I've been a big fan of Toby's, both in his time at the helm of the kitchen at Pain D'Avignon, and for his very short stint at 586 Bistro in Hyannis. Three of us decided at the last minute to give Lyric a try. I had been there in September and had an impeccable meal and was surprised to learn of their new Music Room/Bar menu which featured some low priced apps and mains. We vowed to return, just never really got to it until last night.
We braved the rain, had to wait a few minutes for the valet to realize we there, and were seated in the music room after a bit of a wait at the door. Our server, who was delightful throughout, quickly took our drink order, told us of the two specials for the Saturday night, a grilled swordfish on mashed potatoes with mushrooms and calamata olives ($26) and a cream of cauliflower soup ($7), I was pleasantly surprised to see upon opening the menu, that Chef Toby Hill was their new head chef. Then the disappointment crept in. The smaller portion entrees were gone, replaced by a couple of 1/2 portion pastas. The menu had shrunk considerably with several favorite items gone. But there were a few interesting additions so it wasn't all bad.
We ordered the cauliflower soup which was outstanding, the french onion soup ($8), which was surprisingly marginal with huge doughy croutons occupying most of the bowl, and the baked oysters which are cooked with pancetta, leaks and a cream sauce. Quite yummy, briny, lightly sauced and cooked perfectly (4@$12).
I was the only one who ordered a salad ($8). Chef Toby has changed the former Bibb Salad with pear, candied walnuts, blue cheese and mustard vinaigrette, to a simple salad of bibb, fried shallots, lemon zest and white wine vinaigrette. Disappointing. Too acidic and sour while the fried shallots imparted an almost burnt flavor. It was a surprising big step down in both flavor and quality.
Onto the entrees, the flavors were there, and the expertise in preperation and quality of ingredients were all obvious, but the portions were strange. The swordfish special was a very small and thin portion on a huge mound of creamy mashed potatoes. The prime aged sirloin ($32) was again a very small cut on a huge pile of fingerling potatoes with red pepper and onions. It was cooked perfectly, but the ny strip had almost half the tail portion cut off so the portion was approx. 3" x 4" at most and of average thickness. My portion was quite small, although expected as I ordered the 1/2 portion of ricotta gnocchi with duck bolognese. This was the star of the night in my opinion.
We passed on desert. $182 plus tip for the three of us. I'm having a difficult time deciding if I'd recommend it as the experience was clearly a let-down from my previous visit. Not that it was bad mind you, just not as good as before. I'd love to hear any one's thoughts who have been recently.
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