I made my second trip to Vin Rouge yesterday (a father's day treat). I had crepes with duck and gnocchi with crab, both a bit salty, but still I was delighted -- almost amused -- by the boldness and simplicity of the flavor that Vin Rouge aims for. The gnocchi were tossed in wine, garlic (whole roasted cloves), and basil: you could smell the dish fifteen feet away. The Barker's book is called "Not Afraid of Flavor," but this is what it really means to be unafraid of flavor. My wife once again had the liver and onions, which was a tad overcooked but still great. Vin Rouge is not subtle and it's not brilliant and it's not flawless (as above), but it is conceptually sound, which, in these days of blue corn this and saffron that, is no small thing. A conceptually sound dish creates a certain leeway for flaws in execution; to put the matter differently, even a bad burger is pretty good.
For dessert we had the chocolate torte. It was pungently chocolaty.
The total cost was $75 with tip.
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