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Upstairs on the Square RW report (Soiree menu)

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Upstairs on the Square RW report (Soiree menu)

Amy | Aug 25, 2003 01:39 PM

This may be a little late although since they've extended their restaurant week options ...

I chose the Soiree menu as it was kindof a special occasion and I wanted to see what they could do with this concept -- in addition to the $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner as RW in the downstairs area, the upstairs room (Soiree) had a $40 prix-fixe option so that's what I made reservations for.

I was early so I went over to the bar and hesitated as there didn't seem to be seats open. A waiter saw me waiting to approach the bar and asked if he could help and I indicated that a woman had her purse on a bar stool and he asked her if she would move it. I thought that was really nice. I had a "tasting" size of a pinot grigio on the wine list (about 1/3 of a glass) that was $3.50.

My friend arrived about 10 minutes after the reservation (ergh) but the hostess did not say a word and we headed upstairs. We were greeted at the door to the upstairs by the restaurant manager. The room, at 6:45 was about 1/3 full. I had never been inside before and knew it was going to be a little wild but whew, that upstairs is intensely pink, like being inside a Barbie boudoir. The room was still daylit at 7 PM and the pink was a little weird, but as the sun went down the garish pink of the room actually became very cozy and warm and lovely, so that was kinda neat.

We were served really wonderful bread with great crust and butter and water all arrived promptly as well as the additional glasses of wine we ordered. (I tried the arnais, my partner had a glass of the pinot grigio). The amuse bouche was a salmon tartar with creme fraiche and a little green twig of something (not dill), served on a spoon. Quite nice although not dramatic. Our waiter was great, very solicitous, actually seemed a bit nervous, not sure why. Our menus initially did not have the RW menu inside so he apologized and brought them out. He was great about asking if we had any questions about the menu (which my European partner thought was hilarious because in Europe if you don't know what something on the menu is, then this is a sign you are an imbecile and you would never be asked for fear of insulting you).

The first course (no choice) was a watermelon gazpacho which was more interesting in concept than taste ... but nonetheless pretty cool. A dollop of guacamole with tiny cubes of watermelon, and then they poured the broth into the bowl with a pitcher (I always like it when they do that). The broth was a tomatoey-watermelon flavor with olive oil and pepper as accents, maybe cumin too? Like I said, very cool but I think the watermelon didn't work all that well, or at least I've had cantelope or honeydew soups that were just incredible and this was mostly OK. (Am I being too picky here?)

I chose the swordfish and partner got the poussin (fancy word for capon I guess). Both were perfectly tender and flavorful. Poussin was served with candied prunes and bulgar. Swordfish with beautifully done carmelized onions. Wonderful entrees. The Restaurant Manager checked in with us and was nice enough to answer some questions we had about the restaurant in general which was fun.

The dessert was not my favorite part, sadly, although I kinda knew it wasn't going to be my favorite since I'd seen the menu ahead. It was a "pavlova" which is a meringue with ice cream. The ice cream and sauteed plums were lovely but the meringue is just a big meringue cookie and so sugary that with the ice cream it was really too sweet to eat. It was pretty on the plate but I think I just don't care of this meringue trend I've seen elsewhere (like at the Elephant Walk). We did see the cheese cart which sounds wonderful but we were too full to partake.

Overall it was a great experience. Felt very special and elegant and the service was attentive and warm. I think if I went again I'd probably stick with the downstairs menu but it was fun to try the area upstairs.

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