Tried Blair's for the first time last evening, or should I say, unevening. It sometimes amazes me that a single restaurant kitchen can produce such range of quality, taste, and inventiveness. Dinner was at 6pm and just as it should be the service was exemplary in a near empty restaurant. I ordered a decent Pinot and we perused the menu. First problem the bread is just coming out of the oven it will be hear in a moment. Well the moment turn into about ten minutes and while my psyche expected some beautifully fresh and inventive carbs, my eyes beheld what looked and tasted like some thinly cut Pillsbury French bread. The butter, always a barometer of the weather ahead, was salty and indistinguishable from Fleischmanns margarine.
First course- I had the Gala Apple, Iowa Blue Cheese and candied walnut salad. It was in one word- great. All the pointed tastes came together like a Seurrat painting. The endive on the bottom of the plate added a slight bitterness that brought out the flavors of all the other ingredients. And all of the ingredients were cold, including the baby greens.
Side Orders- We order the Blue Lake-Green Beans with chorizo and the French Fries. Once again great. The Green Beans were crisp and hot and the fat from the chorizo complemented their flavor brilliantly. The French fries were thin, crisp and tossed in parsley and garlic. Two sauces- one a garlic aioli and the other a jalapeno ketchup were the perfect pools for dipping the fries. But where were the MAINS.
After finishing the green beans and putting a serious dent in the fries and the Pinot our entrées arrived. I had the Sea Bass Dusted with Sunflower Flour (Chopped sunflower seeds)(No I did not have the short-ribs). The Fish lay on top of a purees of Sun Choke (Jerusalem Artichoke). It was fresh, well cooked, but the flavors really did not meld together. After the Salad, the Green Beans and the Fries, what should have been the apex of the meal, turned out to be ho hum.
OK, one last chance to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat- Dessert. I was deciding between vanilla ice cream with root beer sorbet (a cute root beer float) and coconut meringue pie with white peach ice cream. (Everything is made on premises) I left it up to our server and was presented a few minutes later with a glass and in it four scoops (two vanilla and two root beer). I tried the ice cream and it had no mouth feel and little vanilla taste. The root beer sorbet was good, but not great. In order to add some flavor I poured my espresso over the scoops and stirred- it saved the day.
It was not a bad meal but it was inconsistent and when the bill came I realized, not worth it. Taking out the Pinot, the bill was a little over $50/person.