You are downtown either shopping, a special date, or an evening at the theatre. Then you have a craving or a taste for something that is simple, elegant , and most importantly tastes good. There are so many places and so many choices. but most of them involve a television and screaming fans. Well we found a place for a mellow and fun evening. It has a certain aviance and it might surprise you that its an affordable evening as well.
Recently we got an invitation from the wonderful folks at the Dana Hotel to spend some time at Freestyle. Even though ,the bistro has gone through several name changes. it remains constant with the quality that a restaurant in the Dana Hotel merits. It was a warm evening and downtown was filled with life.
Entering the restaurant, we were greeted to a warm and friendly atmosphere. The fireplaces made us feel relaxed and were a great decoration to the place. Our hostess was Tricia. She settled us in and had some of the hospitable servers bring us some drinks to start off our evening. The drinks here are a pleasant mix of traditional with a modern, hip twist.
The first drink was a pleasant cocktail with a Grey Goose (my favorite) , and pomegranate mixture called a St Noir. It looked so elegant in the flute it was served in and it was yummy. We also got to try a blueberry mojito , a novel twist on a mojito , served with fresh blueberries and Bacardi. I loved my chipotle pineapple maragarita. It was the perfect start to a cinco de mayo weekend. Jalapeno peppers were muddled together with pineapple and tequila. The perfect compliment was their fresh guacamole that was served with in house made tortilla chips. Ole! As a fan of Mad Men, I have always wanted to try the drink of Don, an old fashioned . It is definitely a drink from a bygone era. The bartender did create a drink that is fit for any true cocktail gourmet to savor. I nursed mine because of the flavor, a little too strong for me , but something I can mark off my cocktail bucket list.
Along with the guacamole, we were offered some other goodies to try. The winner with Jen was the queso fundido. Cheese and more cheese. She also puts Freestyle’s mac and cheese in her own top five as best mac and cheese. The parmesan topping is heavenly as well as the gruyere cheese sauce .One of my favorites was the rock shrimp with its tangy sauce with spice. Don’t forget the sushi either. Freestyle’s is comparable to any of the sushi places downtown. We feasted on two , the citrus salmon roll and the summer roll futo maki. The salmon roll was so good with the mango touch and the summer roll had that special little kick, not too spicy but a little heat. I had always wanted to try serviche ever since I first heard it mentioned on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” This serviche was right on the mark with the apple caviar garnishment. Once again, in house won tons were served with the dish. Our main dish was a lively little number called jumping beef. It was a symphony in the mouth with its Asian flavor added to fresh vegetables and beef.
One of the biggest treats of the evening is looking at the dessert menu. But it is an even bigger treat when your desserts are brought out by the artist in residence. We were presented three delectable treats by executive chef,Ariel Bagadiong. A lovely bananas foster paired with homemade doughnuts with ricotta cheese filling and the very creative brown butter brownie sundae. The sundae was an original with its amarena cherries, butterscotch brownie paired with gelato . Stupendous!
Freestyle is located on State Street, in the ultra modern Dana Hotel. You can also continue your night at the high in the sky nightclub Vertigo. It is for the warm days of summer as well as the cold days of winter. Freestyle also features happy hour with select appetizers from 4-7 M-F. They also have a great bunch available. Another plus is that they are open late , on the weekends until 2 am. Our special thanks to Michael at Zapwater, Ariel, Tricia, Kourtney, and Josh. Thanks for one of the best evenings in quite a while.