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The Majestic, Old Town Alexandria - Reopen on May 24, 2016 - Chef Graham Duncan Replaces Gaby Hakman


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Sounds like a great tweak. And I appreciate people calling it venerable, but they must have eaten at the Majestic Cafe at better times. Since we lived here it was one of those places that one day was good and the next time subpar at best. I was embarassed one time bringing guests there. My wife and I had it on our list of places that wouldn't survive. It sounds like its going to be a wedge between Eamons and Eves.

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Finding out that Cathal, Meshelle, Shannon, Todd and Maria are taking over the Majestic is the best news I've had in a long time. There is no group better suited to carry forward and improve the Majestic...and this is from someone who gave years of effort and love there. I can't wait to walk in the door as a customer!

From the Former-Chef of the Majestic Cafe

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Finding out that Cathal, Meshelle, Shannon, Todd and Maria are taking over the Majestic is the best news I've had in a long time. There is no group better suited to carry forward and improve the Majestic...and this is from someone who gave years of effort and love there. I can't wait to walk in the door as a customer!

From the Former-Chef of the Majestic Cafe

I agree. This is good news. I liked Majestic for many reasons except the seating arrangements and sometimes the noise. Even if that doesn't change I am looking forward to March 31 or April 19.
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Plucked the following from a press release I got about Cathal and Co.'s plans for The Majestic:

In keeping with the restaurant’s integrity, the Armstrongs will only enhance ‘her face’ to restore her glory. No longer will her title include ‘Café,’ but she will be renamed simply, The Majestic.

With this newfound identity comes Sommelier/Partner Todd Thrasher, who will mix ‘Majestic Classics,’ cocktails of the past. Mint Juleps and Sidecars will be shaken and served along with the local boy’s own childhood favorites - NeHi Ginger Ale, Home-Brewed Lemonade, and a Daily Slushy. The wine list? “Only names that everyone can pronounce,” chuckles Thrasher. “Nothing like the fancy wine at Restaurant Eve. This wine list will be very accessible with nothing over $50. Perhaps even a wink towards Virginian vineyards.”

Restaurant Eve’s Pastry Chef Rebecca Willis is thrilled to collaborate on a new dessert list. “I love that I will have the opportunity to continue layer-cakes. My grandmother has fantastic recipes - the taller, the better!” Other items diners can expect are Cookies and Shakes, Apple Crumble (when apples are in season) and the old Knickerbocker Glory.

Chef/Owner Cathal Armstrong plans to offer simple rustic cuisine of the Virginia seaboard and countryside, including dishes such as Rack of Lamb, Roast Chicken & The Grand ‘Dog’ (house-made Bratwurst). When dining out with Eve and Eamonn, the Armstrongs feel Children’s menus are often just an afterthought. “Kids dine so often now, it’s important that they too eat well and healthy.” So one title to appear on the new menu: ‘Majestic Kids.’ “I’m looking forward to items that would never appear on Eve’s fine dining menu, the polar opposite of Eve. However, with menu items still based on flavors found locally, you know… below the Mason-Dixon. I’m Irish, but I love the idea of livin’ in the south.”

And when questioned if their plans include any other restaurants in the future, perhaps crossing the bridge into the city, Meshelle laughs and declares with a drawl, “We may be born in different parts of the world, but we have been ‘Bred and Buttered’ in Virginia.”

The Majestic's re-launch is expected to be early May 2007.

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Rumor has it that Majestic Cafe's Rebirth is May 1. Cocktail party by invitation only Thursday evening.
It's not just a rumor :blink: - it's right here on the Majestic website, along with announced start dates for lunch service (May 15) and brunch (June 3).

I'm looking forward to this newest addition to the neighborhood from the EatGoodFood group! (I guess they can be called a group now that they're on establishment #4 - with more to come, we hope)

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Ate there last night, and with no surprises there were a few service gaffs, but nothing remarkable- the staff just isn't in a groove yet. I'm not worried about it- you can tell they were nervous and just needed more time.

