In a previous post, I referenced a bad experience I had at York Street that scared me off for some time. Inspired by positive recommendations from several Chowhounders, I decided to roll the dice and give the place a second chance. I'm glad I did. (All items ordered were suggested by the waiter as being among the best offerings of the night.)
After the complimentary olives, almonds, and sherry, I started with a croque monsieur--a small, grilled ham and cheese sandwich plated with some pickled veggies. The buttery toasted bread and creamy cheese made for a tasty, if staid, morsel. But, at $8, it was a poor value by any standard.
The entree was pepper-crusted fallow venison with a caramelized 1015 onion gratin. The gratin was terrific--wafer-thin layers of perfectly cooked potatoes in a balanced blend of sweetness, creaminess, and saltiness. The venison was cooked exactly as I had requested it (i.e., medium rare). It was chewy and mildly gamy, though not in an off-putting way. Flavor was good, with the black pepper adding a pleasing kick. The portions were generous for the price (i.e., $26).
I was also unexpectedly treated to two off-menu side salads--one beet, one green tomato. The golden beet salad was very good. But the green tomato salad was the revelation of the evening. Roasted green tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and raw green tomato were tossed in a light red wine vinaigrette, walking a fine line between sweetness and tartness. The salads were so good that I filled up on them and the gratin, boxing up the venison to use in a salad the next day. (The venison was actually better cold out of the refrigerator. Some meats are like that, strangely enough.)
For dessert, I ordered a bittersweet chocolate pot de creme. A good sized white pot was unlidded before me, revealing the black interior with a patch of white creme in the middle, making the most striking presentation of the evening. The consistency and mouthfeel of the chocolate was above average, though it could have been a bit smoother. "Bittersweet" can mean almost anything these days. So, to clarify, the creme was in the ballpark of Callebaut's bittersweet (i.e., less bitter than most semi-sweets). That's fine, for my palate; but a hardcore chocoholic might be a bit disappointed at its tameness. Still, a very good dessert. And the portion size was very generous, especially considering the creme's richness. I ate it all, because it was there (and chocolate will not be denied). But I felt it later on. A good value ($6, I think).
Service was attentive and unobtrusive, as it should be. The presentation of warm, wet washclothes at the beginning of the meal remains a nice touch. They also have cloth towels in the bathroom--an amenity overlooked (or skimped on) by many of Dallas's 4-star destinations.
In all, I had a fine meal at a reasonable price. The excellent, unanticipated side salads, however, contribute significantly to my assessment of the meal's quality and value. But, on the basis of this experience, I would go back again.
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