Friday, September 30, 2016

A Recent Visit to Foley's

Over the years, I have been sort of up and down on Foley's. Without a doubt, it is one of the more lavish dining spots in Sioux Falls with little expense spared on furnishings and fixtures. The menu has always trended toward up-scale steak and chop house, less Tea and more Chicago or New York, with large cuts of beef or pork, fresh fish, and rich sides. The prices have generally matched. I'm not talking overly expensive by any means, but cheap it ain't.

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. 

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