We went to Sparrow last Saturday night with a party of six people. The person who selected the restaurant was excited to let us know that it was a "Monica Pope." We admitted that we were not familiar with Monica Pope and therefore had no particular expectations.
We gave it three stars because of tripadvisor's rating system that goes from 3=average to 4=very good. There is a big jump between average and very good, not just one star in my humble opinion. On that scale, this place would be a 3.5.
First, the good stuff.....bar staff was extremely friendly and let us try a number of the rose wines they had before selecting one. Of course, he kind of "had" to do this since they were out of the one we selected. We were told the space had been redone and our fellow diners really liked the new look and feel. The menu had great selection and many interesting choices. There is easy to use valet parking.
We dine out a lot and are willing to pay for a great meal and excellent service. The entrees pretty much come without any sides. Sparrow calls this "the center of the plate." The sides are $8 a piece or 3 for $18. They are large enough to share among 3-4 people. Even though the pricing isn't that much different/higher than other similar places we have gone, it ends up feeling higher priced. The truth is, it gives you a little more flexibility in creating your own meal which is a good thing. The quality of the food is good and in some cases, very good. It is fairly creative but nothing that really made us say "wow!" Our group sampled the chicken, steak, wild boar, scallops and fish and this "good but not great" was the theme of everyone's review.
The service was just not very good. However, they made an attempt at service recovery by giving us some free desserts (nice touch). Our server wasn't friendly and didn't add much other than being an order taker. What is worse is that they served us our selected wine and did not tell us it was the last bottle. A great server would know a table of six would likely order a second bottle and alert them to this fact. Then, they were out of the second wine we chose. So let's sum that up...out of the rose we chose, one bottle of the first red wine left and none of the second red wine that we chose. They must improve their ability to keep wine inventory in line with the menu or update the menu accordingly. We also suggest some additional training for the wait staff. The person we had didn't seem very enthusiastic about the food and added little value.
For some reason, we really want to like this place. We would probably give it another try if we were in the area. We were in town visiting from Austin and this location is 45 minutes from where we were staying. I would not drive 45 minutes just to go to this restaurant again. I probably would not recommend it to friends unless I went back and had a better overall experience.