Sunday, March 19, 2006

Vagabond

It has happened- on Wednesday night my wife and I finally found what we believe to be our favorite neighborhood restaurant- the newly opened Vagabond in South Park. I had mentioned on a previous post our failed attempt to dine at the restaurant- this time we went ahead and made reservations and headed out for a late night evening meal.
The first thing I noticed about the restaurant upon entry was how warm it was- and warm in fact can be applied to nearly all aspects of Vagabond. Firstly, of course, the comfortable temperature, which was very welcoming on the distinctly chilly spring evening. Then the d├ęcor – shades of red and orange and terracotta form the backdrop of the eclectic collection of artifacts and objects from around the globe. Wonderfully soft lighting adds the finishing touch to create a cozy, intimate and somewhat unique atmosphere. Ultimately however the warmth of Vagabond comes from the wonderful people who make up the staff and management, every person we came into contact with from the guy who filled up our water glasses to the proprietor himself were genial, highly attentive, and sincerely amiable. They showed interest in our comments and suggestions for an extended vegetarian menu and we felt like valued customers and a part of this local neighborhood business.
I have to say we had almost chosen this restaurant as one of our favorites before any food even arrived at the table- but I am happy to report that it lived right up to expectations. The menu at Vagabond is International with favorite dishes from around the world such as Coq au Vin and Paella Valenciana. At the start of the meal a small bread basket was brought out with a saffron aioli which I truly believe was one of the best things I have ever tasted. True a combination of mayonnaise, garlic and saffron is going to be hard to go wrong with, but this was perfection itself. For an appetizer we ordered the “Piatto Italiano” a selection of Caprese salad and heavenly bruschetta topped with pancetta that simply melted in your mouth. For our main course I got the Paella Valenciana whilst my wife got a Moroccan couscous dish which came with 7 different vegetables- a symbol of luck. The Paella came served in a traditional paelleria which was a nice touch and was really very good- not quite as good as the paella I had in Valencia itself, but then let’s not get too picky. The couscous was also reported to be very tasty, and we greatly enjoyed the bottle of house wine.
All in all another evening extremely well spent- and at very reasonable prices. I can well see why Vagabond has lines out the door on the weekends, and we will certainly be making it our top choice of restaurants to take guests.

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