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Meats didn't fare as well, but in most cases they didn't spoil the veggies. "One FAT pork chop, spicy crusted" is the menu listing for a gravyless version of chicken-fried bone-in pork. The chop was chubby, indeed, under its heavy, crunchy bread-crumb crust. I ordered it medium-rare; it arrived unnecessarily well-done. The garnishes, however, were fine: The mashed red potatoes of the pancake were served un-pancaked, alongside a mystery mound of beet-red, sweet-spicy succulence. This turned out to be serrano-spiced apples cooked with whole cranberries. Filling out the plate were carrots, green beans, and soft zucchini.

The nadir was the most expensive dish, a Prime aged New York strip steak that the menu describes as "sugar-basil cured." Evidently, the cure didn't take. If the cut was genuinely aged Prime, there's a USDA meat inspector out there somewhere with his palm outstretched. This heifer tasted more like Sysco Select or ungraded carnicería, with a chewy, dry texture even when cooked rare. It was topped with charred-bitter leek shreds and served with roasted red potatoes and a warring blend of tough, salty spinach and harsh, raw basil leaves.

Desserts are made in-house but seem not to be the restaurant's strong suit. A lilikoi (passionfruit) cheesecake was tall and ordinary on a slightly burned crust, gaining most of its allure from a sexy veil of light passionfruit syrup. A misnamed fruit cobbler was actually a primitive crisp: A mixture of finely diced fresh fruits (apple, mango, underripe pineapple, and strawberry) under a streusel (crumb) topping was heated but not fully cooked, emerging still crunchy and none too sweet. The dish was crowned with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of store-brand quality. Fortunately, the desserts change frequently, so if you're craving a sweet, it shouldn't be too hard to pick one that complements your dinner -- perhaps a nice low-risk sorbet before you hit that highway again.

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