As for food, our food was all wonderful- we started with some fried green tomatoes and crab cakes. The tomatoes were thick cuts so the acid from the tomato came out nicely into the breading and sauce. The crab cakes had basically no filler and were as good as I've had in the area.

For mains I had the steak frites- ny strip cut, made perfectly medium rare with a pat of herb butter on top, served with well seasoned fries with homemade mayo. Very good, simple, but good. She had the softshell crab that was lightly breaded, pan seared in a vinagrette. Also quite good.

For dessert she had a strawberry shortcake which i let her have to herself. I had the artisnal cheese plate which was very good as well.

All in all a good experience at a very fair price - total bill with wine was about 120, and we had one of the more expensive bottles on the list. Note that the most expensive bottle on the list is about $55.00, so you can have very good bottles and not throw down a ton of cash. Food was about 35 per person for an appetizer, main and dessert- can't beat that!

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Those crab cakes were good, as well as the meatloaf and roast chicken we sampled last night. The green beans and mashed potatoes that came with the meatloaf were outstanding. I am trying the warm cookies and milkshake on my next visit. We settled on the carrot cake for dessert last night and that was very good as well. Folks, Majestic Cafe is serving what may be the most expensive sweet ice tea in the world! I am from the south, so I may be a little bias here, but $3 for ice tea is a bit much IMHO. Other than that you should be able to find some solid comfort food here.

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Folks, Majestic Cafe is serving what may be the most expensive sweet ice tea in the world! I am from the south, so I may be a little bias here, but $3 for ice tea is a bit much IMHO. Other than that you should be able to find some solid comfort food here.

you know , most of the thai restaurants serve` thai iced tea` with no free refills and the price is usually $2.5

paying $3 for a regular iced tea with refills is a good deal I think.

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Those wanting to have dinner at the bar here will have to wait a while -- until things get settled, only a limited selection of appetizers will be available (crabcakes, terrine, caesar, etc.).

The Sunday dinner starts June 3 and will feature fresh chickens so reservations must be made by the Friday before.

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Those wanting to have dinner at the bar here will have to wait a while -- until things get settled, only a limited selection of appetizers will be available (crabcakes, terrine, caesar, etc.).

The Sunday dinner starts June 3 and will feature fresh chickens so reservations must be made by the Friday before.

those crab cakes are excellent and the cookies&shake is a great way to finish the meal. Strongly recommended.

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Those wanting to have dinner at the bar here will have to wait a while -- until things get settled, only a limited selection of appetizers will be available (crabcakes, terrine, caesar, etc.).
I had the fried green tomatoes with a glass of Riesling at the bar last night. Tangy, crisp and zesty...perfection!
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Three of us went there on Friday evening for dinner and walked away somewhat disappointed with the food. Maybe my expectations had been heightened, given the pedigree of the establishment and the few reviews that have been posted so far. Or perhaps it was my tolerance (or lack thereof) for olive oil coating everything I ate.

I had a starter of broiled sardines, which are an oily fish to start with. The abundance of oil in the dish helped to mask the flavour of the sardines. Even the capers and roasted garlic got lost in the oil. The breading atop the sardines was probably there to provide a crunchy texture but it lost the battle with the oil. It's a shame because it was a generous helping of sardines and it could've been so much more with a lighter hand.

Lisa had the fried green tomatoes. Years of southern cooking from her mom, aunt, and neighbours have probably spoiled her taste, too. She complained that the breading was too thick on the tomatoes. Her family's way of doing up fried green tomatoes is very simply with a light coating of flour or corn meal. And I can't say I'll ever disagree with my mother-in-law's way of making tomatoes.

We both came here specifically for the soft shelled crabs and again were disappointed by the heavy hand with the olive oil. I want to taste the sea, not the vineyard. We each got two large beautiful specimens who were treated as if they fodder for confit. What more can I say?

Maybe it's just us - in the long run, most of our favorite dishes are ones prepared in the simplest manner. If you've got good ingredients, let the taste of them shine through. Too much breading, oil, sauce, etc is usually the kitchen's way of saying "you don't want to taste this on it's own".

The bright spot was the delightful service at the bar and at our table. Our bartender and server were friendly and engaging, with excellent recommendations. I couldn't bring myself to express displeasure with the meal when they had tried so hard on our behalf.

