While dining at Artin's Grill in The Shops at Legacy in Plano, I asked our waiter Clint why Artin's is a good date place. He explained that "the family-style portions are good for sharing" and that "if a couple doesn't want to come in for dinner they can always stop in at the bar to have a drink -- a great ice breaker -- and share one of the desserts." Clint's right; most times you know your date's going well if he or she is willing to share a bit of an entrée or a spoonful of dessert with you. And for those of you who don't like to share with your date, you have your reasons, I suppose. But don't count on the servers at Artin's to congratulate you for such selfish eating if you're seated in one of their cozy booths.
The night we dined at Artin's it was my first time there. I liked the mood lighting and the welcoming hostess. She seated us in a small booth with a view of the kitchen. The restaurant is a lovely place for a date, not too loud and not too quiet. It's just right.
My date ordered a hardwood-grilled Scottish salmon with seasonal vegetables, herbed brown rice, and citrus butter. His initial choice was the sesame shrimp: sesame-panko-crusted golden shrimp, Asian slaw and french fries with ginger wasabi aioli. But high cholesterol led him to order the healthier, non-fried dish. Instead of an entrée, I chose the beef short rib nachos and a small spinach arugula salad that came with almond clustered goat cheese, Granny Smith apples, roasted beets, candied walnuts and honey citrus vinaigrette. When the nachos arrived, I knew I had no business ordering the salad and it made its way directly into a doggie bag.
The grandiose nachos took up an entire rectangular plate. I filled up on them enough that I could ignore my greens for the day, but still ordered dessert. I liked the thinner, crispier chips Artin's used for the nachos. The un-ripe, not mash-able avocado slice on top of the heap of chips disappointed me because I wanted to be able to spread it around more than one chip. No such luck. My date enjoyed the salmon and cleared the plate of any fish -- only a few neglected veggies remained when our server removed the plate from our table.
When dessert time (the ultimate no-brainer sharing moment) arrived, we asked Clint about his favorite sweet on the menu. He passionately described the coconut sesame bread pudding in Malibu rum sauce. Clint told us how "the chef makes three huge pans of the bread pudding a day, which the servers can't take home with them at the end of the night on discount because he can't keep up with it. The restaurant sells out of it every day." The pudding was as tasty as it was pretty. But to make it even more decadent, my date and I decided to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the confection. Clint agreed with our decision. "Not a bad idea -- lots of people like to eat their bread pudding a la mode." My date and I polished off almost the entire excellent dessert -- sharing it, of course. Each of us left Artin's friendly atmosphere able to tell our friends that our date went well. We liked each other well enough that I had shared my nachos, while my date gave me some salmon and we didn't mind sharing out of the same bowl for dessert.
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