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Manhattan Dinner

Artisanal dinner review

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Artisanal dinner review

ChefBoyAreMe | Mar 14, 2008 06:16 AM

After hearing a lot of great things about this place, I finally had a chance to try it out last night.

All in all, a disappointment, I'd have to say.

Space: Nice, but not great. Going for the bistro look, but I'd call it "Balthazar on the cheap". Where is the zinc top bar? The lighting looked like a bit "art deco-y" to me...nice, but not really what I'd expect. Room around table? Let's just say hit the head before sitting down, or you'll have to rearrange the furniture between courses (yours and the folks sitting next to you) to get up and then again back down. I give it a C+

Wine list:
Nice, deep, reasonable prices, with everything by the glass. A-

Cheese:
Content, A+. Terrific, broad list. No surprise, that's the raison d'tre for this place.

Portions, a "gentleman's C". Had 3 cheeses to start: a nice Robiolla Due Latte, a good stinky Epoisses, and a Valdeon. 3 people, and everyone got on little morsel of each. C'mon, guys...at htese margins? I could go to Murray's or Darien cheese and buy enough for 10 and have plenty left for the same price.

Appy:
Nice Octopus with fingerlings and paprika, topped with frissee. I think they used a special kind of "clear paprika", though, as I saw none. Octo was tender, tasty, but the pototos were very bland and without texture. A B, since the Octo itself was very good., but the portion tiny...3, 2.5" long half tenticles.

Entree:
Here's where they really went south. Ordered the "7 hour lamb shank" with goat cheese polenta, etc. 7 hours, you have to figure meltingly tender, falling off the bone, delicious, especially in a bistro, right. Well, not sure what this lamb was doing for the previous 7 hours. Working out, maybe, doing pushups or crunches? Definately not gently braising. Needed a steak knife to cut it, fat and collagen between muscles slimy and unrendered. Ate 1/4, and gave up. This gets an F...period. Anyone who can't braise a lamb shank long enough to make it tender deserves no higher, regardless of the flavors around it

Dessert: A bit of redemption here...a delicious passion fruit panna cotta with pomegranate seeds, in a fruit "soup". Very nice. Can I have a grown up portion, though? An A for taste, C- for portion.

All in all, a big disappointment for me, a real cheese hound who wanted to love this place. a C- overall, in my book, can't imagine going back anytime soon.

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