We eagerly anticipated our first visit to this highly touted new restaurant. The chef/owner, Dave Foster, has serious credentials and as "townies," we're always happy to see new and interesting dining establishments open in our town. Our evaluation? Decidedly mixed...
The interior is very interesting and really has an upscale, NYC feel. It is obvious that they paid attention to design details and there is a profusion of natural materials - bamboo table tops, cork, stone, etc. Even the silverware was worth talking about!
As for the food, there were "ups" and "downs." Everything served was very attractively presented, and the portions were enormous - even the salads covered full sized dinner plates. Additionally, the wine list, while relatively brief, had some interesting choices and was very realistically priced.
My seafood in court boullion was really excellent - a profusion of clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and a piece of whitefish. The dessert - apple spring rolls - was delicious.
My wife's tuna, on the other hand, was cold in the center and decidedly undersauced. The accompanying mashed potatoes w/corn and wasabi were excellent. Both salads were ok.....not great...not terrible...but ok. My wife had the arugula salad, and the bitterness of the greens was amplified by a very acidic dressing. My anchovy-less caesar lacked the "oomph" that I like with a caesar salad. Again, the use of citrus in lieu of anchovies made for a rather acidic taste.
One major positive was the service - absolutely wonderful on every level. It is clear that Chef Dave has taken real pains in the training and all of the servers - the waitperson, the busboys, (and Dave himself) paid very close attention to all of our needs and requests.
Will we return? Definitely...It is clear that they are still in the "germination" stage and they will obviously have to make adjustments to the menu. Interestingly, since our visit, we have run into several people who have also been there and our opinions seem to have been shared almost without exception. Foster's has the potential to be a real star in the New Haven dining scene, but a bit of "tweaking" is in order.