Friday, July 15, 2011

Friendly staff and friendly on the wallet. It appears that Mr. Friendly's is aptly named.

A few weeks ago, my very small, three-person office, hosted a farewell lunch for one of our staff.  R and I were trying to find a place to take M.  Our criteria?  Relatively close to the office, good food, reasonable prices, and relatively low-key.  We settled on Mr. Friendly's.  I love Mr. Friendly's.  I've been there several times over the years, though never for dinner...maybe I should remedy that.  At any rate.  The same geniuses behind Cellar on Greene and Solstice are the masterminds behind Mr. Friendly's.  That should tell you right away that you should expect an excellent dining experience.

We wandered in, a little after noon, and Mr. Friendly's was remarkably uncrowded, so we got a table right away.  Heads up: I've seen it get pretty packed for lunch before, so it's best to go either early or late.  Mr. Friendly's has  two menus - one for lunch and one for lunch specials. The specials menu changes daily, but this is the one that was available while we were there.  One of the benefits of Mr. Friendly's is that it is a pretty open space.  This means that you get to see almost all of the plates being served to other diners.  I don't know about you, but that usually makes it easier for me to decide what to get.

Since we were there to celebrate M, she ordered a mimosa (Mr. Friendly's also makes a mimosa with pineapple juice instead of oj.  I would have loved to try that, but alas, I had to go back to work, so I stuck with water).  She said it was delicious.  And it was served in a wine glass, instead of a champagne flute  That is awesome, because oftentimes I feel like places cheat you out of your drink by using a flute.  For her meal, M ordered the burger special.  The burger had smashed avocado, tomato salsa, monterrey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  She had curly fries on the side.  Little known fact?  Mr. Friendly's has some of the best curly fries that I have ever tasted.  They're AWESOME.  And this burger was pretty good too (I know, because I took M's leftovers home since she was headed out of town).  The burger was char-grilled, the avocado really was smashed - some of it looked like guacamole, but then you would find a huge chunk of avocado, and the salsa was cold.  It was a nice contrast to the warmth of the burger, and added a nice bit of acidity.  And it was big.  As in, I barely managed to eat the half that I took home with me for dinner.  Not a bad deal at all.
This really equated to two full meals.  Certainly a great deal.  And look at that salsa!
R went with something a little more in line with Mr. Friendly's traditional offerings.  They style themselves as a "new southern cafe," so it's fitting to see a lot of seafood and grits on their menu.  R ordered the Salmon Croquettes with the succotash.  I know she liked it.  I tried a small bit of grits, and they were seasoned wonderfully.  They were so well seasoned that everything else seemed to be lacking in comparison.  Still not a bad meal, and the sherry-cayenne mayo on the side of the plate for the salmon was apparently very tasty.

The little finger looking things on the side of the plate were actually bursts of sherry-cayenne mayo. 
I went out on a limb and ordered something that I had never had before: the Fried Green Tomato-Pimento Cheese BLT.  I expected a normal sized sandwich.  I got a sandwich that would have fed me for two meals if I hadn't been super hungry that day.  There were two huge fried green tomatoes on toasted sourdough bread, topped with applewood smoked bacon, and melted pimento cheese with bacon on top of that.  Add in some crisp lettuce and spread a bit of the sherry-cayenne mayo on the bread, and you have a killer, albeit messy, sandwich.  Talk about an explosion of flavor.  The tomatoes were sweet, the cheese was rich, and the mayo added just a bit of spice.  It was crunchy and satisfying.  Definitely a messy sandwich though.  I probably should have cut it in half, but in all honesty, I was too excited to eat it to waste time doing something as mundane as cutting a sandwich.  I would order this again in a heartbeat.  And I would urge anyone who claims to not like pimento cheese (I'm a recent convert, so I can attest to this fact) to give this sandwich a try. I bet your opinion changes.

See how big this was?  I almost needed a bigger plate.
And so we sent M off in style.  The three of us had a great lunch.  It was a shame that R and I both had to go back to work that afternoon.  It would have been nice to try one of those pineapple mimosas and to linger around the table a bit.

Final Rating

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