Were thinking of several places tonight - Rendevous, Central Kitchen, Chez Henri. CH was the closest, and I got parking on Mass Ave. right around the corner, so it boded well for us, I thought.
We got seated right away; summertime seems to help getting seats when you're a walk-in. After checking out the menu and knowing what we wanted for our mains, we asked for a red wine recommendation from our waiter, Jason. He suggested an Australian Killerman's Kilikanoon Shiraz/Grenache blend - rather berry-chocolatey on the front end, and almost peppery-plum-spicy for an end note. A bit heavier than I would have preferred, but it was still very good. I did notice the peppery notes toned down as the wine breathed a bit.
For appetizers, my friend got a spicy lobster soup with yucca, coconut and cilantro. The yucca cubes really soaked up the soup, which was definitely spicy! The lobster was par-cooked, I believe, and then the bisque-type soup poured into the bowl at the table, which finished cooking the lobster. Very good - although the soup was just a bit too spicy - it overpowered everything.
I chose a tapa-type appetizer on special - crab, avocado, purple potatoes, and lime. The potatoes were mashed, and formed around the stacked crab and avocado in a ring. Drizzles of a mild lime puree and something else slightly spicy (an "orange dot" <g>) garnished the plate. This was very good - while the potatoes were a bit bland (although a beautiful lavender-purple!), the crab and avocado were excellent, and the lime and spicy "something else" really complimented the crab and avocado.
For mains, my friend chose the Vermont Spring Lamb with green garlic, herbed goat cheese, and a sauteed vegetable mixture. While it was good, my Spiced Roast Duckling with star anise/plum glaze, spinach and sunchokes, and quinoa pilaf was better. Even she agreed. Nice crispy skin, ultra-moist duck meat, and not overly flavored with anise or plum glaze...just enough.
For dessert, she chose a Strawberry and Marshmallow Napoleon with puff pastry - almost like a strawberry shortcake using puff pastry. The marshmallow HAD to have been Fluff. <g> It was torched, so it had a slight burnt quality - just like toasted marshmallows. Very good with the beautiful sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream and puff pastry. She also got a Grand Marnier and cappuccino.
I got a peach bread pudding, with a bourbon sauce drizzled around it. This was incredibly good! I tried an Armagnac (not really knowing what it was) and didn't like it. Ah well, you live and learn. :-)
Total cost before tip was $165.
So all in all - very good service from Jason - very well paced, excellent knowledge on the wine, and a nice, comfortable place. But both of us said "It was good; just no real need to go back." It didn't have the "WOW!" factor that we've gotten from Salts or La Campania. It's definitely not on our Top 5 or 10 list. But enjoyable nonetheless. :-)