Monday, January 9, 2012

Dan McGee's

Now that we've got kids in the household and are past a certain age, Mrs. Hackknife and I find more and more that we're willing to forgo the craziness of the typical New Year's Eve bash in favor of a quiet evening dining out and early to bed (lame, I know, but if I had it my way, I'd be snoozing well before midnight). Even better is the occasion where we can get a top-shelf meal without having to trek all the way into the city on such nights (when amateur drinkers are errantly wielding their chariots of steel all over the roads). It is with this in mind that we're very pleased to have a great restaurant just a short drive from the Commissary. Chef Dan McGee opened his namesake eatery in a strip mall on a nondescript stretch of Route 30 in Frankfort back in 2007. An alum of Charlie Trotter's and fine hotels worldwide, Messr. McGee and his staff perfectly execute traditional American dishes with minimal gimmickry or pretension (perhaps an apt description of the neighborhood in which he set up shop). The wife and I have dined there 3 times and have not been disappointed on any visit. So when the time came to book a table for our New Years' feast, we had no problem choosing the venue.

The restaurant was pretty full when we arrived for our 7:30p reservation. Chef McGee was offering a special holiday menu that evening featuring an appetizer, soup/salad, entree, and dessert, all for $65/person (a bargain considering the food and the surroundings). I started with a bowl of polenta-encrusted scallops served on a bed of apple hash (washed down nicely with a glass of Spanish Cava), while Mrs. Hackknife opted for the braised pork belly with Cole slaw. Course #2 entailed a breaded goat cheese/spinach salad (for me) and a bowl of chestnut soup with shredded pheasant (for the missus, who enjoyed the rich chestnut broth, but felt that the pheasant was extraneous). We both loved our entrees - I chose a plate of venison medallions (cooked medium-rare) crowned with small pieces of foie gras, all in a dark blackberry reduction; Mrs. Hackknife got the filet of beef with mashed potatoes and asparagus, simple yet elegant. To cap things off, we split a chocolate truffle cake with peppermint ice cream and a Bavarian cheesecake round, both decadent and the ideal conclusion to a fine meal. The best part? We were home by 9 o'clock and in jammies by 9:30...

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