Was excited about the reservation Saturday night in Wilmington. Rx on Castle Street. The old Hall's Drug Store. Two "Doss" brothers in the kitchen, one of whom has had expereince at Sean Brock's Husk in Charleston. Rather an ill-fated location that seems to have gotten some traction with the new guys. Rx has received enthusiastic reviews locally for its farm-to-table philosophy and for devotion to things southern accompanied by culinary fresh air. Sorry, guys, but I was expecting more than I got.
I applaud restaurants that give local artists a place to promote their work. Applause for Rx for meaning well. But any ambiance RX might have had was destroyed by a chock-a-block hodge podge of paintings -- something that looked akin to a middle school art contest mounted for parents' night. Prominent among the hangings were three large illustrations of cockroaches (at least that's what they looked like across the way). Not exactly thoughtful choices for a restaurant.
"Stacking" is a standard restaurant practice now. No one is shocked by a mound of mashed potatoes topped by a grilled chicken breast and green beans wedged between. My entree was wahoo -- a fish found off the NC coast. It can be mighty good. BUT mine was panned until dry and crusty and stacked on sauteed veggies and greens. Served in a deep and very annoying bowl (fork and knife both slid in during the meal), the excess pan juices pooled in the bottom. When I attempted to cut the wahoo, the two portions went in different directions and everything ended up in the puddle in the bottom of the bowl -- looking rather like an univiting stew as I tried to harvest the soggy fish. Stacking doesn't have to result in such a mess.
The pate. The chicken liver pate came with lovely accompaniments but the pate itself was a problem. It was served in a tumbler and had a consistency like Gray Poupon beneath the apple bourbon gelee. Getting it fron the bottom of the tumbler with the pointed knife represented yet another challenge for the evening. I finally resorted to spooning it out.
The bread. Gross overkill. Two modest slices of unremarkable corn bread and two petite biscuits that were a bit tastier were served in a covered Lodge cast iron dutch oven (perfect for stew but not as a bread basket) that weighed several pounds and took up considerable space on the table.
Suppose the container was supposed to say "Hot," which the bread wasn't.
All the while I was mumbling under my breath, a nice young man in jeans and a tee shirt and a white cloth in his back pocket was circling the tables. Finally I asked if he were the very attentive manager making sure all the diners were happy. I wanted to say hello. "No," I was told, "he's a bus boy without anything to do trying to look busy." And this was Saturday night. Apparently he was not successful as he left shortly thereafter out the front door.
Oh. My drink. Really thirsty and ordered a Jamison and water on the rocks. Jamison came in one glass. Water and ice in another -- a molded piece of translucent ice about the size of a green walnut. Neat idea. But mixed (much rather have had a nice frosty drink delivered to my table) the drink never got cold and I left half of it in the glass. Bummer.
I am weary of this unpleasant account. A few happy thoughts. The hierloom tomatoes and chevre were excellent and beautifully presented. The waitress was attentive.The pickles were crisp and salty. Visited with people I knew and was deighted to see. Using my two-point test, I asked myself, "Would you come back again?" and "Would you recommend this restaurant to friends?" and got two Nos. Maybe if I had ordered another entree that didn't devolve into a unsightly mess in the bottom of a bowl. Maybe the duck breast would have been another story. But, guys, you often get just one shot at a diner. You got me squarely between the eyes.