Overview of Restaurant and Concept: We took a trip to Gainesville and stopped off at 101 Downtown to try some of their culinary delights. 101 Downtown is a restaurant in the evening that turns into a lounge/nightclub at night. We came in early around 5pm so we can only speak to the food this time.
Food: The menu at 101 downtown offers something for every price level. Small plates start at $4 with the lobster bisque while extra large plates top out at $36 with the wasabi crusted lamb. You could easily come in and munch for cheap on the small plates while enjoying a cocktail or two. Alternately you can elect to go full on fine dining with Pomegranate duck or a Delmonico ribeye. We led off with the lobster bisque($4). The bisque had really good flavor, though lobster lovers may find it disappointing since it only has a small amount of finely chopped lobster. I would definitely order it again. I consider myself a bit of a lobster bisque connoisseur and it’s one of the better ones I’ve had. The first thing my wife saw on the menu was a cheese plate. She was really excited to try it. I knew when I saw it was $7 it wasn’t going to be great. It’s really tough for a restaurant to do a top notch cheese plate at that price. For the price it ended up being okay I guess. The plate came with cheddar, smoked Gouda, apples, strawberry, and the crackers you get in the basic box at Walmart. The Gouda was too smokey for our liking and the cheddar was a pretty basic cheddar. It’s fair for the price but I’d skip it next time. Now, getting into the meat portion of the meal we went for the Kobe meatballs($6.50)-Kobe beef, sherry tomato sauce, parmesan. These were pretty bland. The sauce tasted like standard marinara sauce. I expected more. When you think Kobe beef you expect a rich meaty flavor that wow’s you. These weren’t even as good as your standard beef meatball. Next up was the sushi of the day- Tempura Tiger, shrimp avocado, and cucumber with spicy sauce. Normally when you order a specialty roll it comes packed with meat and veggies and is a a bit fatter than the standard roll. This one was sized more like your standard sushi roll. The sushi was a good blend of flavors but had a bit too much sauce. It was enjoyable and I’d probably give it another go if I was in a sushi mood.
For my main entree I tried to order the Delmonico ribeye steak. After taking the order the waitress came back and said they were out of the ribeye but I could get a steak filet Delmonico style. I went ahead and did that. I was happy I did. The filet mignon Delmonico($27 + $3 for delmonico style) was fantastic! The Delmonico style included caramelized onions, blue cheese, mushrooms, and balsamic reduction. I picked up my knife and fork, cut it, then commented to my wife about how amazed I was at the tenderness of the steak. My wife looked at me and said, “It must be really tender because you cut it with a butter knife”. I didn’t even realize I had mistakenly picked up a butter knife instead of my steak knife. It’s pretty impressive for a steak to be so tender you can easily cut it with a butter knife. This filet rivaled any steak I’ve had at Ruth Chris or Capital grille and for $10 less. The Delmonico really added something to the steak and they managed to have just the right amount of blue cheese so as to add strong flavor without being too overwhelming. I would come back here just for the steak! Heck, I might drive the hour and a half to Gainesville just for the steak! The steak came with a huge helping of wasabi mashed potatoes. They were just okay.
Service: I had read through the reviews on Urbanspoon and yelp before coming here and a few people raved about the food while telling service horror stories. I feared we might be in for one of these horrible service experiences when we were seated in a back corner of the restaurant in a booth with walls so high we really couldn’t see most of the restaurant from the booth. If our server was walking through the restaurant she definitely couldn’t see us. Not the case this time. We got great service and never wanted for anything. Drinks got filled quickly. Orders were taken in a timely fashion. Perfect service.
- Amazing steak!
- Very good lobster bisque
- Options for any budget
- Outstanding service
- You get what you pay for with the cheap small plates
- Skip the kobe meatballs