I confess that my inner skeptic heretofore has prevented me from participating in Dine About Town. My fear was that it was merely a restaurant's means of moving an oversupply of frozen squid or taking advantage of a real good deal on lamb kidney. (Nothing wrong with either of those foodstuffs, but you get the idea.) But when a fellow Chowhound suggested giving the DAT a try at Scott Howard (previously given high marks on this board), I succumbed. I knew Howard's cooking from Fork in San Anselmo and had been meaning to try his big city place, so DAT skepticism or no, I agreed.
Ann and I met SusanC and hubby at a crowded Friday evening bar scene. Oysters at the bar were $1 each, specialty drinks $5 and well drinks $2 and the bar was packed with very attractive, young, single (apparently) Asian women. I had expected that Scott Howard would be home to serious dining but not such an active scene. Oh to be 40 years younger. We were escorted to our table promptly, where it was still noisy but where talking was at least possible. The DAT choices, three courses for $31.95--which is how we used to say $32 before whole numbers went out of style--were selected from lists of three items each. Again, I was surprised. I had to ponder even this short list before I could finalize a choice. My DAT fears were fading.
Between four of us we chose two apps, a mache-frisee salad and carrot broth. Two of our number ordered lamb, one scallops, and I ordered pork shoulder. Two of us chose the warm chocolate cake for dessert and two selected panna cotta. I was really pleased with my meal. The carrot broth was excellent, a sweet carroty taste with nutty undertones and a healthy dollop of chervil sabayon. The pork shoulder had a sauce that was somewhat sweet, which usually puts me off, but this sweetness was just a pleasant high edge to a meaty stock-rich sauce. The panna cotta was the best I have had and a crumble of my old fave maple sugar on top did not hurt either. If any fellow diners want to comment on their choices, please do so but I finish with a question...
Are other restaurants participating in DAT as likely to show off their kitchen's best as was Scott Howard, or is there still I chance I could find a choice of last year's squid or this weeks bargain offal?
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