Giving Syracuse’s latest eatery a good squeeze
By Christopher Malone
One of Downtown Syracuse’s newest eateries is more than meets the eye.
Large distinct black letters of Oh My Darling signal to drivers and walkers passing by its 321 S. Salina St. location. It’s a noteworthy location next to the aesthetically unique Syracuse Trust Building and across the street from the Landmark Theatre.
The classy looking joint, which, according to an article in The Post-Standard and syracuse.com, was a former two-story McDonalds, boasts intriguing fare.
Although burgers and fries can be found on the menu, the typical eatery staples aren’t typical. Typical is boring anyway, and Oh My Darling is far from it.
Clementine, a grab-and-go eatery, and a speakeasy-style bar called The Fitz adjoins the main eatery that is Oh My Darling. It’s a large restaurant, and, needless to say, the place has cravings covered from brunch to late night refreshments.
The two beverages of the experience were the signature Clementine whiskey smash ($10) and the Corpse Reviver #2 ($13), which was enjoyed at The Fitz as an après-dinner treat. The High West whiskey, orange, and mint flavors of the smash pair very well for a refreshing cocktail. Looks are deceiving as it’s not overly sweet.
The Corpse Reviver is concocted with Thomas Dakin gin, Lillet Blanc (dessert wine), Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur), Mephisto Absinthe, and lemon juice. It made my lips pucker and the absinthe is notable, but I found it surprisingly enjoyable.
The décor of Oh My Darling is minimal. It’s heavy on the industrial aesthetics with pipes, lighting, and exposed brick walls. The tables are spaced out well throughout the open floor plan. The dining area extends around for a second room, and there’s outdoor seating available.
The one-page menu and food presentations also take the minimal approach. The menu and dishes are to the point. There are even options for kids.
There are familiar options, but with the restaurant’s special take. The costs are moderate to high. For example, what we did not choose is the pan-seared scallops with corn risotto and roasted asparagus. The $28 price tag was intimidating for items I’ve had elsewhere and can easily make at home.
The lamb sliders ($13) kicked off the meal. Mini lamb burgers are topped with pickled red onions, mint and cumin mayo. Overall, the flavors were harmonious and part of me didn’t want to share. The cumin mayo and pickled onions were the standout aspects. It’s not that the lamb wasn’t good, but the kitchen guaranteed the adorable farm animal wasn’t baa -baaing. Our server didn’t ask how I wanted the lamb cooked, and the meat was a bit overdone.
The fish tacos ($16) came out next. The three tacos were filled with nice cuts of mahi-mahi, cabbage and pickled red onions. A wonderful portion of truffle fries came on the side. Overall, the soft tacos were not the typical taco size, but the fish and ingredients weren’t dry. There was a slight fishiness to the mahi-mahi. The fries were stupendous.
The grilled eggplant involtini ($18) and cacio e pepe ($17) were our entrees. The thin-sliced eggplant with ricotta cheese came out in a small skillet with tomato sauce and asparagus. The red gravy was delightful and not overly seasoned. The asparagus, which tasted like asparagus, was roasted very well.
The cacio e pepe was not a typical white-sauce pasta dish. The long, thicker bucatini pasta was coated in a parmesan and cracked black pepper sauce. The pepper added slight, welcomed heat to the creamy sauce. For a $3 upcharge, chicken was added to the dish. The bits of chicken were cooked a smidge too long, and the pieces had chewy and dry qualities. The sauce hid this the best it could. Pork belly and salmon can also be added.
Total before tip (minus the Corpse Driver), the bill came to $83.16.
I’m convinced that Oh My Darling has the potential to be one of the hottest places in Downtown Syracuse. It’s clear the place is still ripening as the doors opened just months ago.
It has the location. It has the look. The Clementine and The Fitz are so damn cool. (You can’t get cell service down there either, which really encourages person-to-person engagement.) It has the professional, cordial, and knowledgeable staff — our server was one of the best. It’s sure to brighten up Salina Street and the rest of the city.
Oh My Darling | Clementine | The Fitz
321 S. Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13202
Oh My Darling
Mon – Fri: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sat/ Sun: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 4-10 p.m.
Mon – Fri: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sat/Sun: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tue – Thur: 4:30 p.m. – midnight
Fri/Sat: 4:30 to 2 a.m.
Photo: Oh My Darling is one of the new eateries in downtown Syracuse.