Restaurant News & Reviews

It s almost all good

It's all good. I guess that's what Saul Good is hoping you'll think when you enter this new restaurant-pub in The Plaza at Fayette Mall. With a little tweaking on Saul's part, I think you just might.

Saul Good is a pub in the classic sense. It's a place — a large room — for folks to gather and enjoy drink and light fare — ­appetizers, soup, salads, pizzas, burgers, assorted ­sandwiches, chicken and waffles, and desserts. And, because this pub is in a high-rent district, expect to pay more.

On my first visit, a companion and I ­sampled lettuce wraps ($7.95) and ­Southwestern dip ($7.95). Either one of the appetizers could have been split. The ­lettuce wrap, Vietnamese style in a way, was ­delicious. Bits of ginger chicken were topped with crushed peanuts and served with fresh iceberg lettuce leaves for wrapping. A sweet-sour dressing was served on the side. This was absolutely delicious. However, Romaine or leaf lettuce leaves would wrap better.

The Southwestern dip was good, too. Blue corn chips surrounded a bowl of a creamy, mildly spiced dip made of cream cheese and maybe sour cream, mixed with smoked white shoepeg corn, jalapeños and chilies. It had a lightly smoky flavor and was delicious.

The Mexican pizza ($12.95) was a ­different story. The crust was great, but the toppings tasted flat. I guess we were expecting a punch of cumin, but it didn't have it. This was a thin pizza, topped with refried beans and ground beef. The menu suggests spicy beef, but we couldn't tell that it had been spiced at all. ­Jalapeños, green onion, Cheddar and jack cheeses and sour cream were all there, but the pizza needed something more to make it ”Mexican.“ My companion wanted something else, but she took the pizza home with her. (She said it was better the next day. Apparently, it was a late bloomer.)

She ordered the turkey Cobb sandwich ($8.25), Saul's twist on an old favorite, the Cobb salad, created at The Brown Derby, a famous restaurant in Hollywood. Served with slender french fries (thinner than ­McDonald's), the ­sandwich was much like a club — turkey, bacon, slices of avocado, blue cheese and Cobb salad dressing. It was excellent.

On another trip to Saul Good, I tried the French onion soup ($3.95) and a ­wonderful spinach salad ($7.25). The onion soup was standard, but the spinach salad was ­exceptional. Fresh young spinach leaves were all coated perfectly with a champagne ­vinaigrette. In the mix were rings of red onion, pear slices, crumbled blue cheese, crumbled spiced pecans and sun-dried ­cranberries.

That brings us to Saul Good's signature dish: chicken and waffles ($12.95). In a soul food-inspired ­combination, a delicious Belgian waffle had been topped with fried chicken and maple syrup. The fried chicken didn't work. The menu said it was lightly fried, but the chicken I got had been deep-fried way too long. So long, in fact, that it was hard to cut. I got a hard chicken knot on a maple syrup-drizzled waffle. More syrup was served on the side in a little pitcher. While it sounds unique, it could be better. Face it, waffles are just a ­batter bread. They'd be great with turkey hash on them or chicken a la king. I think Saul Good should re-examine its mix.

The best thing I had all night was Saul Good's dessert, namely the chocolate fondue ($9.95). Milk or white chocolate — I chose milk — was melted in a pot and served with bananas and strawberries, pretzels, waffle wedges and s'mores (graham crackers and marshmallow cream). Two could easily share this dessert.

The other dessert, a Kahlua chocolate cupcake ($6.95), was more kitsch than cake. It looked like a coffee cup with a chocolate handle. And like so many chocolate or devil's food cakes, it was dry. But the flavor was nice.

With some tweaking Saul Good could be all good.

Dinner for two, including one beer, one cocktail and tax but not tip, was $83.24. A light dinner for one (basically soup, salad and a beer) was $16.12, excluding tip.