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Restaurants & Bars 3

Coriander Bistro - Sharon

bgut1 | Mar 10, 2008 02:36 PM

I was in the Foxboro area this past weekend and had a night to go out to dinner. Through research on this site as well as a review of their respective websites and menus, I had narrowed my choices to the following: Gracie’s in Providence, Coriander Bistro in Sharon or Troquet in Boston. Of all the menus, Troquet intrigued me the most, however due to the horrible weather, I decided to stay close to home and Coriander fit that requirement nicely.

All in all, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with Coriander. Don't get me wrong, the food was pretty solid but nothing "blew my socks off". That combined with the rather laid-back service left me somewhat dissatisfied with my choice. We were a group of three and arrived timely for our 8:30 reservation. Although it was a Saturday night, the restaurant was slightly more than half full. While, the tables were a little too close for my comfort, I felt the layout of the room and its design to be fine. Upon being seated (BTW, what is with those creaky/shaky chairs?), we were immediately met by our friendly server who gave us our menus as well as the wine list. I was surprised to find that there were no specials for the evening as well as the fact that the wine list was very small containing mostly French wines. In the mood for wine, I ordered a bottle of Riesling as well as a half bottle of Bordeaux (both being reasonably priced at about $35 each). Following the wine service, the table ordered as follows: (me) seared foie gras with granny smith apples and Duck "Two Ways", Sweet Potato Cake, Truffled Parsnips, Cherry Gastrique; (my DW) French onion soup and Bistro Steak, Roquefort Mashed Potatoes, Wild Mushrooms, Red Wine Sauce; (our guest) French onion soup and handcrafted Gnocchi.

My foie gras was prepared well however I was puzzled by the use of the apples. They weren't caramelized sufficiently to add that sweet counterpoint. The other puzzling fact was that the chef decided to keep the skin on the apples which became leathery when "seared"(?). As far as the ladies' French onion soup, the most interesting part about it was the fact that it was somewhat served "deconstructed" with a cheese covered crouton in the bowl along with a pitcher of onion soup (the onions being blitzed a bit) which was poured tableside. The soup tasted fine but again it didn't do anything for me. The ladies however appreciated the comfort from this dish having had experienced the cold and rainy weather of the past few days. As for the mains, my duck was very nice. While I can't describe exactly the two different preparations, one consisted of the intact leg (nice crispy skin) while the other was sliced breast meat with dried cherries and the aforementioned grastique. Again, while this dish was solidly prepared and very good, there was nothing unique or special about. I was expecting a little more from such a well-reviewed restaurant. Both the Gnocchi and the Bistro Steak were also good but again suffered from the same criticisms as above. The best part of the evening were the desserts. We ordered the bananas foster brioche bread pudding, the homemade peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chip cookies and chocolate hazelnut torte. Every dessert was wonderful with the Bread Pudding winning top honors. The desserts alone made the trip worthwhile.

More troubling then the food was the lack of service. Although I found our server to be friendly, the many service issues we experienced were unexpected in a restaurant of this purported caliber. For example: we were left to pour our own wine throughout the meal and we were never offered any more bread after the initial service. Total cost for the meal including wine but excluding gratuity was about $210. A few nice things to say about the restaurant: we originally had a reservation for two but they gladly agreed to accept our guest at the last minute without any wait. Further, although our guest ordered two appetizers for her meal, the Gnocchi course looked rather large for an appetizer sized portion. I also was not expecting an amuse bouche and was happy with the chicken mousse atop a small disk of puffed pastry. Again had I not been expecting more from this restaurant, I would've enjoyed the meal more.

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