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Blackfin Chop House & Raw Bar


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Blackfin Chop House & Raw Bar

MC Slim JB | Mar 26, 2004 12:07 AM

Stopped in here for a late meal on a whim, having read that it's a significant step down in price from Ambrosia, the former occupant of this space (same chef/owner). Bad news: it's just as expensive as Ambrosia, with a similarly high-priced wine list: few options under $30 and most wines $60 and up.

Can't say I much like the new look: it's very dark, with almost black walls, a lot of polished wood, and hokey gold-plated fishing gear as room accents. Salads and apps mostly run in the low teens. The market-priced steaks are all around $30, which may be a bargain for a 16-oz three-week-aged prime sirloin, but we didn't order one: none of us could imagine tackling a pound of beef at 10 o'clock at night. A sashimi dish for two at the next table looked very pretty: for $30, one hopes it was very good.

Portions are massive, a big change from the sensible, even smallish portions of Ambrosia, which I frankly prefer. My monkfish loin was a fat, perfectly cooked number, easily a 16-oz steak, with about a pound of chunky scalloped potatoes, a good fistful of excellent creamed spinach, and nicely undercooked green and wax beans. A great dish, but way too much food, albeit fairly priced at $23. I'd prefer an $18 dish I could come close to finishing.

My friends got similarly outsized portions of grilled chicken (perfectly done) and a so-called bouillabaisse, a brothless assortment of the expected seafood rather oddly served on a pile of very mediocre risotto.

With three glasses of a terrific Sonoma sauvignon blanc (Matanzas winery), an espresso, and a dessert I don't remember because I didn't touch it, the check came to $105 with tax, pre-tip. Service was friendly and competent.

The consensus was: "Kinda good, but kinda weird for the neighborhood: a decidedly suburban fine-dining experience." I guess you have to let the old fond memories of Ambrosia go, but I can't imagine myself hurrying back here. This place has to be tilting at expense-account types, tourists, and folks who feel swindled if they don't go home with a big doggie bag.

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