Three of us went to Hawthorne Lane last night for one of our DAT dinners. All in all a good experience.
The choices were:
Appetizer - Warm Treviso salad with mushrooms OR Parsnip and scallop cream soup
Main - Free-range chicken with roasted artichokes, lemon risotto, and sundried tomato tapenade OR Atlantic salmon with lentils and blood orange butter
Dessert - Dulce de leche profiteroles with rum caramel sauce OR Chocolate mousse layer cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream
Between the three of us we had everything except the chicken (why can I never bring myself to order chicken in a "fancy" restaurant?). The warm Treviso salad didn't strike me as particularly exciting, but Abby, who ordered it, seemed to enjoy it immensely. The parsnip & scallop cream soup, with one big grilled scallop and a few parsnip chips thrown in, was delicious. Not heavy at all, and not bitter as parsnip sometimes is. I cleaned my bowl!
The entree choices I found disappointing, but I guess they have to make their money somehow. It seemed like the chicken or fish options at a wedding, somehow. Pretty boring. Not one of us was thrilled with the salmon (Atlantic! how could we be?!). I make salmon and lentils myself and it turns out better. The dish came with some blood orange butter and a few slices of blood orange - about the most interesting part of the whole plate. I don't think any of us finished the salmon. The lentils (Puy - the little ones) were good, but Sacha felt they were too firm, not cooked enough. And I felt they lacked flavor - could have used a shallot or something in there.
We should have all gone for the profiteroles, which were very tasty, but I tried to branch out a bit and chose the mousse cake, which was so-so. The mint chocolate chip ice cream (so light, so redolent of real mint!) brought back memories of expense account lunches (someone else's) at Hawthorne Lane years ago. But really that was the only thing (besides the incredible bread basket, which includes tiny yummy biscuits) that evoked those lunches. I'm not sure if it's gone downhill, my tastebuds have gone uphill, or if DAT is a bad way to judge a place. I think I'll go back for a "normal" dinner and see if I can be proven wrong...
The waitstaff was really nice and friendly, and we didn't feel rushed at all, even though we were probably spending less than other customers there.