One of my rules for dining out is hard-won: don't change your intended order just because someone else at the table orders it first. "Sure," you think, "We're all sharing, so I must get something different in the interest of variety."
Wrong! Inevitably, you get a bite or two of someone else's dish that you want to eat all of, and are relegated to mostly eating your second choice, which 9 times out of 10 isn't nearly as good. Every time I ignore this rule, it bites me.
Case in point with pasta orders at the Franklin: my beloved gets the cappellini with a raw tomato sauce and a curl of shaved hard cheese, while I settle for the "creste di gallo with the heat". While the Franklin's pasta dishes are generally outstanding, the creste comes in a distinct second to the capellini: it's heavy, not as fiery as advertised, and features a generous five gigantic shrimp which are unfortunately bland (little ones always seem tastier). In fairness, the obviously fresh creste is perfectly al dente and in a novel shape. Meanwhile, the cappellini is light and fresh and summery and wonderful -- or so the two bites I get of it seem.
Good news: the apps of miso soup (great broth with a lovely mushroom-filled dumpling) and iceberg wedge salad (with superb smokey bacon and blue cheese dressing) are very fine, as is the usual gratis bread and chickpea spread. Washed down with a very passable $23 NZ pinot noir, the check comes to $70 pre-tip. As ever, the usual very friendly, efficient service on yet another hopping night.
I'm mostly very happy, but I'm also fuming a little at myself. I broke the rule, and it bit back. I'm telling you: at least with Western-style app-entree-dessert menus, order what first grabs you, even if it means that everyone at the table gets the same thing.