71 Clinton has been on our list of must-try places and glancing at the menu (which seemingly changes often) we found entrees that appealed to us. In the end we are glad we went but don't think we will be making an effort to head back before making first visits to all the others on our must-try list (which is long and continues to get longer). The experience was fair and the food was good, but didn't hit those notes in our brains to cause us to jazz us up about when our next visit would be. You should go to judge for yourself if you've never been; if you are a repeat visitor I'd like to get your take on our experience.
E had the passionfruit martini (ketel one, passionfruit puree, basil infusion) - she liked it though I thought the basil was too prominent and dominated the fruit.
I had a pomegranate margarita (sauza, lime & pomegranate juice) - good but nothing special and maybe a touch too sweet.
We split the foie tourchon with apricot gelee and pimentone brioche. The brioche, cut into a stick, provided a textural contrast to the foie and gelee, but didn't have much flavor. We also had trouble balancing the foie with the gelee, which was quite tart. Not enough and the taste was all foie; too much and the tartness ruled. Successful efforts IOHO at balancing elements for foie apps include those at wd~50 (with nori caramel and grapefruit basil crumble) and db&d (with fried grapes, raisin-walnut bread & balsamic) - these are very user friendly.
E had the crispy skate wing with rhubarb, chard leaf puree and chard foam. Skate wing was pan-roasted nicely, and the three other items complimented very well.
I had the lamb three ways, which was roasted lamb loin topped with crispy sweetbreads, braised lamb saddle and accompanied by an eggplant puree, wild arugula and a natural jus. The loin was not quite as melt-in-the-mouth as I expected and the sweetbreads maybe a bit too crispy (my last reference pt for sweetbreads is an app at cafe boulud). The saddle and the eggplant puree were great.
We skipped dessert here as nothing appealed and went up the street to wd~50.
A little spotty - though I ordered a ruby manhattan I received a pom margarita (didn't complain though as I was in the mood for either, though the ruby manhattan seemed more interesting). E said the waitress didn't put the order in right away (she was facing the bar) and then probably made a bad guess. Our waitress also brought the customer next to us the wrong bottle of wine, and missed the water glass with the pitcher on another couple. The food also seemingly took a while to reach diners. We didn't get our entrees until just after an hour. Seemed to be happening all around, as we admired the apps of one table while considering our choices, and that table didn't get their entrees until shortly before us. After settling the bill not one staff member bid us good night even though it took E a bit of maneuvering to get out of the tight seating and we both glanced back. Yes, we didn't exactly rock the wine and dessert, but it's still nice to be acknowledged.
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