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Hamersley's Bistro (long)

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Hamersley's Bistro (long)

NEChef | Mar 3, 2003 06:33 PM

My wife and I visited Hamersley's Bistro this past Saturday. We had been there many times in the past and have always had at least one dish to say "wow" over. This was not the case this last time, although nothing was sub-par. My wife started with the salad of warm roasted pear, endive and roquefort with aged balsamic vinaigrette. The pear/roquefort combination with the balsamic flavor was a nice combination but the tough endive seemed to be an unnecessary distraction. I had the grilled mushroom and garlic sandwich on country bread. I seem to remember more mushrooms in the past but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, it was good and was my favorite dish of the evening.

For dinner, my wife had the tenderloin of beef with grilled marrow bone, wild mushrooms and truffled mashed potatoes. Of course I sampled all of hers and she also gave me the whole marrow bone. The beef was good quality and cooked to her liking but the truffled mashed potatoes had a minimal flavor of truffles. The marrow bone was very small - I was lucky if there was a half-teaspoon of marrow. Striped bass replaced the halibut dish and was braised in champagne with mussels stuffed with leaks and thyme. The sauce was rich, buttery and "tart" at the same time - but there wasn't enough of it. I have had fresher striped bass but it wasn't bad and the portion size was generous. The halibut probably would have been better in the sauce than the bass. The dish came with only two mussels.

For dessert, my wife had the tangerine granita tart with vanilla ice cream and cranberry. This was probably the most flavorful and unique dish of the evening. Vanilla ice cream with cranberries was shaped into a dome and set in a tasty crunchy tart and then the ice cream dome was coated with tangerine granita. It was unique and it provided quite a mix of textures and flavors. I enjoyed it but my wife didn't "know what to make of it" (her words, not mine - don't ask!). I had the apple walnut cake with roasted apple compote wwhich was surrounded by a decorative "drizzling" of vanilla and huckleberry sauce. The piece of cake itself was round (cut out with a biscuit cutter) and was no more than one inch thick. It was topped with a minimal dollop of compote and whipped cream. It was not bad but not great - somewhat of a disappointment because for I expected more from this pastry chef and for $8.75.

All in all, it wasn't bad but nothing great. With the tip and with one martini, one glass of Byron Cellars pinot noir and one glass of champagne, it was $186 for two. Somewhat of a high price for with no bottle of wine and for just "not bad".

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