We had a friend in from out of town and she was looking for a good meal and a chance for us to all catch up. Being the self-imposed food guy, I compiled a list of each of our local fine eateries in each food genre. Ultimately, she cast pretention aside and decided on Veni Vidi Vici, since they come highly recommended by friends and is smack in the middle of the Tower nightlife.
One thing I immediately found a little shocking was how mellow and quiet it is there during dinner service. Normally I'm there around 11pm for drinks on the patio and the place is bumping with chatting, socializing folks. During dinner service, it was quite mellow. Couples and small parties enjoying small talk during their meal, low (flickering) lighting but enough to read a menu by and attentive servers ready and eager to please.
We started off with the wine list. I know next to nothing about wine. A few typing errors on the menu made it a little confusing, but we eventually found a pinot grigio to share. We started off with the goat cheese appetizer, which is a warm bowl of olive oil with confit garlic and calamata olives floating in it, surrounding a short tower of black pepper coated goat cheese ringed by wee slices of bread. Smooth, creamy and just a little spicy.
For the second course, we decided to split their pear salad. Plenty to go around for 3 people. And very unique! I've had a pear salad before, but not one where when you have the pear, aurgula, bleu cheese and candied pecan all in one bite and the combination tastes like a strongly cumined pork loin. Very strange and very yummy.
Entrees, we got the juniper berry pork chop, the andouille and portabella ravioli and their rib eye. The pork chop was perfect. Nice balance of sweet and spicy. The ravioli was excellently earthy and the sauce even has cute little cherry tomatoes braised in the sauce. The steak was amazing, but strangely off menu. It says that it has a mustard maple glaze over bleu cheese. But what I got was crusted in goat cheese with a ribbon of Guilden's brown mustard and a strip of sriracha. It certainly was delicious. Perfectly medium rare and really tasty. The mustard gives it that hint of a good burger and the sriracha amplifies the heat nicely without overpowering anything. Certainly a unique topping for a steak. But I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Dessert was their banana's foster, quite nice, caramel, bananas, a great vanilla ice cream and a filo crisp for crunch. And their white chocolate ice cream. Tasty, but a little bit crunchy and the raspberry(?) coulis at the bottom really couldn't be tasted.
Overall great dinner. I'm kicking myself wondering why I haven't eaten there sooner! There's a full review of dinner over at http://eatingoutfresno.blogspot.com/ Might be unsafe for work browsing due to coarse language.
Veni Vidi Vici
1116 N Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93728