t have to, though…Square One still has a bar and it’s a new one.SO-20(Image from Square One: New American Table’s website).

 

Alas, we did leave right after dessert and returned for lunch the Saturday before Easter.   We lunched outside on that gorgeous day.

We’ll just cut to the chase here…

SO-17Greg ordered the shaved Italian-style roasted pork sandwich with sharp provolone & field greens.  He asked them to remove the broccoli rabe (here we go again with the broccoli rabe!).

SO-18Just a little bit closer now…

 

Me?

SO-15I had the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich: lemongrass braised pork cheeks, country style pâté, and pickled condiments topped with fresh cilantro.

SO-16To the right you’ll see what I did with those pickled condiments.  Actually, I kept the ginger but discarded the cucumber.  The cuke was sliced so beautifully, only to suffer painful neglect on my plate.  Cucumbers = blech.  It was fine though, because this was one AMAZING sandwich!  Pork, pâté, ginger, and fresh cilantro?  Extraordinary and a keeper for the next time I feel a depraved indifference to ingesting calories.

 

So considering that we’ve been to one soft opening and enjoyed two meals, it’s safe to say that we LOVE Square One: New American Table.  The food is innovative, delicious. and varied.  No matter the preference, there is something for all tastes and dietary restrictions here.  Portions can be large or small, there is a full bar, prices are fair, and the service is spot-on.   Additionally, the  owners have had success in the restaurant business.  What’s not to love?  We think this is a much-needed change for both Key West and for Upper Duval.  Check them out at their site and on Facebook.  Look for Square One: New American Table to get better and better.  We will be.

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