I'll go back to the Majestic in a heartbeat for a happy hour cocktail and maybe a bar munchie. But I can't see myself going back for a "proper meal", not when there are so many other alternatives in OT.

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I'll go back to the Majestic in a heartbeat for a happy hour cocktail and maybe a bar munchie. But I can't see myself going back for a "proper meal", not when there are so many other alternatives in OT.

Had dinner there last week and found the food to be quite good. We started with the mentioned sardines and they were not too oily and tasted as I expected. She got the ceaser salad (made table side) and it was tasty. Dinner was the liver and onions for me and fettuccine bolognese for her and both were excellent. The only problem was we were too full to try dessert.

This restaurant is new so occasional inconsistencies in dishes will probably occur, but my first visit will have me back for a repeat trip to see if things are just as good.

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I have to give this place a rave review.

Went with a group of seven early saturday night (among the seven, my two year old). In sum, this was very simple, unpretentious food -- done perfectly. The service was stellar (two people helped us, our main server was a woman named Joey, I think).

For apps, among us we had the fried green tomatoes, sardines, terrine, asparagus soup, and ceasar salad. I ordered the terrine and it was excellent. So good, in fact, that my mother, who has spent some time eating her way through France, thought it was comparable to one she had in Lyon and ordered it as her main course (did I say I was with a high-maintenance group?). My wife loved the tomatoes. Every plate was clean.

For main course, they had a pasta special -- with some kind of pork bolognese sauce. Three people at the table ordered that and really liked it. I had the salmon, which was nicely sauteed and served on top of a seafood risotto with some mussels surrounding it. It was all cooked perfectly. My wife had the roast chicken, which tasted like it was lightly brined (it had a nice lightly salty flavor). The skin was a bit soggy for her taste (but she is used to the Thomas Keller Bouchon version which is a favorite we prepare at home).

Of course, I had to order fries on the side. They were quite good and were served with a very nice garlic aioli.

I have to underscore just how accommodating the service was. We had my parents and my in-laws and all the starts and stops and changing of minds that goes with that. Our server just rolled with it in good humor.

This is not fancy food. It is not Restaurant Eve. But for near perfect neighborhood restaurant fare -- classic and rustic American -- it is great.

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I have been seriously remiss in posting anything about my visits to the new Majestic. And, unfortunately, time has whittled away at a number of the memories, but I would truly be a terrible person if I did not at least share with you this. The Majestic is serving the best roast chicken I have had in the area. I have not had all of the roast chickens that many people have been raving about here. But I can say I thought it was the best I've had. And I've had Palena's.

I extend my heartfelt apologies to the fine folks there who I promised to share my thoughts with, and I assure you I will join you again sometime soon for a complete download. (Most likely while I'm filling up my internal fuel tank!)

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Dinner Saturday night at Majestic was very pleasant and the food so good I can't wait to go again. I haven't left a restaurant in a long time feeling stuffed but I am afraid I left Majestic that way. I just could not stop eating. I had the Fried Green Tomatoes and loved every bite. The sauces made them even better. The Asparagus soup with a very fine spray of beets was out of this world. Between the two of us we were scraping the bowl. I had the Soft Shells which were more than up to the ones I have had at several restaurants this year and almost but not quite as good as Restaurant Eve. Ken had the Seared Salmon. Cooked to a perfect medium rare along with a small portion of shellfish risotto. Again we were scraping our plates. For desert we shared the Ice Box Cake. Chocolate Mint Chip ice cream with a wonderful chocolate mouse. My French 76 was very light and refreshing and the Big Ken's Sidecar sweet but not too were a nice start. We only managed a class of cab and Chardonnay with our meal. Deborah the bartender did an outstanding job. Hasn't started yet but they mention a "Nana's Sunday Dinner" beginning soon. Right now the menu says that the price will be $68 for two to four (total not individually) With four it should be plenty and with two you can take leftovers home. The dinner will consist of a whole chicken, potatoes, two vegetables, and a whole pie. Sounds like a good family dinner one Fall evening.

