Restaurants & Bars 4

Range report

mattlz | Dec 14, 2005 05:05 PM

I've read mostly glowing reviews of Range so I wanted to add my thoughts after spending last evening there for dinner. This is my first review - apologies if it rambles on.

I was the first one at the Restaurant for an early reservation and sat at the bar for a drink while I waited. The bartenders welcomed me with their special cocktail of the evening, a "pumpkin pie" shot with an Anchor Christmas ale chaser. It was a mixture of Bailey's, Kahlua, Goldschlager, and a couple other liqueurs that actually did taste much like pumpkin pie. The Anchor chaser cut the richness while preserving the pie spice flavors - a great start.

After tasting a couple wines my party arrived and we were seated. For starters we had:

Chicken liver mousse - a ramekin of mousse topped with olive oil served with bitter greens and crispy toast points. The mousse was creamy and light with enough liver flavor to stand out but not overwhelm - I swabbed out every last streak with the extra bread on the table. It also went perfectly with the '98 LeRoy Bourgogne we ordered after consulting with the waiter who was well-informed about the wine list.

Marinated leeks with a poached egg and mustard seeds - this didn’t work. The leeks, arranged lengthwise, were soggy with an overly oily marinade yet still fibrous in consistency. The egg was nicely poached but the runny yolk over the oily leeks was unappealing even with the tang of the mustard.

The mains:

Pork rack with creamed hominy, crispy sage, and prunes - I was so looking forward to this after all the raves about the coffee-rubbed pork shoulder. The waiter told me the rack was brined and then slow cooked in a 270 degree oven to retain maximum pinkness. YES! But no. The piece of the rack (basically a large chop) was not pink at all. I had to ask for a steak knife in order to keep my plate from sliding around when cutting into it. The crispy sage leaves browned in butter were nice but disappeared quickly, leaving me with the hominy which was creamy as advertised but very much in need of salt.

Roast chicken with bacon and walnut bread salad and sherry jus - I figured this had to be good with the inevitable comparison to Zuni's version. The half chicken was juicy with crispy skin though not as pink and tender as the Zuni bird. The bacon and walnuts in the bread salad soaked with the chicken and sherry jus were delicious. My only complaint would be that the bread was made up of small pieces and so ended up more like stuffing than salad.

The desserts:

Apple galette with vanilla bean ice cream - This classic had TONS of butter in the crust (not a complaint).

Cheesecake with quince jam - I'm not really a cheesecake fan but others liked it - the crust required some serious fork pressure to crack through.

Chocolate cake with cardamom ice cream - loved the ice cream - the cake was light in texture and not too sweet but could have been more chocolatey.

The servers were friendly and discreet. All of our needs were well taken care of.

Overall the food didnt quite meet my expectations which were probably too high to begin with. Speaking of which, next stop, Myth...

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