In the past we had been to Brasaii many times for brunch and were generally happy the place. Since they've changed chefs I wanted to try dinner. The room is nice, service was adequate, and there was nothing bad about the food. So why is it boring? My main was braised beef short rib which came with chimichurri, curried sweet potato mash and veg. The plus was that the veg was perfectly cooked and the plates were cleanly presented. The vegetables were beet, broccoli, and asparagus, which despite being nice, felt like they were on the plate because people expect vegetables. I didn't get a sense that there was any reason why those specific vegetables were on the plate. The sweet potato mash was a little watery, lacked richness and the curry tasted primarily of coriander seed. The chimichurri got lost in the mix, the short rib was a little dry, and the braising liquid which acted as sauce could have used herbs and maybe something acidic, like wine and balsamic, to add some dimensions to it. Once again nothing was bad, nothing worth sending back. This dish felt to me formulaic: we need veg, check, we need starch, check, we need a twist, add chimichurri, check. I would ask the chef, how is chimichurri and curry working in this dish, what are the beets doing? Because I didn't feel like it was adding to the sum of its parts.
I think back to a great beef short rib I had at George which came with orange slices and a frisee salad. The beef was intensely flavourful and rich, the sauce was complex, the orange slices complemented the beef and helped cut the richness, the frisee salad came with pecans which help intensify the beef. It felt like the whole thing was well thought out and each component served a specific role in highlighting the focal point, which was the beef.
I realize that Brasaii is a large restaurant and they want to do volume. I don't think doing well thought out plates should interfere with that.
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