I had been anxious to try this place since I heard about it and finally had the chance last night..4 of us met at the bar for a drink; then upstairs for dinner.
The bar..nice, trendy room...."interesting" martini with scotch and jasmaine...bar top has these little "coaster type" lit spots every few feet( Lim mentioned them below)...nice touch but poor design...crumbs and crud collect around the outer edge between the light and the bar..instead of being flush, there's a small gap; where you can't just wipe the bar clean..but need to get in with a qtip or something to clean...small point but disgusting if you notice it...which I did.
Good drinks and then upstairs..more about that later.
Started with the truffle popocorn; which I'd heard about..thought it was silly when I heard about it...but ended up loving it.
apps were foie gras and tuna tartare...foie was good sized portion, good flavors but was way overdone..I'd have sent mine back if I were not dining with another couple...tuna app was tasty but a little silly with a shot glass of tea and spoonful of cranberries next to it.....all tasty but no real idea of what was supposed to be going on between them.
Mains were a duck breast..med rare but too cold..accompanied with a cute tiny skillet full of a dish similar to the Cafe Baraka Bastille torta (the 36 hour dish)with duck confit...beef tenderloin with egg was of high quality beef properly done med rare..with a truffle egg soufllee...excellent. Scallop entree which I didn't taste but the diner seemed to enjoy. I had the pork duet..properly done sliced tenderloin (lukewarm)and a very good pork belly (hot)....probably the best item placed on the table. Clearly, the kitchen had timing issues getting everything hot but overall I'd say the mains were better than the apps. I often find the opposite.
2 bottles of wine we requested were "out" (and hardly rare or unobtainable bottles)..odd in a restaurant that's open for such a short time...we didn't go thirsty and had a CA petite syrah and an Aus syrah.
Service was very friendly and enthusiastic but unprofessional; and well below what is usual in a restaurant with apps in the $14-20 and entrees in the 25-30+ range..interminable wait between apps and entrees. Lots of reaches across the table to fill water glasses or clear empty plates..instead of walking around the table. I would say that the overall service is on a par with a nicer ethnic place like Khao Sarn or Tamarind Bay..than with similarly priced restaurants.
2 quibbles...and these would not be issues if prices were 20% lower..
They don't serve salt and pepper. When I asked for some, they brought me salt and pepper shakers that were more like you'd find in a a diner than a fine restaurant. Jarring clash to the modern plates and flatware.
Really clumsy coat check system...when I walk into most good restaurants, I go straight to the hostess stand; tell them I have a res...they ask if I'd like to check my coat..then I go to the bar to wait for my table..or directly to my table.
Here, I checked in..kept my coat and went to the bar to wait for the other couple. Need to find somewhere to place my coats..and end up throwing them over a chair. No biggie in a college hangout..but the pretty room was getting "storage room"feel because others did the same. When the second couple joined us, they ordered a drink..and halfway through our drink the hostess came to seat us. So 4 of us walk through a crowded bar and up a narrow staircase, drink in 1 hand, overcoat/hat/scarf in the other...and check our coats at the top of the stairs. Clumsy and awkward way to do things..and "broke up the flow" of the evening. Naturally I didn't spill any of my jasmine martini..(but many peole might:))...and it's probably too much to expect the waiter to bring our drinks to the table..more formal service; but the whole experience would have been much more fluid, if they had just taken our coats when we came in and checked in for our table.
I enjoyed the meal; but as we left, I glanced over at Tamarind Bay and felt that I'd rather eat at TB 2 or 3 x for the same money...none of the luxury ingredients like foie gras, tuna tartare (are these native to Nepal?:),or truffle oil...but a lot more flavor on the plate.
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