I was so excited to discover that this was the spot for my surprise birthday dinner - had been wanting to try for a while, so much so that I walked to it one time at lunch to look at the menu and peer in.
My SO and I got there a few min early for an 8:30 reservation. The service was not what I expected, no one asked for our names, and we had to ask a passing waiter who would take our coats. There's not a particularly good waiting entrance area. But, once we got settled, went for a drink at the bar - a nice dark hallway off the bright dining room, linking to the hotel's lounge. 8:30 comes and goes w/o word from the hostess. SO goes to check, and we're told it will still be a little while. We get a second drink and are seated by about 9pm. Wasn't too bad, except surprising for a Tuesday night. Service throughout the meal was a little slow, but the servers were very nice.
Meal started with a delightful amuse bouche from the chef - homemade pigs in the blanket, with saurkraut and mustard, in a flaky shell. It was incredibly delicious - melted in your mouth with a perfect balance of richness and bite. We both agreed that a meal could be made from that alone.
Next was the complimentary garlic bread - a heavily buttered and herbed crispy loaf that we agreed we "had" to finish. It was crispy, garlicy, and delicious. It could have been a tiny bit less buttered, but maybe that's the glory of it? Not that I could stop eating it or anything!
We shared the raw yellowfin appetizer - a beautiful plate of pink, green, and orange that had a wonderful mixture of citrus, creamy miso paste, and a kick from tiny fried onions. A lovely light dish that tasted "interesting" at first, but left me wanting more (and the portions were not big, but big enough overall).
I got the duck, which was gorgeously seared, with a thick, glazed skin. It was sitting on a bed of collard greens and little bacon cubes, and under a gloriously seared piece of fois gras. It was rich and delightful, as expected in a duck breast. No big surprises, but downright tasty and wonderfully rich without being overpowering. The fois gras was incredible. I could have made a meal of it, no problem - it was stunning, melted in one's mouth with a mindblowingly-rich flavor. The chop was lovely - managed to be light and juicy - and the bites with the breadcrumbs were the best.
We got a side of the mashed potatoes (a bit small for $10!) which were lovely, smooth, and lightly garlicy.
For dessert we shared the special - dark chocolate torte with a hazlenut gnosh. The torte missed a little bit b/c it had a wafer layer in it, which gave it an uncomfortably chewy quality. The gnosh, however, was all I needed. A massive punch of chocolate, it was delightfully grainy with what I'm guessing was undissolved sugar. Too sweet for the SO, I found it insanely good. Matched my delight with the fois gras.
We opted out of a bottle of wine, and I went for a glass - the pino grigio, which turned out to be just heavy/sweet enough to match well with both the tuna and the duck. I was very happy with it.
Overall, definitely what I hoped for and expected in a seasonal restaurant - fantastic fresh ingredients w/o being at all nouveau. The atmosphere was bright and felt farmy in an upscale way, which was very nice. A wonderful birthday pick - I give it an A.