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If the Alexandria Crime Report is correct Majestic Cafe is the most recent victim of the roof top burglars. ;)

I have personal confirmation from an employee that it IS correct, unfortunately. The crooks apparently came in through a skylight and took computer equipment. I am also told they tried the safe -- they moved it around, but could not get into it.

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Because??? My one visit there was good and was looking forward to returning, but I am interested to hear about why the thumbs down.

I'll try to keep it brief: the "house made orrichette" were lifeless and bland and suffering under the weight of too many breadcrumbs, the softshell crabs were soggy and limp when they got to our table, and the branzino was overcooked and suffering similar problems as the softshells. I found myself in a rare spot of not sending something back because it would have meant sending everything back. I'd like to go back at some point and find that this was a major aberration. They're only a month and half into it, after all.

Service was pretty good, but it did take somewhere between 35 to 40 minutes for our entrees to arrive, despite the restaurant being only a quarter full. Lastly, for a place that touts its commitment to local, seasonal dishes, the menu stuck me as something you'd want to encounter in December, not June: liver, roast chicken, meatloaf, steak and potatoes...

Things I did like: excellent sweet tea, a good waiter, and the prices.

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Capital Icebox,

I would have preferred if you had sent items back if you were not happy with them.

Then we could have assurred we made it right for you. The goal is: To make you leave happy.

Steak, chicken and liver are always in season...as long as they are 'fresh.'

Our commitment to the small area farmer will never waiver....He's gotta sell those chickens

even in the summer. And being a diner myself, I am also happy about the 'new' Majestic.

Happy you liked the tea, prices and waiter though-Thank you!

Be Well All,

Meshe at Eve and the Majestic

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I heard that a new menu was going to be rolled out at Majestic this week ( as of Wednesday?).

Anybody been there in the last 2 nights that can verify this?

Sounds like certain dishes will be permanent fixtures (and based on CrescentFresh's raves about the roast chicken, deservedly so), but I'd bet there will be lots of seasonal (as opposed to 'fresh' ;) ) additions throughout the year too.

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Am I the only one who sorely misses the old Majestic? ;)
Haven't tried the new Majestic yet but definitely miss a semi-upscale Southern diner type place which purveys carrot and raisin salad, deviled eggs, pimento cheese, and the like.

But it's not surprising, considering that, while NoVA isn't north of the literal Mason-Dixon line, these days it qualifies, at least in the minds of Southerners, as "Occupied Virginia."

In the North, fried green tomatoes are quaint. In the South, they're a time honored way to use up your green tomatoes before the frost kills them. And thereby hangs the tale.

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Am I the only one who sorely misses the old Majestic? ;)
Nope, I miss Susan and I miss Joe and I miss the people who worked there. A definite mix of personalities that gave the place a personal feeling. Gone, but not forgotten. I can't bring myself to go to the "new" Majestic.
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Showed up on a weeknight thinking a small wait would get us a table, but it was packed! Ate at the bar though, and had a great meal. Easily the best thing we had was the asparagus soup - were those little pieces of beets in it? Anyway, it was fantastic. Entrees were the strip and the house-made pasta. The strip was interesting - cooked just a shade too much but the butter on top made it very good overall. The salad on the plate was a little out of control but no big deal. My date loved the pasta, obviously fresh, cooked perfectly and had a great selection of fresh veggies.

The bartender was extremely friendly and took some serious time to make the perfect limeade which we appreciated.

Can't wait to go back and try some more things.

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My wife and I had a great time eating dinner at the bar last night. She started with an off-menu order of a splendid French 75 (ok they have the French 76 on the menu so it wasn’t too far off menu), I went for the Old Cuban and could not have been happier. The Old Cuban was a very complex rum filled romp.

We started with the Charcuterie Plate. I believe that this was the best I have had in the area. It was simple, with Bresaola drizzled with balsamic, sopressata sprinkled with crushed peppers, a couple of pieces of firm cheese, and a house made cheese spread that went perfectly with the Bresaola. The platter was also served with a combination of various sized olives mixed with herbs and pine nuts.

