Neighborhood eats: Park 52
Hyde Park finally has a real restaurant! Park 52 has been opened by the same people who own Gioco, Marche, and Opera!
It’s located on Harper court, right by Calypso Cafe and Dixie Kitchen. My mom had already been there and told me that it was pretty expensive, but with huge portions.
Basically what it was was a slightly more upscale restaurant, but still a neighborhood place, and adjusted to fit Hyde Park clients… that is, the food was slightly more “homestyle.” My dad claims that a lot of it was more expensive Calypso food, but I don’t really think so.
But first of all, mom, the portions were NOT that big. I had to order additional sides, and I still didn’t feel full (granted, I came from swim practice).
The atmosphere was almost kitchy, like something out of Cabaret. However, what prevented it from being tacky was the TVs playing the presidential debate in the corner. It still felt like Hyde Park: the waitresses were equally nice and accommodating, and there was no wait for food.
We both ordered salads (me house, him Caesar), and they were definitely more restaurant-worthy than the usual wilted iceberg with gross tomato and raw onion.
I ordered the BBQ salmon over garlic spinach, which was perfectly cooked. The BBQ was more sweet than spicy, but an interesting way of serving salmon. The spinach was almost exactly like my dad’s.
On the side, I ordered mashed sweet potatoes, which I feared would be too sugary and buttery, but they seemed to be just sweet potatoes with nothing added.
My dad ordered ribs, although the waitress misunderstood him and brought him a burger first. Still, since the ribs had been slow-cooked, she replaced the dish within seconds. His was served over mashed potatoes. The structure of the dishes was very formulaic and not especially interesting, but everything tasted great and was cooked perfectly. My dad didn’t think he had ordered the right dish, although his ribs were good. He felt that he could have ordered them at a place like Calypso and ordered something a little more upscale here.
Despite everything we ordered, I was still hungry! We decided to order dessert. Everything seemed good, but the pineapple upside down cake jumped out at me– I’ve been craving one so badly, since my dad and I used to get them at Calypso.
The verdict? like Calypso’s, although in miniature, served with tasty sides, and missing its signature rum sauce. In general, Calypso’s cake was probably better, but what I loved about Park 52’s was its icy pineapple sorbet and a warm pineapple creme anglaise. It was nice and small, so my dad and I could share it without it being too much.
Will Hyde Park continue to change? I hope so. I hope eventually more and more places like this will continue to pop up. Maybe it wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had, but I would definitely come back and support park 52 and keep it in business. 🙂