Ended up ordering the $82 tasting menu (hey it wasn't that much more than the 3-courses for $67 and if you are going to break the bank...). The meal was very good, though at $260 (including tax, tip, and 3 glasses of wine total) I am not sure it was twice as good as the ~$130 meal I last had at Annisa (though certainly better than my last meal at Blue Hill). I think the main dissapointment price-wise was that though the quality of the food was generally excellent there was nothing extra--no amuse, no post-dessert cookies, etc.--and the decor is very understated with tables very close together.
Now on to the food: we asked for one of each of the two options available. We began with the mackarel tartare (with creme fraiche and paddlefish caviar) and the lobster salad. An earlier poster had desribed the tartare as the best dish s/he had in a week-long eating extravaganza. I was decidedly less impressed: it was lovely, but very familiar, rather like a very high quality lox spread. The lobster salad, however, was one of the best things I have ever tasted, served with truffle mayo, and some asian pear and celery, it was very rich (too rich for my SO's taste, he wasn't blown away, likely because he isnt a mayo fan), had lots of different flavors, and the "salad" really complmeneted the lobster. Incredible. The next course was 2 types of ravioli, goat cheese & sweetbread. Both were good though quite different: the goat cheese was served with a beet jus (there was lots of this on the menu) and seemed rather spring-like, the sweetbread was denser, served with a mushroom broth that unfortunately was mostly eaten by the SO, felt hearty. We most agreed on the deliciousness of the ravioli course. Next came fish: sea bass and fluke; then meat, we asked to substitute venison for the veal and also had lamb. This is yet another example of how--despite all attempts--main courses are just more boring than appetizers. The fish was more interesting (especially the fluke) than the meat. The venison itself, though, was quite succulent. Again, disagreement with the SO-he preferred the veal. I had finished my wine by this point (I had ordered the syrah, he the pinot noir--neither were very memorable but we arent oenophiles) so asked for a desssert wine. My waitress reminded me that I had a cheese course next, so recommended a port or a red dessert wine (fortified I believe so I am not clear how it differed from port). I got the wine, didn't like it until I had it with the cheese-wow. The blue cheese (served with pear, marcona almonds, and honey) itself was mild but went well with the accompaniments and went fabulously with the wine--I'm not ever sure I had an experience where the wine itself only tasted good when paired with the food. Dessert was somewhat dissapointing--the crepe that had been raved about on this board wasn't offered. Instead there was a rasperry +phyllo dough+creme fraiche sweetened with caramel thing (I forget the name) which was very delicate, with delicious berries (how do they do that this time of year?), and the topping was nice too, though it didnt go very well together. It was mostly way too small, just the size of 6 rasperries. The chocolate option (a Gaufrette according to the website) was bland, very sweet with caramel and little commplexity and unmemorable chocolate. I think this made me unhappy as this was the ending of the meal and I am a big chocolate fan (though, I admit, a discriminating one). Perhaps by then my taste buds had worn out, as I couldn't taste the mint that my SO (and the waitress) said was in the gaufrette...
So writing this it sounds like a generally wonderful experience, with a few falters. I think it was just the combination of being disspointed by the ending (ie the dessert and the lack of anything extra) plus getting the bill that made me less than completely thrilled. I'll likely go back for the lunch with wine pairings for $40.
BTW, the crowd was older and I felt a little young (mid-to-late 20s), though the service did not treat us as too young/broke (again, in contrast with blue hill).
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