Had great meals (esp b81) at these 3 pricey & not-necessarily-chowhound-fave hotspots.
Bolo has the same kinda vaguely uncool, goofball atmo as Mesa Grill, but it rocked. GREAT not-to-sweet brandied sangria. not as 'spanish' as you might think (mostly a lot of piquillo peppers and salt), which may or may not be a good thing...apps: flatbread w/grilled vegetables and goat cheese, surprsingly good for a boring idea. fantastic clams in a serrano ham-loaded broth. tuna tartare on a great chick-pea polenta cake, but the capers studded throughout were overwhelming and ruined what would have been a perfectly nice tartare., i had a killer octopus salad w/stewed sweet onions in a sage-lemon vinaigrette. the onion was overdressed with something which didn't taste of sage OR lemon, but MAN, the octopus was perfect--meaty, tender, not overly fatty or gristly. a seared sea scallop salad was good, the bolo salad (basically greens w/cabrales & chorizo), well, you can cabrales & chorizo a dishtowel and I'll eat it. mains were good, venison in a blackberry-port sauce, stuffed pork loin with a nice walnut romesco that cut the sweetness of the stuffing, but mains-wise it was all about the snapper in an incredible crust of spanish spices. mmm.
butterfield 81, well, sure people like it but I'm a snob and assume anything in that neighborhood sucks. but - great room, dark, clubby, booths, etc...correct wine glasses, nice people, and really great food. this pork appetizer was mindblowing, it was slices of fatty pork on lentils, forget what else was going on or how it was prepared (my head was spinning), but it is truly an app to travel for. as was the crab & avocado salad, not really a salad (so very shareable) but a round cake of avocado topped with tons of fresh crab, in a light velvety dressing with an elusive flavor that's still killing me for not being able to place. mussels in a leek fondue were perfect, and a beet salad with goat cheese was less happening. my venison was in a black peppercorn sauce (hey! venison without a fruit sauce!!) with awesome smashed (can't they just say mashed for chrissakes) WHITE sweet potatoes. the rack of lamb with braised lamb was as good as it sounds (lamb with...more lamb), intense sea scallops (they should - maybe they will if you ask - make the scallops an app & the pork an entree), nice black bass special, everything flawlessly cooked, arrived hot, no complaints.
lunch at felidia - no more $19.99 lunch, the 3-course prix fixe is a hefty $29.50, but mmm. about 6 selections per course, which is nice, though the regular lunch menu looks better (and is astronomical; sorry for dwelling, but hugely expensive italian usually bums me out). i had fresh tagliatelle tossed table side with a parmesan sbayon (OK, so it's an alfredo, but terrific, with a real sabayony texture to the sauce), and mom's caesar had a bunch of plump meaty FRESH marinated anchovies...my spring chicken was a spring chicken indeed, almost like quail, called 'scarpariello" but really just a light rosemary-vinegar sauce, on roasted potatoes, a little dry, but hey. the gnocchi was terrific, huge amounts of veal and wild mushrooms, and the perfect texture - totally light and melting, but not airy--almost creamy. a good, but small-portioned zabaione for dessert, and some crappy sorbets. incredible service, I love those men. i wouldn't go back on my own dime, though.
and a nonsequitur three cheers for the uni at sushi yasuda!
eating well these days,