I just finished my first lunch at Alfred Schilling. It was pleasant, but, diassapointingly, not very impressive.
Though there are more interesting things on the menu, I had the croque monsieur and a spinach salad with smoked salmon. The waitress (or do we now say waiter, regardless of gender?), who was very attentive and friendly, told me that might be a lot of food but if I was hungry I could handled it. I did, and I was very full.
The salad came first: three large pieces of lox-syle (cold-smoked?) salmon drapped over baby spinach greens, topped with red onion rings, capers (the brine-pickled kind) and, strangely, five thin half-moons of green apple. First of all, the greens, which were standard issue "ready pac," weren't thoroughly tossed with the vinaigrette, which is a major annoyance to me. The dressing itself was almost tasteless, I could barely dedect a hint of vinegar--it may have been mostly grapeseed or other flavorless oil. There wasn't much of it to taste anyway, which is usually fine, as long as all of the greens are coated. The salmon was good, but not spectacular. We've been eating a lot of Cap'n Mike's, so my standard may be heightened. The apples I thought were out of place. The plentiful onion was way too strong--maybe it should have been salted--and was the taste that lingered when the salad was finished. This may seem like major nit-picking, but the salad was served a bowl that tipped over every time I tried to spear anything not dead-centered--annoying. Ultimately, this salad seemed more like an (untasted, untested)idea than a fully put-together course.
The croque monsieur was better than the salad, but not remarkably good. Five or six thin slices of ham and plenty swiss-type cheese on sandwich (egg?) bread, pan-grilled. Pretty straightforward. Each of the ingredients was good, but nothing truly special. I could make this a home and have the same--or better--results.
The meal, $15 with tip, concluded with a complimentary milk chocolate champagne truffle.
I was sort of saddened by my lunch because I was hoping--and expecting--to be very impressed. The almond croissant I had the other day was so fantastic, and all of the chocolates I've had were excellent. I never went to the old Schilling's on Market so I am unable to compare. I do realize I chose two not especially unique menu items, an I do intend to return and try some others. I think I partially chose the easy, lunch-y items because it seems strange to order a meal that takes some time to make (the red wine and chocolate sauce on pork loin, or the bearnaise-sauced chicken liver, or osso buco, etc.) when the restaurant has no other customers. I wonder what other people's perspective is on that.
Anyway, I hope this won't discourage other 'hounds from checking the place out and reporting back.
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