It is getting near the end of the soft-shell season so I took on one last chance to have some. The softies served last night were small, so small I wonder how they could have been legal, but the three that came on the platter were quite tasty, and no limp as someone further up thread mentioned. The succotash was a nice accompaniment to what I fear are my last softies of the season.

My wife’s strip steak was a great example of what a steak can be, perfectly cooked with a nice crust, and a compound butter that compliments the steak not overpowers its meaty flavor. However, for me the star of the dish were the fries. They were simple rather thick fries that surprisingly tasted like potato. I am not sure what it was about these fries that one me over, they are not cooked in duck fat, they were not particularly crispy, they did not come with any fancy mayo’s, they just tasted like a fry should taste. We both decided one of our upcoming visits will consist only of these fries with a couple of cold beers.

Desert was good, we had the mind-freeze inducing lemon sorbet, and the ice-box cake. Both were very good, the ice-box cake lost some of its complexity when the too small portion of mint ice cream was finished, and I was hoping that the sorbet would have been a sampler instead of three large scoops of one type.

The service at the bar was friendly and professional so much so that I think that in the future I might just forgo trying to eat in the dinning room and pull-up a chair to that bar.

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My wife and I had a great time eating dinner at the bar last night. She started with an off-menu order of a splendid French 75 (ok they have the French 76 on the menu so it wasn’t too far off menu), I went for the Old Cuban and could not have been happier. The Old Cuban was a very complex rum filled romp.

We started with the Charcuterie Plate. I believe that this was the best I have had in the area. It was simple, with Bresaola drizzled with balsamic, sopressata sprinkled with crushed peppers, a couple of pieces of firm cheese, and a house made cheese spread that went perfectly with the Bresaola. The platter was also served with a combination of various sized olives mixed with herbs and pine nuts.

It is getting near the end of the soft-shell season so I took on one last chance to have some. The softies served last night were small, so small I wonder how they could have been legal, but the three that came on the platter were quite tasty, and no limp as someone further up thread mentioned. The succotash was a nice accompaniment to what I fear are my last softies of the season.

My wife’s strip steak was a great example of what a steak can be, perfectly cooked with a nice crust, and a compound butter that compliments the steak not overpowers its meaty flavor. However, for me the star of the dish were the fries. They were simple rather thick fries that surprisingly tasted like potato. I am not sure what it was about these fries that one me over, they are not cooked in duck fat, they were not particularly crispy, they did not come with any fancy mayo’s, they just tasted like a fry should taste. We both decided one of our upcoming visits will consist only of these fries with a couple of cold beers.

Desert was good, we had the mind-freeze inducing lemon sorbet, and the ice-box cake. Both were very good, the ice-box cake lost some of its complexity when the too small portion of mint ice cream was finished, and I was hoping that the sorbet would have been a sampler instead of three large scoops of one type.

The service at the bar was friendly and professional so much so that I think that in the future I might just forgo trying to eat in the dinning room and pull-up a chair to that bar.

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Sthitch -- I agree. The service at the bar is just great! I've eaten at the bar several times since the Majestic reopened in May and I'm not even tempted to go on back to the diningroom. Went in the other night to try a new item...scallops. They are now definitely my new favorite (edging out the crabcakes) Have Deborah, the bartender, suggest the perfect wine to accompany your meal. She's hit it perfectly 100% of the time for me.

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I am not eating at all this week! After a four day bender in Vegas from last Saturday through Tuesday, in which I ate everything in the city, my goal was to take the rest of the week and weekend off. But, I am a pushover, no will power at all when someone asks me to go out, so I ended up at three places this weekend, The Majestic being the first.

I have only been here once, several years ago, before the new ownership. We had reservations at Farrah Olivia at 9:15 PM, but I balked at going home and relaxing, I would have just passed out, so we went to The Majestic for an hour or so before dinner.

To begin, the place was pretty packed, not a seat to be had at the bar, but the service was wonderful. Instead of me fighting to get up to the bar, one of the bartenders actually came around the bar to take our order, something I rarely see, but something I loved. We ordered the Tom Collins and Hemingways Daquiri, and then later had a Prohibition. All three drinks were OK, but falling short of expectations, I would not order any of them again.

