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Disappointment at Vert

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Disappointment at Vert

Sonia | May 25, 2004 08:59 PM

We went to Vert for an early dinner on a recent Sunday evening in search of a great thin-crust pizza.

We ordered the tuna tartare & bruschetta to start. When the tuna tartare was placed before me, I was overwhelmed by the smell of the burnt toast – yes, burnt! The tuna was very lightly seasoned w/ olive oil, salt, pepper and perhaps a little garlic and the smell of the toast totally obliterated what little flavor it had. The server came by to ask if everything was ok and I pointed out the burnt toast and she said they’re grilled but will replace them with less charred ones. A few minutes later I got the replacement toast which were slightly better but the flavor of the grill was still overwhelming. It completely masked the delicate flavor of the tuna and, in fact, destroyed my sense of smell & taste for the duration of the course. The bruschetta was 3 pieces of toast (again, charred, but not as badly) each topped w/ your typical tomato mixture, a pinenut mixture & grilled yellow peppers. Although I found the burn bothersome and only nibbled a little on the tomatoes, the hubby didn’t feel strongly about. He’s not one to complain anyway. He finished his appetizer, though later commented that it was well below average and that the pinenut mixture didn’t taste like much of anything.

For main courses I got the tarte flambé Alsace, basically an oblong shaped pizza w/ crème fraiche, carmelized onions & pancetta, & hubby got the pizza margheritta. The tarte was rather tasty, with the sweet of the onions nicely offset by the salt of the pancetta. A whole meal of this, however, proved difficult as the heaviness of the cream & pancetta got to me after only 2 pieces. We agreed that it would better as an appetizer to share w/ several people. The margheritta was not good at all. For a restaurateur whose credits include the invention of California-style pizza, I found this rather surprising. The crust was tough in the middle and downright crunchy (rather than crispy) at the edges. The sauce tasted like it was out of a jar. I’m no expert by any means, but some truly great pizzas I’ve had from NY to Rome to Chicago had a pizza sauce that had a balance of tanginess from the tomatoes, deep flavors of herbs & garlic and just a touch of sweetness. This one just tasted bland.

We opted out of dessert because while I wasn’t quite full, I couldn’t even think about having a sweet dessert after the heavy tart.

Afterwards, from a bridge, we saw CPK on the plaza level and commented that we would have had a better meal there. At least it would have been predictable in that processed food, frozen TV-dinner sort of way. At least we wouldn’t have been served burnt toast.

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