Spoon has closed and changed its name to Declan's Pub.
A traditional Old Town crowd favorite, Spoon has recently undergone an interior polishing to reflect 2005's industrial decor trend. The neighborhood's comfort is still part of the Spoon experience, but this summer's patrons unwind behind a 40-foot bar with a mirror backdrop, glass shelves and a lighting concept that illuminates 20 "floating" bottles. Low-slung banquettes replace booths and are upholstered in hot chocolate hues, accented with orange throw pillows. At standing room-only capacity during the Old Town Art Fest, the wrap-around patio is freshened with tall plants, fruits, ferns and other flowers.
Fragrant and fruity beverages include the Mucho Mango Stoli (citrus vodka, mango liquor, splash of fresh pineapple, lime and cranberry juices for $9) and the Spoon Flirt (Stoli Razberi vodka, Cointreau splash of fresh pineapple, lime and cranberry juices and champagne topping also for $9).
Executive chefs Michael Cone and Scott Ryan spin American comfort food with regional delicacies. The menu is quartered into four regions: North, South, East and West. Revamping a fave with its fresh-cut French fries, Spoon eschews ketchup packets in favor of the beer and cheese-dipped creations of the East Coast to the Wild West version, dusted with mushroom essence and dipped in horseradish sauce, priced at $4.95. Bacon-flavored potato sticks with black pepper goat cream cheese descend from the North, and any Southerner will feel at home with sweet potato fries sprinkled with a Cajun essence and horseradish cream for dipping. Each helping feeds at least two and is definitely a more sophisticated means of getting a late night fix than the Wendy's stop-by.
Other highlights include a deconstructed crab cake (East) that's almost too attractive to eat; grilled cheese with raclette, mozzarella and smoked gouda on brioche (North) that trounces the cheese sandwiches of your youth; and a salmon croquette with frisee lettuce that's worth a venture West.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright