My wife scored a gift certificate for this place, so we went earlier this week. The room is gorgeous, as is the bldg, as I'm sure many of you know, but everything after first impressions were a huge disappointment.
We both started with a deconstructed "ravioli" in which several small circles of sweet beets were used to sandwich a tower of St Tolo (?) goat cheese. There were three of these towers, with greens on top (some type of shoot), and the thing was then drizzled with a balsamic reduction, olive oil, and passion fruit pulp. The dish may have worked, but the cheese just overwhelmed the dish. While I like goat cheese, there was just too much of it, and it was too strong. We couldn;t taste the beets, unless we peeled them off and ate them individually. The passion fruit (which I love) didn't really go with the balsamic or the cheese, and why use high quality olive oil when you can't taste it?
For mains, my wife had cumin scented atlantic salmon server on a apple-celeriac puree and I had muscovy duck breast on a risotto, with a chili-tomato salsa on the side.
First the salmon: it was overcooked, there wasn't even a HINT of cumin, and the primary season was clearly salt. At least the puree was nice. The duck, however, will go down as one of the wierdest dishes I've ever had. It was a bit tough, though the skin was light, crispy and tasty. The risotto was made with smoked gouda, and there were strips of what i assume was hamhock. If germans from babmerg (home of rauchbier) ever wanted to interpret risotto, it would taste like this. To drive the smokiness home, a lone piece of smoked gouda was placed on top of the duck. It was just sort of limp and rubbery. And to complement this, the salsa, a vaguely latin/caribbean dish. So muscovy duck with german risotto and caribbean salsa. WTF? To top it off, the lovely glass of french wine that was recommended with the duck, was almost undrinkable after that smoke hit my palate.
We ordered the dessert plate, which came with two balls of unidentiable (but creamy) ice cream, an eggy (and far from creamy) vanilla creme brulee, a lemon mousse cake, with more of that passion fruit (just made a tart dish more tart), and tasteless shortbread biscotti.
At $80 after the gift certificate, I hardly feel I was taken for a ride, but the horrible taste of chef's reach exceeding his grasp is still with me. If we did order the wrong stuff, what is the right stuff?
And just who is this place supposed to appeal to?
The service was fine, however, though by the way each dish was carefully explained to us (e.g. there was a concern we would misinterprt "ravioli") I gathered they get a lot of newbie foodies. So maybe I've answered my own question.
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