Returned to the bar room for dinner last night. We arrived at 8 and were pleasantly surprised to immediately have a choice of several of the candlelit tables that run along the length of the long black banquette that stretches parallel to the white bar.
Service in the Bar Room, which has so far ranged from inept to infuriating (we once were discouraged from ordering food because "The kitchen's really busy now")
did not really transcend our prior experiences.
The food, however, was at a completely new level. We started with a cucumber mint gazpacho topped with two golden brown miniature crab cakes. It paired sensationally well with the dangerously tasty mango passion mojitos on the table. The cool, spare soup was enriched with each crispy, perfectly light and salty bite of crab cake.
We also shared the swordfish with eggplant caviar and teardrop tomatoes and the wild salmon with riesling cabbage. Both of these were winning dishes as well, with the buttery foam and trumpet mushroom covered salmon being the clear stand-out.
It is apparent that the kitchen, which excelled right from the start in the main dining room, IMHO, had been overwhelmed by the ambitious undertaking of presenting 30 other dishes in the Bar Room.
This struggle, and its concomitant occasional culinary missteps have faded out of view. What remains is a highly professional kitchen turning out thoughtfully prepared and highly satisfying food.
P.S. Ask for the luxe corn nuts that they serve in a sleek bowl upon request with your drinks. They are the high end equivalent of the plain fritos that everyone at your elementary school lunch table was vying to trade for...