This is a new, French-ish place on 7th between 21st and 22nd. Me and my fiancee went with another couple last Friday (in lieu of Sandia, see my other post) at 10 after seeing Batman. The place was virtually empty, with the front of the house staffed by a pleasant young host who also served as our waiter, and another female server, who dealt with the other party in the restaurant. They were out of a number of items on the menu. Apparently the chef had rejected a major part or maybe all of the fish delivery, which I can respect, though it would have been nice to have had more choices.
Everything seemed to have been prepared with good technique, but there were some problems. There was an amuse bouche of steak tartare on something crispy, which was just fine. I had an eggplant terrine appetizer, which was pretty cold (like too cold), hard to cut through, kind of slimy, and not particularly flavorful, though the flavor it did have was clean and honest. For an entree I had the rack of lamb, which was cooked to proper internal temperature (I got medium rare) but too charred on the outside, giving a burned taste. It was also a painfully small portion for $29. I imagine the chef would defend on grounds of the quality of the meat, but to my mind the flavor beyond the charred taste was too light. Maybe this is what's desired in high-quality lamb. Anyhow, it was served on a pleasantly silky parsnip puree, but this was barely warm.
The fiancee had the slow-roasted beets with garden salad and goat cheese. Beets were quite enjoyable, but in general this was nothing to write home about. For an entree she had the medallions of pork tenderloin with potato puree, honshimeiji, and pork truffle jus. This was fine, but not really very flavorful either.
We had a couple bottles of wine which semed to be of nice quality for the price--indeed the host/waiter told us the chef is keeping the markup on the wine low. There weren't, however, a lot of low-priced wines on the list. One thing I found objectionable was that the host/waiter could not advise us on the wines at all. Either he or the female server did tell us that they were listed in order of heaviness. If they're going to serve wine, somebody there should be able to tell us about it. Maybe this is extreme, but I think maybe the chef should have come out. Again, there was only one other table.
Entree prices rest in the mid-$20s. I like the air of integrity the chef is projecting, and it's a pleasant little spot, so I'd like it to succeed, but unless it sharpens up its act, I'm afraid it won't. It *is* new, though.
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