As to prior opinions about Cafe Pinot having good days and bad days, I think we had a pretty good day (well, evening, 6:00 reservation). Sat outside which was very pleasant with the heat lamps, the sky and air were beautifully clear after the rain. Patio filled up as we were eating.
Since someone recently commented on the lack of comfort of the inside chairs, I'll note that the outside chairs are a bit uncomfortable - really deep, rounded backs. Not horrible. One screaming interlude from a homeless person in the hour and twenty minutes we were there.
Three different specials featuring white asparagus were offered - two apps, one main. We had to ask the price of the specials, which were on the high end of the regular menu items but not more than the most expensive regular menu items. Husband and father had endive/gorgonzola/walnut salad. Stepmom had the soup of the day - a corn puree - pronounced very corny. I had one of the white asparagus specials - 3 fat spears perfectly cooked, with a melted cheese (can't remember the cheese), a few slivers of Kalamata olives and some finely diced bacon. Lovely but at $14 maybe a bit expensive?
For mains, husband and father were on the same page again, with the gnocchi. Stepmom had a special of butter-poached veal with white asparagus on the side - devoured. I had halibut with morels, fava beans, some other small vegs. It was a nice piece of halibut and was cooked properly, but the browned side was sprinkled with some very large-grained sea salt which texture I didn't mind but which overall I think made it a bit too salty. Lots of morels which is why I ordered the dish, halibut being fine but not my fave.
We had plenty of time for dessert, but the dessert menu is B O R I N G! A flourless chocolate cake, a creme brulee, a cheesecake, some sorbets and ice creams, that's about it. Bleh. We passed. They need to spiff up the dessert offerings, seriously. With 1 Grey Goose martini and 3 Bombay Sapphire martinis, 2 iced teas, 1 Diet Coke, 2 coffees, total was about $220 for the four of us including tax/tip. They definitely know how to get you out in time for the shuttle to the Music Center. Only service glitch was that stepmom and I were served our mains and then a few minutes passed before husband and father got theirs...not the waiter's fault, as he noticed the problem and went and got the plates himself.
I think Cafe Pinot is the only Patina Group restaurant that I'd continue to patronize. Last visit at Pinot Bistro a few weeks back was very unsatisfactory on several fronts, and I don't know if we'll ever return.
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