My first visit to Family Meal was with a friend. She made a reservation for us but when we got there the place was packed and we were told we'd have to wait if we wanted a booth, which we did. Okay, fine. We waited. And waited. And waited. Meanwhile other parties came in and were seated, including a large party who did NOT have an reservation and made a fuss about it being busy (on a Saturday night!) saying they could not believe there was no place for them to sit. So, of course the squeaky wheel was seated. Meanwhile we two (who had thought ahead and made a reservation) were still sitting. Waiting.
Finally we were told a booth was ready so we were seated. Our service was decent, although a little slow. The server himself was nice. He was friendly and always had a smile for us. And it was a busy night so I forgave the slow service somewhat. It gave my friend and I time to catch up. Although we did sometimes have to shout because this place is LOUD.
We both ordered cocktails and iced tea and water. The water situation is strange. Glass bottles of water sit in sweaty tubs of ice throughout the restaurant. But no ice is served with the drinks. So you get somewhat chilled water poured in your glass but it doesn't stay chilled for long. Not so good on a hot summer night. Add to the fact that we were seated in front of huge glass windows (the whole place is huge glass windows) which (despite the lowered blinds) had us sitting there sweating in the evening sun.
We ordered the chicken pot pie fritters as an app. These came highly recommended by so many people that I guess my expectations of them were too high. They were tiny. Not really a big enough portion to share (aren't apps generally for sharing?) and they were not quite what I was expecting. I think I assumed they would have some kind of pastry crust (pot pie crust) but they did not. It was a battered and deep fried ball of pot pie filling. Tasted good but did not live up to the hype.
My friend ordered breakfast (which is served all day) but when she saw my fried chicken she regretted her menu choice. Their fried chicken is delicious. I would definitely go back and get a carryout order of the chicken. The hot sauce was a nice touch and the cheese biscuits were great. The house made pickles were kind of blah. I normally love all varieties of pickled vegetables but I left some of these behind. The chicken portion was hearty and, I thought, worth the price. I like a strongly seasoned chicken so I didn't mind the saltiness.
Dessert for me was amazing. I got the Earl Grey donuts and they were delicious. My friend's dessert (lemon raspberry tart) was too sour for her to finish, so I shared the donuts.
The meal was a bit expensive but it was a special occasion and we both looked at the menu online first so there was no sticker shock. Overall it was a good meal. The fritters were the only disappointment for me and even so they were still tasty.
The restaurant itself is small inside. Not a lot of seating, in my opinion. Certainly not enough seating to live up to the name "Family." This restaurant is trying to be a diner but also trying to be upscale and the combination doesn't really work all that well. The reason I would go back for carryout chicken is because eating at the restaurant itself wasn't all that pleasant. I would rather take that delicious food and enjoy it in the comfort of my own home. The place is hot and loud and (despite the presence of some children) I would not take my own child there. He has a low tolerance for loud noises so I think he would be overwhelmed. And the kid's menu seems like a bit of an afterthought. Standard kid food. Not the concept food that the grown ups get. And no kid cups either. Children get large glass cups like everyone else. I saw more than one parent helping their child take a drink because the cups were too big and the adults were afraid of them being broken. While I understand Voltaggio's disdain for the typical plastic kid's cups....smaller cups for kids would be nice.
The bathrooms are very nice. Changing table complete with diapers and wipes is available in the ladies' room. I can't speak for the men's room though I would hope, as a dad, that Chef Bryan thought to put them in there as well.
So overall, A- for food and drinks, C+ for atmosphere.
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