Better experience than before in the downstairs bar, as we're served by the old pro instead of the young acolyte: very fine cocktails, and not just the specialty numbers with the atomized infusions on top.
I failed to mention the truffled popcorn served here as an alternative to complimentary bread in my prior review. I think this is a clever and tasty idea: it's even good when the popcorn gets cold, and I generally hate any popcorn I haven't just made myself.
Bad surprise early on: it's 8pm on a prime night, and they are already out of the soup, the cocotte, and the Blue Point oysters. Amateurish.
The foie gras app with the funnel cake is still wonderful, the tuna tartare (torched like a creme brulee, but falling apart too quickly for this interesting idea to make much of an impact) and deconstructed Caeser less impressive. Main of steak and eggs (a filet, not my favorite cut, but cooked rare to order) includes the poached-egg-in-crust thing I recently saw at Spire and didn't much love there, either.
Desserts are again quite nice, but a cheese plate is hurt by dessicated toast points; worse, the kitchen can't produce any fresh, untoasted bread of any kind.
A different server from my first visit exhibits some of the lack of polish noted by 9lives in a recent post. Many little lapses, not a very good sense of flow (I'm not talking about kitchen pacing here, which seems leisurely but just fine). Well-meaning, maybe a bit undertrained.
In all, for nearly $100/head inclusive (with a very modest wine, <$40), I'm far less wowed on this visit than my first one. There's a lot of potential here, but a busy night seems to expose some gaps in the overall experience that I didn't notice the first time out. I like this chef's creativity and artful platings, but there's some work to be done before this place will merit its high-middle price tags.
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