Neighborhood: Downtown, Chinatown
(this review provided by Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas)
The first thing to say is that it's hard to tell if 901 is a restaurant or a lounge; at times it's swanky, more like a full bar area than a restaurant/bar area combo. It's dimly lit, the only glow provided by some electric blue lighting, a theme mirrored by backlit menus; the menus have some sort of electric light coming from them, so much so that they have to be recharged. The other light fixtures are from hanging glass orbs. Seating is mostly four tops (which was mostly filled with couples, a nice touch). In general, there's a creepy vibe to the place, something mirrored by our server: our waiter was strangely pushy, the kind of person that pushed the specials or the expensive options, but seemed disappointed with you if you didn't choose them. This happened from the beginning, when he gave us a disapproving cluck when we picked ice water ("so... tap then?").
Our bread course was probably the most interesting of the night: a jalapeno cornbread with an unexpected kick, a little dry but generally good.
My friend that evening ordered the California Club, a turkey sandwich with avocado, bacon, and a lemon aioli on ciabatta bread. He said it was quite good, though the ketchup that came with it was surprisingly a spicy one. I didn't have it myself, as I'm not a meat-eater, so I can't quite add any additional thoughts.
For my entree, I ordered the seared tuna, which came with a wasabi-cilantro pesto, hazelnut rice, and a black pepper sauce. This was just not a good dish; it came served at an odd temperature, and probably as a direct result was overcooked. On the one hand, the tuna itself had no flavor, with anything interesting coming from the pesto drizzled on top of it or the strange pepper-soy sauce combo on the side. Even then, these sauce flavors were definitely distinct, but didn't combine in any logical way. In all, for what it was, there was too much heat and the tuna honestly could have been any protein. I wish they had actually built depth with the flavors, not just attempted to drizzle them on.
Dessert looked good, but after the interesting food and weird service, we were ready to just get out of there.
Disappointing: some good flavors that I wish had the chance to combine, but nothing to hang its hat on.
Food Rating: ** (out of 5)
Date Rating: 2.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: Classy Crowd
Cost: $$$ (out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)