I made my first stop on the beltline a few weeks ago at Parish, and decided to check out Two Urban Licks for round two. I had actually been to the restaurant before back in 2010, but decided it was time for a revisit. Two Urban Licks’ patio also backs right up to the beltline, and even has an outdoor bocce court. In circumstances outside of the hot and humid 95-degree summer we’ve been experiencing, I’m sure the patio is great.
Before I jump into the food itself, I’d like to discus a few *other* items:
- The menu has not changed much since 2010. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s definitely surprising for a place that seems like it’s trying to be somewhat modern/edgy.
- The restaurant is really loud. I’m not sure if it’s the high ceilings or just the fact that the place is massive, but it was difficult to carry on a conversation.
- They served their wine in a cocktail glass. I’ve ranted before about martinis served in coupe glasses, but this offense is even worse. Wine glasses exist for a reason, use them.
Okay, glassware rant over. Back to the food.
We started with a round of salmon chips to share. The smoked salmon was mixed with red onion and a slightly spicy chipotle cream cheese and served on a crispy kettle-cooked potato chip. The chips were topped with capers & chives. Given the way the dish was described on the menu, I was expecting more of a lox-type smoked salmon, but the chips were tasty nonetheless.
The Caesar salad was slightly reinvented, with a spicy chipotle dressing and chili croutons. I’m more of a classic Caesar kinda girl, so I honestly didn’t love the spicy twist. The presentation too, was just blah. The romaine was almost drowning in a sea of pink dressing, and they didn’t bother to offer any fresh cracked pepper.
I had the bronzed scallops, which I’m pretty sure was the entrée I ordered on my last visit. The scallops were perfectly bronzed and caramelized on the outside. They were served with a smoky tomato broth over a pile of cheesy gouda grits, and topped with a spoonful of fresh pico de gallo. I loved the flavor combination of the creamy grits with the smoky broth, and the textural contrast of the slightly-chilled pico. Again, though, the presentation was a miss. The broth looked like it was just thrown onto the side of the plate as an afterthought.
The striped bass was definitely a lighter dish. The fish was oven roasted in a lemony brown butter vinaigrette. The fish was simple and flaky, with a nice crispy crust on the outside.
The amberjack was another tasty piece of fish, although it was a bit difficult to find beneath the massive pile of French fries. The fish was served au poivre, but the sauce was off to the side a bit, so it didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the fish. The French fries were also crispy and tasty, but like I mentioned, unnecessarily piled on top of the fish.
For dessert, we tried the German chocolate cake, which was disappointing. The cake was dry and didn’t even taste very chocolatey.
Overall, I thought the food at Two Urban Licks (aside from the cake) tasted good, but everything else about the place seemed tired. They could definitely benefit from an updated menu and some sprucing up on the presentation. Oh, and maybe some wine glasses as well :)