It’s Friday and Jeff has a plan. He’s looking at this blog as a challenge we must meet weekly. Let’s call him the location scout for this production. Around 3pm the texts start with his plan. He’s excited about some theme restaurant I’ve never heard of.
I’m hit or miss on theme restaurants. If the theme isn’t carried out fully it seems lazy and unimaginative but if it is overdone it can be very cheesy. Worse yet most theme restaurants do it to cover bad food, bad service or bad prices. I was skeptical but very pleasantly surprised.
The Office Bistro & Lounge www.akronoffice.com
The theme is clear and relatable; an office setting. The décor is clean and modern but still inviting. Staff is friendly and they actually seem to enjoy their jobs, not the usual snobbery of a restaurant of this level. The menu is amusing and carries the task of completing the theme. The categories relate to positions; appetizers are called “Entry level”, entrees are “Executives”, burgers and casual sandwiches are “A lot on your plate” etc. Their full cocktail menu was themed as well with signature martinis named “9 to 5” and more.
The options are amazing and we debate so long over what to order we have to put in an appetizer order just to stall.
We started with the mussels. A large still steaming bowl heaped with mussels, tomatoes, garlic, kalamata olives, crushed red pepper (not too hot, just a zing), scallions, beurre blanc and crostini. Perfectly tender mussels may have changed Jeff’s opinion on the creatures forever. The flavors are a good balance of salty, creamy and rich. $11 for a portion this large is very fair.
The debate over what to order for dinner continues a while longer. Some of the top contenders are Scallops with mushrooms, asparagus and prosciutto risotto with sweet tobasco blanc or a Baked lobster mac and cheese. I finally settle on a Boneless pork chop with risotto and balsamic. Jeff chooses the Seafood pasta.
The chop was probably the largest I’ve seen, clearly a double cut. The 10oz chop was tender and juicy. They cook this to a medium. If you like it done more they will. It was fairly unadorned; a simple marinade, balsamic reduction and a good sear. Its simplicity was beautiful sitting on a bed of creamy, firm risotto. The drizzle of balsamic gave enough sweet tang to brighten the whole dish. I rarely order a steak as I am often bored with a large hunk of meat, and rarer still do I order said hunk of meat in pork form. This chop is something I recommend trying, soon.
Jeff’s seafood pasta was one of the best executions I’ve seen of this style dish. Scallops, shrimp and lobster (yes we could actually find the lobster) with crushed red pepper (again not spicy, just a little warmth), basil, sundried tomato and asparagus in a garlic cream sauce over linguine. Even with the creamy sauce the noodles were far from gummy, they were sturdy and could carry the weight of the large seafood pieces and firm asparagus. The asparagus and tomatoes gave a variation in texture and cut the creamy sauce to keep each bite varied and fresh. When he ordered the pasta Jeff was sure he would pick out all the seafood for dinner and have pasta for lunch the next day. When it came there was plenty of seafood to pair with the addictive pasta. He ended up with an appropriate amount of all parts of the dish as his take home prize.
There are dishes on the menu priced for a casual dinner up to a special occasion. This was a treat for us. With the appetizer, 2 drinks each and two very decadent dinners our total bill with tip was around $115. Frequent happy hour specials and discounts available on their website make The Office even more approachable but for the quality and portions it is very fairly priced.
I will be back; I didn’t save room for the “Bonus” menu.
Until we eat again,