I Enjoy Being a Girl (especially at Press626)

At the Ghent restaurant, Press 626, every Monday night is Ladies’ Night. (“And the feeling’s right.” Okay. I’ll stop.)

Press 626 is a charming restaurant tucked into the edge of Ghent, down the block from Stockley Gardens and across Colley from EVMS. Since I moved back to Ghent in August, it has been my go-to restaurant, especially on Monday nights when it pays to have a uterus. For the ladies, entrees are half off, and they offer four bottles of wine (two whites, two reds) at $3 a glass, or you can get a $4 Cosmopolitan. Don’t despair, guys:  their regular Happy Hour also applies, and that means their entire wine list is half off (by the glass).

There are several things I like about Press. I like that I can count on the food to be delicious. It’s not always available; I’ve gone in and set my heart on a Cuban sandwich, only to be told they were out. Local bloggers Laine & Alex suffered similar disappointment when they visited and found that the gnocchi was MIA for the evening.

But what is available is consistently delicious. Last night, my roommate and her mom and I went to Press for Ladies’ Night. I had worked all day, grading papers and editing articles, and I was in need of conversation, a glass of wine, and some delicious food. I wasn’t disappointed.

Airline chicken

We perused the menu, comparing notes on what we might order. One thing that puzzled us was the “airline chicken.” This is really unfortunate nomenclature for a very pretty, sort of fancy cut of chicken. It calls to mind rubbery, dry, overly herby chicken from a plastic tray on an airplane. I’m reminded of the only in-flight meal I ever had – on a flight to London. My parents and I took the red eye from Atlanta to London, where we would travel for ten days, seeing the sights, indulging our Anglophile tendencies, and celebrating my graduation from college. On the flight over, however, disaster hit. A man in the row in front of us grew seriously ill, so much so that the pilot had to ask for any medical professionals on board to treat him. As I cut into my in-flight chicken breast, flight attendants hovered over the man, asking him in booming British voices, “Y’okay, Jim?” (I take this moment to send out my positive thoughts to Jim. He made it through the flight and was entrusted to doctors as we deplaned.)

But my point is:  airline chicken is not at all what I thought it was and has nothing to do with plastic trays. Airline chicken is the name they give to chicken breasts with the leg still attached. Because of the way the leg sticks out, it looks a bit like an airplane during take-off, or even perhaps resembles an outstretched wing. My roommate ordered this chicken, which was seasoned and sprinkled with caramelized pecans over a bed of mashed potatoes and three roasted carrots.

Nom, nom, nom

I got pork tenderloin. It has a light dusting of panko (a light breading), then baked. It is served with a rhubarb chutney and a light aioli sauce over a bed of mashed potatoes and three roasted carrots.

Here’s the deal:  I love pork. I love bacon, I love ham, I love pork tenderloin. I know there’s all kinds of issues with it not being ethically produced. The logical part of me knows this and searches for a better way. But there’s another part of me – a primal part, if you will – that resembles Animal from the Muppets as he plays the drums. And that part wants pork. I fed that part last night. The pork tenderloin was juicy, tender, beautifully seasoned, and the rhubarb chutney was amazing. A little bit of sweet tartness goes so well with pork.

I had a $3 glass of their pinot grigio, which was excellent. And the dinner went by quick. The service is always excellent at Press, and our very tall waiter had us in and out of there in about an hour, but we didn’t feel rushed. Another reason I love Press is that it’s a great place to take people. Friends from out of town, dates, or your mom. I took my mom when she visited in the fall, and she was equally disappointed that the Cuban sandwich was unavailable, but she enjoyed her meal nonetheless.

And so, my love fest at Press 626 continues.

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