Sky Restaurant and Cloud 9 Lounge, 322 Demers, Grand Forks, ND
- Price: $$$$$
- Ambiance: 4.0/5
- Service: 4.5/5
- Food: 3.5/5
Wednesday, sundown is an hour or so away, temperature has dropped to 70, the few trees sway, and the day’s end has a name:
And after such a blazing day
At last the breeze began to play
I drained my glass and turned to see
Her face she smiled she spoke to me
I told her my name I asked her the same
She said they call me sky…
(partial lyrics to Sky performed by Human League, written by: Philip Oakey and N. Barton © 2011.)
We met some friends at Sky’s for dinner, drinks, catch-up conversation and laughs. The guys discussed ways of the world, fishing, favorite and not so favorite beers and of course, times gone by. The gals were in high form, animated, speaking in their secret language; we ignored each other, mostly, except to comment on the food and drinks, and with more drinks, more comments, not necessarily on food and drinks, but certainly drinks were discussed when only the ice remained.
The restaurant and lounge are located on the second floor of the old First National Bank building, built-in 1915, accessible by escalator near the main floor entrance. Sky’s atmosphere and décor are upscale chic with a casual flare, nice clean lines without any pretensions to something greater, wooden chairs and cloth booths. White, starched table cloths at the booth tables would have afforded a stylish touch. There were some plastic looking orangish-red chairs with chrome frames mixed in with the wooden chairs at the tables, appearing embarrassed and out-of-place. We sat at a booth overlooking Demers Avenue which is not terrible scenic but it affords an opportunity to study the people on the sidewalks below without shame or guilt.
We started our event with Tanqueray and tonic and a margarita on the rocks. Not particularly difficult to make well, but nevertheless they were good, cool, and refreshing. We followed that up with more margaritas, Bailey’s, and Stella beers. A fine night it was. For some inexplicable reason we passed on sampling the wine selection, which appeared prodigious, but now we have an additional reason to return.
We followed the drinks up with an appetizer of escargot, $12, immersed in cognac butter with a faint amount of garlic, brought to our table in a white porcelain escargot tray, served very hot, but in a nit-picking way, not sizzling, popping and bubbling, affording a 4th of July delivery. A sliced white bread roll was added to soak up every drop of the piquant butter. The escargots were delicious and definitely primed us for the entrees.
I ordered the filet mignon, $36, with a warm pink center, and accompanied with asparagus spears and a demi-glaze sauce served on the side, but I passed on the potatoes for waist-line reasons. My spouse asked for the herb crusted lamb loin, $28, served medium, and topped off with asparagus spears, garlic mashed potatoes and apple chutney sauce. The filet was presented in a pedestrian manner with a half-dozen of so asparagus spears stacked on top of each other, opposite the steak sans dress. The filet came well done with the very center being medium well and a peppercorn sauce was substituted for the demi-glaze. The overcooked filet was tender but lacked the juiciness of medium. The asparagus was crisp, not tough, and tasty. The waitress was apologetic for the steak and sauce errors and offered to start over, but being the trooper that I am, I just carried on. She then offered to buy dessert but in the end we declined, although having the manager trek over to our booth and tell us that the chef had a terrible toothache and was having trouble concentrating on his art would have cheered us some…more. The lamb, served sliced and stacked en-echelon around the contours of the plate, bogarting ones attention to the detriment of the asparagus and potatoes. The lamb came as ordered, a perfect warm pink center, seasoned to perfection. Wonderful.
Service was as one would expect, prompt, courteous, and attentive at all the right times.
We’ll go again mainly to sample the wine selection and under the assumption that the kitchen was having a bad night or toothache, deserving of a second chance.