I went to dinner at Jardiniere and wanted to chronicle the experience while it's still fresh in my mind. We ran about a half hour late, but had called in advance, and were seated almost immediately upon entering the restaurant. The attendant brought us upstairs to a table overlooking the bar area (Jardiniere is two flights, with the upstairs having some table around the cut out center of the floor, through which the bar area is visible. The music was pleasant and our seat afforded a nice view of the immaculate desserts to come.
Champagne: we began with glasses of a Roederer champagne; recommended by the waiter as "just as good as the Perrier (grand siecle)" (but $14 per glass instead of $25) it was excellent.
Appetizer: We started with the scallops & black truffles and a seared fois gras. The scallops were served with mashed potatos and the truffle flavor infused both the scallops and the potatos giving both a wonderful flavor; the scallop-truffle combination was really excellent. The fois gras was sublime. It was a very generous portion, perfectly seared. The accompaniment of apples, lentil, mushrooms, and a green I can't identify worked very well.
Main course: Tasty, though perhaps the least exciting part of the meal. We had the "Red Wine Braised Shortribs with Horseradish Potato Puree and Herb Salad" and the "Hoffman Ranch Breast of Chicken with Hedgehog Mushrooms and Crispy Fingerling Potatoes, Thyme Jus" Both were very good, but not superb. I was impressed by the moistness of the chicken, though not blown away by the taste (I found it a little bland). The Rib was very soft, though I thought the sauce--a red wine reduction--overwhelmed the taste of the meat--and served to make it seem less rich.
I had a particularly nice glass of Burgundy from Gevrey-Chambertin with the rib. It was slightly smoky and worked very well with the rib.
Dessert: The warmed chocolate cake with ice cream is quite possibly the best dessert I have ever tasted. A warmed cake (not quite a souffle, but still liquidy on the inside) is served with a hazelnut wafer and topped with ice cream. It's hard to describe how rich and flavorful the dessert was--it's something that can only be properly reproduced in experience. My dining companion's sorbets were also excellent.
The service was a bit slow, but it hardly detracted. As we left, we noticed the valet was gone; we went inside to wait and, not a minute later, he brought around the car. We hadn't given anyone our claim check, so it seems that he just paid attention. It was a nice touc to end an excellent evening.
All in all this was a terrific meal and a wonderful experience.
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