By Krin Mims
I’ve heard rave reviews of the Looking Glass Restaurant and Gourmet Bakery for several years and decided to check it out for myself. Known for their bakery and excellent staff, I was excited to see what all the buzz was about.
My husband and I arrived on a Friday evening to the restaurant centrally located in a small shopping center. The parking lot was full, but we didn’t have to wait once we got inside. It was obvious at a glance that the restaurant was clean and kempt. From what I could see, one side hosts larger parties while the other houses the main eating area.
The host was friendly and took us to a small table for two. The table was well set and everything seemed to be freshly washed and wiped down. Live music was played in the corner by a group of Celtic string artists. The music was beautiful but a bit loud for the small room. Our gazes were immediately drawn upward to large, brightly colored, sporadically hung kites. The décor was a bit mismatched with garland, Christmas lights and sculptures, and I was seated directly beside what seemed to be their office. Directly to my left, sat a computer, office chair and files. The restrooms were easy to find and both seemed recently cleaned.
Our server, Bryan, handed us menus and a fairly extensive wine list for such a small restaurant. We started with the spinach dip. It was thick, gooey with cheese and delicious spinach and served with multicolored tortilla chips. The dip was fantastic and plentiful — though we could have used a few extra chips to help us finish off our appetizer.
My husband ordered the Peruvian steak with steamed seasonal vegetables, and I ordered the butternut ravioli with shrimp finished in a Sherry wine reduction. Both entrees came with a fresh side salad. The steak was cooked to our preference but seemed a bit fatty and needed salt. We had to do a lot of cutting and trimming to enjoy the meat. The vegetables were plentiful and seasoned well. My plate had a large serving of ravioli filled with a butternut puree, steaming in a bowl of Sherry cream sauce and several shrimp. The pasta was cooked well, and the sauce was tasty but the shrimp seemed like it was boiled and added as an afterthought. The dish lacked a depth of seasoning through each step. A dish of steamed Brussels sprouts were brought to the table as well. They were tasty, but I wasn’t positive they were fresh.
Throughout the evening, Bryan checked on us, and each server we interacted with was helpful. I was very impressed by the level of service at the Looking Glass.
In the corner of the restaurant was a huge case of cakes, pastries, cheesecakes and other desserts that I could see while we were eating. I was very excited to order knowing that they pride themselves on their bakery. We were fairly full, so we decided to order a piece of Reese’s cheesecake and strawberry cake to take home.
When we arrived home, we realized we’d actually been given Butterfinger cheesecake, but it wasn’t a big upset. It was fantastic, rich and creamy with plenty of Butterfingers crumbled on top of toffee whipped cream. The strawberry cake had a delicious, creamy frosting, but the cake itself was a bit grainy and had only a hint of strawberry flavor.
Based on the service and atmosphere alone, I’d certainly be willing to try Looking Glass Restaurant again. The food certainly needed some seasoning and a nudge in a different direction, but there were great highlights to the evening that made me want to try other items. Their lunch and breakfast menu looked very appealing, and I’ll certainly consider their cheesecake again in the future.
Try it at home
Flavored whipped cream: In a mixer, combine heavy cream, ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar and flavoring of your choice (Heath bar, orange essence, chocolate, lavender, etc). Whip in mixer until stiff peaks appear. This is a great accent to any dessert.
Looking Glass Restaurant
Cuisine: International gourmet and bakery
Location: 329 Warfield Blvd, Ste H, Clarksville