Have you ever tasted something that was so good it brought tears to your eyes? If not, go to Marisol.
Marisol is about the food and service. Ambiance, not so much. Sure, the dining area is nice, it’s fun to watch what’s going on in the semi-open kitchen and their piano bar is cool, but the wow factor is missing.
Most definitely not missing the wow factor is the food and service – where it really counts.
After drinks were ordered and delivered, we were pleasantly surprised by a Lamb and Spinach Amuse Bouche. Perfectly cooked spinach and what I think was a spinach-wine sauce, enhanced these two or three bites of tender lamb.
One of the things you need to be prepared for at Marisol is the verbal menu. Excellent servers with excellent memories rattle off a long list of entrees and their pre-determined sides – in detail. Prices are not mentioned unless you ask. After reciting that evening’s menu, the server withdraws and you are left trying to remember everything and make a choice.
We asked a few follow-up questions when our server returned with a selection of Marisol’s signature Fig Walnut Sourdough bread (must try) Cheese Focaccia and Italian Rolls. Those seductive words floating from his lips worked – we ordered more than we intended.
Open kitchens are fun if you like watching the action. Our table had a great view, which we took advantage of while waiting for our appetizer, and throughout the evening.
This is what we couldn’t pass up. A Goat Cheese Tart topped with a wonderful strawberry “salad”, dressed with champagne lemon vinaigrette and finally, drizzled with Balsamic reduction ($16). Mixed bites of flaky pastry, creamy goat cheese, strawberries & greens and balsamic were so luscious they started the tearing up.
About this time things got a little interesting. My dining partner raised her head, eyes wide, and said, “something just dripped on my head.” We’re indoors. How could that happen? No one was standing next to, or even near her. Looking up we noticed condensation droplets on an air-conditioning vent overhead. Just then out server magically appeared and asked if there was a problem. One look up and he immediately moved us to another table. You’d expect that, but the it was handled impeccably.
Talk about layers of flavor! This Five Spice Catfish dish ($35) anchored in a fabulous Peach and Ginger Coulis was terrific! The Catfish was delicately placed on top of mashed Sweet Potatoes, Collards and Zucchini. That really would have been enough, but it was also topped with Spicy Red Cabbage Slaw and garnished with a few Flash Fried Oysters.
Where to begin? The Catfish? Incredible. Tender and flaky inside, beautifully seasoned batter outside. While the oysters brought a sweet, soft-crunch to the dish, they were counter-balanced by the spicy red cabbage slaw. Veggies were as you’d expect of a presentation done correctly. All in all, a fantastic dish that did nothing to stop the damp eyes.
Here’s where the bawling began. Just kidding – but just. This Filet ($38) had to be one of the best either of us had ever had. Served medium -rare, perched on the same vegetable trio with a light gravy / sauce, it was fall-apart-tender and had a perfect sear.
We were both so full, we decided to pass on dessert until . . . our server announced Marisol was going to comp us on two desserts as compensation for being dripped on and having to move to another table. Oh, okay. If we have to, we have to. All desserts are $10.
Both of these desserts sounded so go, we ordered planning to share.
I’m a huge fan of clafoutis, so imagine my delight at this Blueberry Clafoutis served in a skillet with house-made Blueberry-Ginger sorbet. It did not disappoint.
Neither did this Valrhona (French) Liquid Center Chocolate Cake. I was a little nervous about ordering this because the molten center chocolate cake has become so declasse. You’re never sure whether you’ll be served some re-heated frozen thing or not. I should have known better. This was a divine rendition, served with a pipping hot liquid dark chocolate center and garnished with shaves of dark chocolate, naturally accompanied by Vanilla Bean ice cream.
Price is something that needs to be addressed. Marisol has been called “the most expensive restaurant in the Triad” by John Batchelor, who has been reviewing restaurants for over 20 years. I’m not sure what date the article I’m quoting was written. Things may have changed in the Triad more recently? Do I think it’s overpriced? Yes. Would I go back for an exceptional meal or special occasion? Yes. Judging from our experience and everything I’ve read, in Marisol’s case, you are guaranteed an uncommonly good meal served by amazingly attentive staff – every time.
I’m not going to go into the state of our waistlines after this meal, but it was totally worth it.
- Marisol has been in business since 1977, so most local Triadites know what Marisol is all about.
- Marisol is unexpectedly tucked away in a small, nondescript shopping mall (left side below) (MAP) well outside of downtown Greensboro, to the southwest. In a way, this makes it an even greater find for those not in the know.
- We each had a Gin & Tonic, priced at $10.50
5834 High Point Rd # E
Greensboro, NC 27407