The hounds had their monthly dinner at Mildred's Temple Kitchen this month.
Things got started a little late, because everyone had trouble finding the place. It's a toss-up as to whether the new Mildred's or the old Mildred's was harder to find. Also a toss-up, whether it was harder to find the restaurant, or the bathroom once you were in the restaurant.
But let's talk about food.
Appetizers were generally excellent. Lots of interesting flavors, and beautiful dishes. I had the gnudi with bacon which was tremendously good. The whitefish fritters were also excellent, the batter was wonderful both in terms of flavor and texture. I was moderately concerned that the sauce might be a bit too sprucey, since the smell of spruce trees is one I grew up with and which evokes strong -- and not necessarily good -- memories, but really, it was just a nicely balanced tartar-esque sauce.
I also tried the beet salad, but without a bit of the goat cheese so it was just, you know, beet. I also also tried the mushroom salad that came with a mysterious green sauce that turned out to be leek puree. I record that here mainly because we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was, and eventually had to give in and ask the waiter.
The most popular choice at the table was the pork belly, which I knew it would be, because I've eaten with these people before, and we are drawn to pork belly like moths unto a flame. I decided against the pork belly because I felt pork belly with potato gnocchi might be awfully similar to ricotta gnudi with bacon. And I'm glad I did because the pork belly, which was prepared sous vide, was a real disappointment in my mind. Pork belly should be crispy and salty and wonderful and not soft and flavorless as it was in that preparation. I didn't eat that much of it, just a taste, but I was not impressed.
What I did order was the burger and frites. It was a very good burger, meat-wise, with some slightly mystifying choices topping wise. For one thing, they absolutely ladled on the onion relish and then added fresh onions, too, which seemed like an odd choice. They also ladled on the sauce on top of the burger, and then slapped a whole lettuce leaf between it and the burger so that it never got anywhere near flavoring anything besides the bun, and also squished out the side while you were trying to eat it. The Irish cheddar cheese ended up totally lost in the combination of onion relish and sauce on top. It's a great hunk of beef, but they need to really rethink how they're putting the burger together, at least in terms of volume of toppings. The frites, on the other hand, were smashingly good. Perfectly crisp and nicely salted and mmmmm.
I also tried bits and pieces of various other mains and generally found them very underseasoned. The main part of the main, fish or whatever, was usually okay, but the sides were bland as hell. I also thought the beans under the rainbow trout were undercooked.
Our end of the table decided to split every desserts so we'd have a chance to try them all. The hands down favorites were the sticky date pudding and the bread pudding with figs. The lemon mille feuille (I'm guessing I spelled that wrong) was also very good, I thought -- but I love, love, love lemony desserts like that, right down to Sheriff Lemon Pie Filling from a box, so, uh, yeah, my standards on that type of dessert might be a little suspect. The chocolate desserts were iffier. I did like that the chocolate pot de creme was not super sweet, and I thought the cookies that came with it were lovely, but I thought the profiteroles were kind of pointless. There was so much ice cream in them that the choux was totally lost except as a hint of texture, and they'd have been a ridiculous pain in the ass to pick up and eat by hand.
Friendly, attentive, relatively fast. I do like that they're doing strictly filtered tap water, even for their sparkling water.
Imagine the old Mildred's with its lushness and frescoes. Now imagine the exact opposite of the old Mildred's. Yeah. That. It's a cold (both literally and figuratively), spare space. Functional, I guess, but not pretty, or even particularly comfortable.
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