Like most places do here in Sioux Falls, it opened with a big bang. It was a new, fancy place to go for special dinners or to splurge on a whim.
But, I generally started to lose interest. For the price, I could (and still can) make better steaks at home. The sides became sort of same-old, at least to me. And, I always thought the wine list prices were a bit more pumped up than necessary. So, I generally started ignoring the place, finding interest in new people doing new things in food (at least by Sioux Falls standards) like Bros. and Parker's.
Well, I very recently had an opportunity to visit Foley's again- wasn't my idea, but, hey, I wasn't buying and I wanted to see if the Vanguard ownership group was giving Foley's the same sort of general shot in the arm that I noticed on a previous trip to another one of their acquisitions, Grille 26.
So, how was it? In a word: Pretty Forking Good! I am very pleased to see a number of changes that will have me back as soon as I can get there. Here's the rundown:
- Menu: Definitely punched up since the last time I was there. Of course there is the usual listing of nice cuts of corn-fed beef, thick chops, fresh fish (including the staple Chilean Sea Bass), salads and sides. But there is also a very impressive listing of features that include other cuts, and preparations that go beyond flame-grilled to order. like Poblano Orange Marmalade Glazed Pork, and Pork Osso Bucco (which I will address in a moment).
- Wine list: No complaints. It's been re-worked and you can definitely spend some coin on some good juice, but there are also a lot of fine selections that will allow you to consider a second bottle without denting your bank account too badly. There is also a fine selection of beers, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Service: The service we experienced was outstanding. I love having appropriately attentive servers who will share their honest opinions on food and wine selections when asked. Knowledge of the menu and the willingness to steer a customer to a different choice that isn't just an up-sell is awesome. Our server hit all the high marks.
- Environment: The decor has not changed from what I can tell. It's always been a fancy looking place with good lighting and excellent overall noise levels.
If you haven't visited Foley's for a while, give it a shot. It's well worth the time and the money. And, if you can, try the Pork Osso Bucco. What the fork is that, you ask? Well, usually, it is a big thick, cross cut of beef shank that is braised into submission in a tomatoey sauce. The term translates into "bone with a hole." The Pork Osso Bucco at Foley's is a pork shank- the lower part of piggy's leg- from where the ham ends and the foot begins. It's a tough cut full of connective tissue. If you braise or slow roast a cut like that, all that tendon and tough stringy stuff (collagen) in there melts into gelatin. When that happens, a person has one tender, tasty, lip-smacking cut of meat. Foley's slow roasts the shank and glazes it with apple cider. It's served up with some extra glaze that has been reduced to a point where it is slightly molasses-y. It looks like something a servant would lay out before Henry VIII. It's awesome.