Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan Wine Bar

Morell Wine Bar -- Poor

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Restaurants & Bars

Morell Wine Bar -- Poor

cabrales | Sep 25, 2003 08:14 AM

I had a poor meal at Morell wine bar recently (Rockefeller Center).

The wine service for the wines by the glass ordered was appalling, for a venue that purports to market itself based on its wine offerings. The brunette female dining room member who "assisted" me had to be prompted by me to bring my glasses of wine for each course, at least 5-10 minutes after the dishes had arrived. It was fortunate that I had ordered "cold temperature" dishes.

The food was poor.

(1) Tartar Times Three (Yellowfin Tuna, Diver Scallops, Atlantic Salmon)

Three decent-sized mounds of tartar, unfortunately all cut in the same general small size. Each was of passable intrinsic quality, but nothing special. The scallops were further compromised by a heavy hand with white truffle oil, which shows in my mind a certain immaturity in cuisine. Three accompaniments were (1) Japanese seaweed-type item, with sesame oil sensations, (2) soft cucumber juliennes, and (3) jicama julienne. A dish that was mundane, although presumably the kitchen had attempted to make it more interesting than I took it to be. Taken with an inexpensive glass of white Bordeaux, Chateau Charon (passable).

The French wines by the glass are not particularly impressive. There is a good dessert wine by the glass selection, and stronger representation of US wines.

The Roasted Onion Tart, Caramelized Sweet Onions, Gruyere and Crème Fraiche my dining companion ordered was better, but still too sweet from the caramelized onions.

(2) Steak Tartar, Hand Cut Beef Tenderloin, Mustard Vinaigrette, Capers, Shallots and Grana Padano Cheese

An attempt to deconstruct steak tartar, which did not necessarily succeed. The steak tartar itself did not have the usual Worcheshire sauce or mustard integrated into it, although there were shallots, etc. Instead, the mustard was utilized in the vinaigrette surrounding the tartar mound. The steak tartar was insufficiently flavored. On top of the steak was a raw quail's egg yolk in an open quail's egg shell, which was another attempt at deconsructing the usual chicken egg yolk included in steak tartar. Kind of whimsical, but did nothing for the taste of the dish. I had this with a glass of L'Hopital French red.

The Seared Dry Aged Sirloin, Pickled Chanterelles, Wild Watercress, Potato Gratin ($28) my dining companion had was terrible. The steak, prepared medium, had a texture that reminded me of stale flesh (it was not, but that was the sensation; a matteness and bad texture). I docked the restaurant extra points for my having had to place this steak piece in my mouth, when I sampled it.

Note I have never visited Morell Restaurant, and it is the wine bar at which I had an unsatisfactory meal. I had previously visited the wine bar at least twice, but either ate at the bar area or just ordered wine by the glass.

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