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Birthday Dinner at the Federalist AKA Liver Let Die!


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Birthday Dinner at the Federalist AKA Liver Let Die!

joypirate | May 4, 2004 12:47 PM

So yeah, this place is really, really, butt-ass expensive, but man, if I had an expense account and a healthy disrespect for the employer who signed off on that expense account, this place is ideal for Gatsby-style over-the-top money-blowing. Anyway, yesterday was my birthday and the wife took me to the Federalist. To start we had some cocktails, previously I had only been to the bar here and had a very well-handled martini (when Hendricks gin is unavailable, which it was, I hit the Beefeater, if its good enough for Julia Childs & the Queen Mother…) so I went that way again and the wife had a very well-made Cosmo, the kind of Cosmo that reminded you that Cosmos weren’t always a girl’s drink, and subsequently made the girl drinking them cool, instead of a mere Sex and the City lemming. But I suppose that’s another argument for another day.

Our amuse bouche was a tasty little torchon of foie gras on a tiny little toast point. This would set the pace for the night as I probably consumed an entire liver in total; as goose livers seemed to rain down upon me at points. Also, bear in mind Mrs. Joypirate doesn’t eat foie gras so I got hers as well. Yeah baby.

For starters Mrs. Joypirate had the Ahi tuna tartare which came in a good hockey puck sized portion, though not a steak, it was a bunch of little tuna matchsticks pressed into a shape that really maximized the surface area of deliciousness. Word. I had the foie gras, which came with a gelée of Sauternes, and an especially rock-hard toast point w/some caramelized onions baked in. I’m not a big fan of this super-crunch fad in restaurants, there’s nothing especially nice about biting into a piece of bread that has the consistency of a bulletin board. Mrs. Joypirate was born and spent her formative years in France so, after she tasted a tiny bit of my foie gras, she pronounced it completely comparable to what you might find in a French kitchen, really no better or worse. Being a foie gras ignoramus, I can only say it was damn tasty and I’d like to eat a foie gras burger on my deathbed.

For the entrées Mrs. Joypirate had the Georges Bank scallops with the foie gras, which again, thanks be to all, she still doesn’t eat, so she bequeathed those tasty little innards unto the birthday boy. I think the scallops might have been day boat but I’m not sure, no matter what they were, they were huge and delicious. The foie gras that time was seared on one side with a strong-salty taste on the seared side. For my entrée I decided to mock my own mortality and ordered the butter-poached lobster with spring mushrooms, served atop a bit of potato purée and some baby carrots. It was a tail topped with joint meat, also with some good-sized claw meat strewn about. It was truly decadent and astonishingly flavorful; and the wife didn’t immediately put together what ‘butter-poached’ would technically involve, and when I explained it to her, she had to fight every one of her medically-minded impulses to pry it out of my butter-soaked hands.

I love good wine and once I get my hypothetical expense account I’ll flip to the back of their doorstop of a wine list where the big boys reside, but as the wife and I are simple folks, I just went with a glass of the 1988 Meursault white burgundy ($16 a glass I think). It was a bit too meaty for the lobster and was a better match for the foie gras but whatever; it was nice to have a white that was “overly something” besides oaky or sweet.

Dessert came around and the wife is all aboard the flourless chocolate cake bandwagon, and with good reason here as it was very well done. It was floating in a pool of very strong kahlua ice cream adorned with little bits of toffee throughout. I had an almond butterscotch gateau that was served with a bit of buttery ice cream and a big hardened caramel spear and a rather flavorless almond tuile. I incorrectly thought the Glenmorangie 12yr Madeira wood finish would be a good match to the butterscotch but it still had a bit too much of a bite to it (I’d tried the port wood finish based on some advice from the general topics board and it was so smooth that, despite the fact that I tried it several months ago, my throat has STILL yet to register that it has, indeed, gone down my throat).

Little petit fours w/the bill were a well-made truffle that the wife was physically unable to bring herself to consume, a tasty bit of chocolate covered toffee, some sort of candied raspberry and one other little item that I forget.

Service was great. We started playing a fun game as we noticed that, almost instantaneously, as soon as our silverware was placed in the ‘correct’ position on our plates, bus boys would shoot out from the woodwork and vanish-away our plates within literally less than 10 seconds. They did seem to have a hard time remembering that the wife had ordered still water and they twice topped off her still water with sparkling water. Not a biggie though.

The bill was an impressive $195 before tip. Head and shoulders a better meal that I’d had at Mistral, though of somewhat comparable cost. Was it worth that much? Depends on who you are and what you’ve got to blow I suppose. For people around my & my wife’s age I think there is a place for it, perhaps as a wedding gift since every frickin person we know is getting married. I mean, we’d never really feel right spending that much on ourselves, and I suspect few our age would, but if we’d received a gift certificate for say $100 or $125 then we’d probably jump at the excuse to really treat ourselves and cover the rest out of our own pocket.

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