After reading the positive posts on this site, my wife and I went to Emma's on Saturday night. The summary: on the positive side the space is nice, service was very friendly, some of the food was very good, and I think this place will end up becoming a nice addition to a neighborhood with more and more good restaurants. On the negative side, the menu and food overall felt very wintery for a 90 degree July night, and I have to disagree with McGeary's earlier post - I thought the oatmeal strawberry shortcake was one of the worst desserts I have had in a long time.
We started with two appetizers. We had a beet salad that came with greens, beets, crumbled feta, and candied walnuts. For the most part it was good. I thought the greens were the weak point - a couple were pretty yellow (not fresh) and they were a little skimpy. The other appetizer was the high point of the meal. We got a dish called peas and carrots. The presenation was beautiful. It was a fresh pean flan in a carrot broth. On top of the flan were shavings of candied carrots and then pea tendrils. It was a delicious re-interpretation of an old classic. Appetizers were in the $6-8 range.
For the main dishes we had beef short ribs in a flavorful broth. The meat was very moist and flavorful. If it had been January instead of July it would have been the perfect dish. We also had a gnocchi with wild msuhrooms.The broth had a strong mushroom flavor and it was a nice mix of several types of wild mushrooms, including the rarely seen at restaurants - enoki. The gnocchi were okay, but they were not as fluffy and flavorful as ones I had recently at Lucia's. Again, this dish, and others on the menu, were not very summery. Entrees were in the $15-18 range.
For dessert we had the oatmeal strawberry shortcake. The oatmeal biscuit was a little dry and had little sweetness. The whipped cream was freshly made, but it also could have used a little sugar. Even my wife who tends not to like very sweet desserts, found that it was not sweet enough. The biggest problem was that it only had a couple strawberries and they tasted like the ones that get shipped in green from California. I know it is a little past the peak of strawberry season, but if this is the best they can find then this dish should come off the menu.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience. Some of the good was very good and the place had a nice vibe. We only went once to 3 Muses, but we liked this a lot more than that. I might wait a couple months to go back and let them get their feet under them a little more (it has only been open 6 weeks). But I imagine this will become a really solid place.
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