A friend treated me to lunch today at Campton Place (which I remembered Derek praising last year). This is the rare spot where you are getting a great value for your promotion; a three-course lunch at Campton Place ordinarily costs $39 instead of $22.
There are two choices for each of the three courses, plus an amuse bouche of warm beet soup with tiny diced apples and ginger (lovely). I persuaded her to order the whole menu and share.
Warm baskets of olive bread and a grittier whole wheat that I didn't care for. Royal service from every member of the staff. It's a sunny space, very comfortable in the day time. Daniel Humm is the new chef at Campton Place; as someone noted in an earlier post, Patricia Untermann recently wrote a rave review.
Appetizers were a mussel "cappucino" and fennel won tons with fresh flowers and herbs. The cappucino was probably my favorite dish. A small cup of briny soup with a bit of froth and drops of tarragon oil, a few oysters, pea pods, and cherry tomatoes in the bottom. The won tons were spectacular to look at, and the texture was good. I really liked the dill and flowers on top of them and the balsamic reduction, although I didn't taste any fennel. I gazed longingly at an appetizer at the next table, which turned out to be tuna tartare, and the Maine scallops at another table looked divine.
Entrees were a Hawaiian walu in a ring of sauces--bits of olive, basil oil, etc and a shredded beef in cabbage and with pureed butternut squash with potatoes and bits of celery root. The fish was fine but I much preferred the angus beef. Each dish was a work of art. (The cutlery was also notable; I'd never seen a notched sauce spoon before, but our server graciously informed us it worked better with the left hand.)
Desserts were a slice of chocolate cake with ganache and a fan and a blue cheese with pureed pear and toasted walnuts. Both okay, less interesting than the other dishes or the dessert wines. I was less enamored of the purees in general--a slice of pear would have been a good contrast in textures with the blue.
Portions are small by American standards, but more than enough for lunch or a tasting menu.
A "wine about town" trio of half glasses is available for $21.95 to complement the selections. I had a glass of pinot gris with my entree and then we shared a flight of dessert wines (two sauternes including a 1999 Chateau Y'Quem and a tokaji, split and quite generously poured) for $30.
All in all, very grand. I spent more on wine than for our lunches, which I suppose is the point. I'd be more tempted to return for the tasting menu at dinner (now simply a matter of choosing how many courses you want) than spending $100 for lunch again. Exemplary service--attentive, friendly, never rushed despite our lingering. The room got a little loud at peak times, but I imagine it would be quieter at dinner.
Several juicy looking burgers and fries went by on their way to the bar.
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