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Restaurant Review: Feast

Feast appears to be a slightly miscalculated name for a rather expensive tapas restaurant. A new—and very shiny—addition to the Southtown scene, it joins several new establishments that focus on appetizer-sized portions designed for sharing. We (a group of local Lake Flatonians) descended upon the restaurant on a Friday, hoping to be blown away by our new neighbor. Every restaurant owner should fear serving a group of very particular architects. The décor is distinctive and for the first few minutes that is all that was discussed. While it doesn’t fit into the local style, whitewashing the interior and using clear plastic chairs helps to make this rather small room feel very comfortable, even on a busy Friday night. Looking cool and trendy is clearly a priority for the owners. The sparkly chandeliers, waiters who look like part-time models, metal cocktail glasses and minimalist menus have all been chosen because of their surface qualities. Ok, let’s get down to business. What’s the food like? The menu is categorized as Hot, Chilled, Grilled, Crispy, Melted or Mains. Our group of nine ordered a variety of dishes plus, of course, we tried some of their $9 cocktails. If you’re into beer, don’t come here. They offered Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Coors etc etc. No craft or local beers in sight—very odd. I ordered a cocktail called the Prince which sounded interesting on the menu but was essentially a large gin and tonic with a couple of jalapenos and one cilantro leaf. Maybe I’m unique but I prefer when there is some mystery to a cocktail. I could have made that at home and it probably would have been better. Moving onto the food, the stuffed grape leaves were up there with the best dish we ordered. If you like goat cheese explosions, get this. Another cheesy dish was the baked macaroni (is Mac&Cheese cool now?) which was absolutely delicious, but there was no real surprise. Continuing along the theme of gourmet kid’s food, one of us ordered the pesto chicken tenders that came with a delectable sauce. Again, this was very good but where were the really fancy dishes to match the fancy décor? The ahi tuna with figs and pomegranate seeds solved that issue but unlike the chicken tenders, this stayed on the table for a long time because it did not meet its expectation. Other dishes included the tomato salad—good but ordinary, the lamb kabobs—sufficiently tasty, and the barbacoa which was possibly the best item we ordered. Wonderfully tender meat artfully wrapped in lettuce leaves, these were the highlight for me. As would be expected in Feast, all the food was presented with care. However it was merely good and for the prices they are asking, it really should be great. Despite its shortcomings Feast is a welcome addition to the Southtown area. It may be trying too hard in the wrong departments but Feast will draw a different crowd to the area. If it encourages more restaurants and bars to open in Southtown then I’m all for it. I just wouldn’t go there again.
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