Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Morgantown Edition: Morgantown Flour & Feed Co.
The highly anticipated Morgantown Flour & Feed Co. restaurant has opened in the Wharf District, taking on the namesake of the historic building.
For some background, this location hasn't seemed to be prosperous during my time in Morgantown: First being Synergy Chophouse and Saloon, then Mon River Chophouse, then Careyes Grill then Lebanese Bistro, before its current incarnation.
The name - harkening back to the building's roots - gave me hope. I think it's trendy. But, one day whilst walking by the building before it was opened, I saw a man hunched over the railing taking a break from his work. I asked if he was an owner, and he said yes. I said I was excited for the opening and asked what kind of food they would have, he responded unenthusiastically with "bar food," which was disappointing. Though, I wonder if he was instead a contractor or involved with the restaurant in another way.
Nonetheless, as soon as I got the chance, a few coworkers and I gathered to try it out. The building is - and always has been - quite beautiful. Though parking isn't easy (there is a metered lot a little walk away), the space is lovely. Black industrial ceiling, exposed brick walls, dark wooden floors and a giant, beautiful copper installation displaying glassware. Outside, there's a great dining space that overlooks the Rail Trail. It was too rainy this day, but I'd love to come back and check it out.
The menu is a bit eclectic - ranging from poutine and pierogies to wings and swordfish. It is all supposed to be handmade, though, so that's exciting. We put in two appetizer so we could sample: the poutine and the pierogies. Poutine seems to be creeping up on menus in Morgantown lately, but my first experiences with poutine came in Montreal - and it doesn't get much better than that.
The "poutine" wasn't so much poutine as it was like a sausage gravy overtop fries that quickly became soggy and a few hunks of very chewy pieces of pork fat. I think there was some squeezy cheese in there somewhere. All in all, not great. They were described as "hand cut fries, bourbon gravy, aged cheddar and crispy lardons," which sounds amazing. But, the actual flavor, not so much. The french fries that were not covered in the gravy were good - crisp and fresh - but others weren't crisp enough to stand up to the gravy, which was heavy and cheese curds were nonexistent. That said, changing up the gravy and adding cheese curds would make a world of difference.
Pierogies - I was impressed to see these were homemade! They were a bit thick, a bit dense. It says they are filled with herbs, cheddar, potato with andouille and herb butter. Description on point, execution lacking. I wish the filling was a bit more flavorful (maybe that's my fault for not adding an additional topping?), and the sausage was good. This was my favorite meal of the night - though it also needs some editing.
For my entree, I ordered the sloppy jo -- because how many times have you seen a sloppy jo on a menu? "Slow cooked house ground blend, southern tomato sauce, aged cheddar, slaw, brioche roll." Maybe I'm revealing my poor roots, but I can get down with some Manwich and a slice of Kraft American cheese. Mmmhmmm. I think this rendition missed the mark. The ground beef had this sort of odd sweet flavor to it, and any sauce was nonexistent. The cheese flavorless, and the slaw looked like it hadn't had enough time to come together, instead leaving bits of soggy cabbage. I realllllly wanted this to be good - to be a cool take on a childhood favorite. Some changes, though, and it cool be a cool dish.
The macaroni and cheese was broken. Mushy, flavorless and the texture was off.
It is not bad, but as it is, it's pretty average. I think the menu descriptions and ambiance are lovely - but the execution of the food needs some work. I think my expectations were high, and the food didn't quite live up to them. I know they've been pretty busy, so I wonder if it's suffered a bit because of that. I truly want this place to do well, but I haven't been hearing great things. It's still early, so there's some time to pull it together.