Ooops. Posted this to the NE board by mistake!
Thanks again for all of your comments yesterday. That thread seems to have disappeared this morning. Since I tend to read this board less than once a day, I have no idea whether this is a common occurrence. Anyway, to the food...
We did end up going to the Dali in Cambridge, even though it was late, and I feared it would be very crowded. I was pleasantly surprised that there were no people gushing out of either the outer or inner doors. We were told it would be a short wait, and it was--5-10 minutes. Not bad.
Then the hard but wonderful part: what to order. We ended up ordering a lot, because we had not been there for ca one year, and I can never get out to dinner, because I have a nonreceptive daughter. Here's the rundown:
Spanish White Asparagus: this is interesting because it has two sauces, which are pretty intriguing. Last year, I recall spending a lot of time trying to figure out just what they were. This time, they were still good, but I don't think AS good. Nonetheless, it was a good counterpoint, especially because we didn't order any other cold dishes.
Hot Tapas (in order as they appear on menu):
Boneless Pheasant with Mushroom and Serrano Ham: This was the discovery of the evening. I was a bit taken aback when it arrived, such a tiny amount of food.... Falling-apart pheasant wrapped in the ham and swimming in a marvelous sauce. It was hard to split, because it just fell apart totally. We hung onto the dish well after the pheasant had been consumed, trying the sauce on various things.... Next time we would order two of these. (Note this seems to be on both the hot tapas menu and the nuevas menu. I believe we actually ordered it off the nuevas menu, but the name would imply some overlap.)
Roast Duckling with Berry Sauce: This was disappointing. The duck (leg and thigh) really tasted reheated. My SO tried it first and made that comment, and I just thought he was being a bit finicky. Then I tried it and the same word came to mind. The sauce was interesting, redolent of berries and vinegar, and the two (? the SO may have grabbed more than one) blackberries tasted nice, but we did not eat all of the duck. Too bad. It was a nice thigh portion that went largely uneaten.
Scallops in Saffron Cream Sauce: This was another dish we loved last year and had to get again this time. The sauce is just too yummy--and probably enough to send one's cholesterol sky high. OTOH, it is hard to resist eating spoonfuls of it. The scallops were fine, perhaps the teeniest bit more cooked than last year, so they were not absolutely succulent, but pretty darn close.
Pork Sausage with Figs: This was probably the high point of our dinner last year. We spent a lot of time savoring that sauce. And I wondered whether there might be some better thing to serve it with than sausage. Last night this was good, but not as exquisite as the previous time. The taste was much more vinegary, and the clove flavor was also a lot more prominent. I think last year it was more subtle and intriguing.
Beef Tenderloin with Pimiento on Toast: Last year this was just the perfect texture--and the perfect amount (I do think there was one piece that we split then). This year it was good, but the texture was not as wonderful. And we each had our individual portions. This is one thing we tried that glorious pheasant sauce on, and it was quite compatible.
Vegetarian Crepe: This was decent but not utterly exquisite. There are so many more intriguing things here, that I would probably not get this again. Actually, this may have been the crepe off the Nuevas Menu.
Baby Lamb Chops with Peach Sauce: This was not what I expected at all. Instead of being pretty fruity, which was actually hard to imagine, the unctuous sauce tasted predominantly of garlic, which is, after all, compatible with lamb. The three chops were cooked perfectly. Nonetheless, given the more "sparkling" entrees, I think we would scrap this one.
Fried Strawberries: these are not on the menu but were a special both last year and this year (maybe seasonal). The strawberries are surprisingly good. I don't know that that little scoop of ice cream that sits in the sauce does anything but add to the looks of the plate though. It's not exquisite ice cream, and it just melts as you are eating the berries.
Tarta de Chocolates: Hmmm. How can I be fair to this dessert? It was a fine chocolatey dessert of the flourless-cake variety, sitting in a pool of berry sauce. My problem is I have been making such a dessert for decades and thus lack the proper appreciation, and also I have discovered what must be the quintessential dessert in this category at the cheese place in Concord Center.
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