Since we were just there for a bit and wanted to order something to hold us over, we got the fried green tomatoes and the cake special of the day (banana and chocolate). To be honest, both were just OK as well. The tomatoes were good, but they just left something to be desired. Same for the cake, although it had good flavors, it was too soggy. Again, I wouldn't order these items again.

Great service, great space, average drinks, average food. I won't judge a restaurant by the hour that we spend there in the bar, but I also won't rush back there soon either. Sometimes great expectations are too hard to overcome.

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As the days shorten and the evenings turn cooler, the seared scallop salad offers a chance to enjoy some of the best flavors of summer before they're gone for good (at least until next year). Perfectly seared, plump and golden brown, the scallops (4 in our case) top a simple salad that features bite-size chunks of avocado and heirloom tomatoes, with fresh basil and the occasional surprise sliver of green (cerignola?) olive. A bit of tomato water completes the dish and made me wish the bread plate hadn't been removed before I had time to soak it up :angry: .

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A lunch report:

Count me as a fan of Majestic's fried green tomatoes. I can imagine a lighter batter, but theirs weren't exactly leaden, and the tomatoes themselves were thickly cut, meaty and delicious. Likewise, this is a good time to order an oyster po' boy, partly for the flavorful small-to-medium oysters, but also for the juicy tomatoes. The salumi platter and house-cured salmon were also excellent.

Like Eve, Majestic is the happy beneficiary of the Armstrongs' own home-grown bread baker, Nathan Hatfield. His finger rolls, served warm and crusty, kept vanishing despite my tablemates' protests that they didn't actually want more bread. The brats and po' boy are served on his hoagie roll, made from a good yeast roll recipe...I felt kind of bad about leaving bits of the tasty bread on my plate simply because I was getting full.

Some of the other items and accompaniments didn't fare quite as well. I enjoyed the "big brat", but it resembled kielbasa more than any Wisconsin brat that I've ever had. French fries were delicious and well-salted, but lacked the crisp exterior of true frites. Hand-cut potato chips were brown and a bit overfried.

We split a couple of desserts, just because. The ice box cake alternates chocolate wafers and chocolate mousse, but be careful with the accompanying quenelle of mint ice cream - it's really minty. In a good way...I just wasn't expecting it. The pumpkin spice cake with buttercream frosting was less of a hit; the pie spice mix is spot-on, but the cake itself could have been moister, and the buttercream was rather dense. (To be fair, both porcupine and mktye set a really high bar in the cake department, even if they are technically "hobbyists".)

Mixed bag? Perhaps, but the good items were really good, even if they're chiefly comfort foods, and the less-successful items were still better fare than most. It's not the lunchtime steal that the lickety-split is, but you're also getting the full sit-down service treatment, and I'd go again.

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After enjoying a couple of cocktails at PX, I decided to pop into The Majestic to grab a quick bite to eat at the bar. When I spotted the veal liver on the menu I bounced. Unfortunately what I got was poorly trimmed and overcooked, and had an acrid tasting balsamic reduction on top of the poorly cooked offal. This is too bad, liver and onions are one of my favorite things, and as Rocks noted here it is difficult to find a well prepared version of liver and onions in our fair city. I am hoping that my dish was a one off mistake, and not how it is commonly served at an otherwise respectable restaurant.

And one last note, someone needs a lighter hand when making the biscuits, the two I had tonight were as tough as beef jerkey.

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Chris makes a mean fresh-made limeade here at the bar and would have to say that it would be my ideal summer drink with a shot of vodka tossed in it (which he happily obliged when asked). The finger rolls and the cheesesteak special were also very good last weekend, along with the small but tasty calamari.

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Chris makes a mean fresh-made limeade here at the bar and would have to say that it would be my ideal summer drink with a shot of vodka tossed in it (which he happily obliged when asked). The finger rolls and the cheesesteak special were also very good last weekend, along with the small but tasty calamari.

Cheesesteak specal? Scoobie Doo says "rut"? Tell us about it :mellow:

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