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The Oak Room: Review

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The Oak Room: Review

Jay Weedon | Feb 16, 2004 06:39 PM

Grand Prospect Hall, Prospect Ave. betw/5th & 6th Aves., Brooklyn

So me & my love had the Valentine's Day prix fixe dinner on Saturday.

GPH is a spectacular environment. Or inside at least. Outside it's a little ugly, and overlooks the Prospect Parkway freeway. The lobby & bar area are elegant. The Oak Room is a lovely place to eat dinner - in a way it compensates for the closure of Gage & Tollner. Less intimate than G&T, but beatifully furnished with stained glass windows, oak paneling, humorous Italianesque murals, elegant brasswork.

(Elsewhere in the building, two wedding receptions were taking place, one downstairs, one up. The upstairs "do" was amazing - for 500 people, I was told - a violinist on the grand staircase. Guests were seated in the ballroom, a huge space with 2 layers of balconies. Massive gilt trip, if you know what I mean.)

Back to the Oak Room: Tables were set with lovely damask cloths. A red rose awaited my woman, bless her.

There were two seatings for dinner: We were on the early (pre-8pm) seating, it was about 1/3 full. There was plenty of service, but it wasn't terribly experienced: The wrong wine was presented; a request for more water produced a redundant replacement set of glasses; the scene was friendly but mildly chaotic.

Now to the food:

The seafood cassoulet soup was robust and tasty, but as far as I could tell the only seafood components were a single shrimp & a single scallop posed in the center. It arrived lukewarm and had been slopped around. I sent it back - it was much improved on the 2nd round. The Caesar salad was decent but pedestrian.

The beef medallions main course comprised good quality meat, cooked appropriately (medium-rare), with competently-prepared though not fascinating veggies. Red potatoes were carved to resemble straw mushrooms, which was a nice touch. Jus/gravy was decent.

I had the rack of lamb. Again, well cooked, but IMHO quite inferior meat: chewy & lacking in flavor.

Dessert: We shared the crême brulée. Not freshly prepared, it was more like a chilled custard with a toffee top. Tasty & charming in its own way. Heart-shaped milk chocolates accompanied our exit.

I'm glad I've seen inside this mysterious space: Go for the atmosphere, the food may get great.

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