A recent visit to Houlihan's for a late lunch brought a discovery that they are trying out several new dishes for inclusion to the regular menu. This "research and development menu", as they called it, included four entrees, an appetizer and a dessert.
The appetizer is an intriguing dish of bleu cheese potato chips, a stack of chips with a generous dose of bleu cheese sauce, chives, plus more crumbled bleu cheese.
The entrees include the above mentioned meatloaf, which I sampled on a slow Monday afternoon. It consisted of two slices of meatloaf crossed on top of a generous layer of mashed Yukon gold potatoes. Adorning the edges were some nouvelle French green beans and baby carrots, and the whole shebang was topped with a frou frou of onion straws.
The massed Yukons were extremely tasty without being highly spiced. They looked homemade and included bits of potato skin. The meatloaf had slivers of carrot and good texture, plus it was topped with a red wine mushroom sauce. I am a sucker for mushrooms anyway, but this wine sauce was interestingly spiced, too. The combination of the Yukons and the sauce was harmonious without being dull. The veggies were drizzled with maple butter.
The only quibble I might have is that I prefer real onions to mere onion straws. Also the veggies were a little sparse and probably did fulfilled only one serving of vegetables to apply to your USDA recommendation of five a day.
The other test entrees are: seared Georges Bank scallops with lemon-asparagus risotto, baby greens, and basil olive oil; chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, arugula, dried cherries, with butternut squash risotto, asparagus with pecans; and a grilled top sirloin with the bleu potato chips, and fresh vegetables. Any of the entrees can be supplemented with a side salad or bowl of soup for only $1.95.
The test dessert sounded like a decadent dream called Italian-style Donut Flight, a donut with cinnamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate Kahlua and white chocolate dipping sauces. The test menu states that this item is popular at northern Italian street fairs, eaten from paper bags. I would have liked to test this item, too, but the diet fairy said no.
My beverage was selected from a list of fusion teas and lemonades. Upon the recommendation from my helpful server, I chose a refreshing guava iced tea. It was not overly sweet, and the subtle fruit flavor did not compete with the earthy meatloaf and potatoes.
All the entrees also listed a wine recommendation, whose prices ranged from $7.75 to $9.95.
Houlihan's offers a free members club which will email you special offers or promotions, including a free item for your birthday. Signing up online is quick and painless.
Copyright Minnie Apolis. I was not paid and am not a shill for Houlihan's.