I’m always a last-minute sort of person. That said, I did not make it to Spring Formal. But you can’t complain about missing the boat when you had been staring at it for a week and never got on. So Friday came, and I resolved not to spend my night alone. Within just a few hours, I was sitting in a nice restaurant with one of the most wonderful women I know sitting across from me. Don’t worry, ladies; I’m still single. I was just having dinner with my grandma. Freed of any social obligations on campus, I decided to spend one of the last Friday nights of my college career at my grandma’s house.
Now, the restaurant is a little far away – in North Dallas, along Royal just before you hit Preston – and the name won’t give you any hints on what to expect. Called “Natalie’s,” it describes itself as serving American food, but that’s a lie – not enough bacon on the menu. Considering prices generally stick around the $15-$20 range, it probably isn’t a place you would go to for a quick bite to eat. It would be good for a date or maybe a few friends wanting to go out to eat someplace a bit nicer than Chipotle before departing for the summer.
As for the restaurant: clean, quiet, dark but well-lit inside, and very relaxing, even at 6 p.m. on a Friday evening. They start with the standard bread and water. Now, Natalie’s has a modern style to it, which means they make creative use of white space in presenting their bread (in other words: not enough bread!), but nevertheless, the bread ranks with some of the best I’ve had at restaurants in America.
Entrees come with soup or salad, and seeing as I’m categorically opposed to salad, I went with the potato soup – excellent choice: smooth taste and good quality. Most of their dishes seem to have a lot of Italian influence. It was a close call between the chicken piccata, a lifelong favorite, and osso bucco, one of the best dishes I had in Rome. The piccata won; I can’t resist capers. The sauce was thick and the chicken was good, with steamed veggies on the side and some awesome roasted potatoes: crispy on the outside, smooth and steamy on the inside. We ended the night with coffee, which was actually really well made. The waitstaff was friendly and attentive, and the restaurant is nicely put together – the first thing you see when you walk in is a full bar, always a plus.
It was a great night, with great food and great company. Am I disappointed that I didn’t get to go to Spring Formal? Sure, but what I got that night was perfect, and with the end of the year havoc, I could not have thought of a better way to relax.
I was happy with the food, but since I’m also happy with the food at Chipoltle, why go to Natalie’s? It’s clean and formal, but not stuffy, sitting midway between fancy and relaxed. It does a fine job of getting out of the way so you can enjoy company, which really is what a restaurant ought to do.