Tuesday, October 27, 2015

MJ's Steak and Seafood

MJ's Steak and Seafood is a hidden gem. High recommendations from my neighbor solidified our decision to make this the spot where we should celebrate my mom's birthday, and we couldn't have been more pleased with our experience. A peach-colored house-turned restaurant on Dolley Madison Road in Greensboro was bustling with Furniture Marketers as we walked in, with an intimate but eye-catching bar to our left. We were seated in the nearly private enclosed back patio. Outdoor and upstairs seating is also available. Servers are knowledgeable and friendly. Let's get to the cocktails.

The Harvey combines Hendrick's Gin and Ketel One Vodka, and is served with Blue Cheese-stuffed Olives. Add some olive juice to make it dirty, and they may as well have just named it The Amanda. Locally baked Asiago Cheese bread is warm and crusty and comes with a dry spice blend that you can add oil to, to make it as potent and flavorful as you like! This was the first time I had seen this done in a restaurant and it's pretty genius. It's also genius that they offer Foie Gras as a side dish.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimiento Cheese
Fried Green Tomatoes are a perfect starter to share. Three thick green tomato slices are fried, and stacked atop homemade Pimiento Cheese and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar, surrounded by Arugula. This is how Southern comfort food gets taken to the next level. I am a pimiento cheese afficionado, and this was close to perfect (my grandmother's recipe is the best of all time, though). The balsamic adds necessary acid, and the arugula is some nice green, to make you feel less guilty for indulging.

I've been on a Fried Oyster kick lately (it all started at One Eared Stag in Atlanta - their chef's breakfast is to die for). When I saw Fried Oysters & Grits on the menu, a play on Shrimp & Grits, I knew it was my destiny to have this dish. And not just any grits - Pimiento Cheese grits! I thought it only appropriate to echo my start with even more pimiento cheese. While the flavor wasn't as strong in the grits, they were still buttery and creamy and a nice bed for the crunchy oysters - nearly 15 of them, no joke! It's all drizzled with a tangy Chipotle Aioli. I would have preferred the slightly sweet Collard Greens to be slightly spicy, but they still rounded out the dish nicely. Bravo to this whimsical and inventive idea.

Sea Scallops, Sundried Tomato Grit Cake
It's rare for me to turn down Sea Scallops when I see them on a menu. I've decided they're my favorite food. Along with cookie dough. (Not necessarily together, but maybe.) MJ's scallops are fantastic. They're cooked perfectly with a hint of smokiness, or perhaps that's the Maple Bacon Creme. A Sundried Tomato Grit Cake is perfectly crisp and brightly flavored. Asparagus is a solid side.

The fish of the day was a thick-cut Mahi Mahi, perfectly cooked, topped with Crab Salad and a bright Lemon Dill Hollandaise. This dish is a 10 on its own, but the Lobster Mashed Potatoes totally steal the show. They are utterly sinful. Asparagus stars in a supporting role once again. Always welcome, but your pee is going to smell.
Mahi Mahi with Lobster Mashed Potatoes
Major thanks to my neighbor who stressed that I needed to visit MJ's. I will be returning very soon, for what I know will be another wonderful experience and meal. If you haven't been yet, it needs to be added to your list immediately.

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