needless to say, I'm still enjoying the fruits of scouring this board of late--so a couple quick notes on two recent outings. First, went to Pacific Garden for dim sum on Sunday on a brutally cold day for the festive happenings. Luckily, a nice warm congee with beef and plenty of fantastic dim sum warmed me right up. While i did miss the steam table and some of the broader offerings that the other places offer, there was sure plenty here to enjoy--especially the sesame coated shrimp rolls, which were really spectacular. all of the dumplings were quite good, and i loved the attention to detail (the roe on top is a deliciously delicate addition). Getting the food straight out of the kitchen is really nice too--except when you're a fool like me and you jam the first shrimp and chive dumpling in your mouth only to find that it's super hot and your tongue gets torched right off the bat. oops...but now i know better. Nice little room here though, and it was pretty uncrowded even on Sunday morning with all the drumming and firecrackers and dragons outside. I'll definitely go back here--the only drawback was that they weren't making the rice "fajitas" in xo sauce for some unknown reason.
Monday was the gf's birthday, so we had been planning on going to Evoo for a while--and then I saw Limster's 10 best bargain list say that there was a seven course tasting menu here for 50$. Sold! The SO doesn't eat much beef or pork, so she stuck to ordering an arugula salad (which actually had some bacon in it that she scarfed down--we'll have her eating pork yet) and a striped bass filet that she said was cooked perfectly. I went right for the chef's taster's choice, and for some reason ended up getting 8 courses for my half a yard:
--two cornmeal oysters on a sauce of goat cheese and an apple-bacon salsa (fabulous, perfect thin crust on meaty bivalves)
--a country pate topped with a restaurant made rosemary infused grape jelly, some whole grain mustard, crunchy pickles and crusty bread (amazing!)
--smoked rabbit confit with frisee, port soaked cherries, vermont cheddar, vinagrette of rosemary and mustard (probably my favorite item--the shreds of rabbit with the fresh greens and tangy cheese and sweetness of the cherries was just perfect)
--lamb's head soup (this was good but not great--the lamb was tasty and the seemingly red wine based broth had a nice body but there was an almost overpowering citrusy flavor that seemed to dominate a bit too much. the waiter also paused after he set the dish down and said it was "lamb's head soup" as if i might turn green or something, but he seemed reassured as i dove right into it!)
--small slice of cod sandwiched between a pair of fried mussels and a bottom layer of shrimp and potatoes with an amazingly well balanced broth of tomatoes and saffrong (the fish was nice and was cooked well, though not the tastiest piece of fish I ever ate)
--a very rare chunk from a lamb rack that had been marinated with rosemary and mustard and was served with a tasty jus and a side of sheep's milk feta, fennel, parsley and tomatoes (wonderful, the meat was practically still walking--the way I like it--and the sauce was just incredible)
--armagnac soaked prunes paired with a Great Hill blue cheese (I think Great Hill is the place in Massachusetts, but regardless of where it is I loved this cheese course. I am a complete sap for good cheese, and towards the end of a meal a course like this to me comes from the There's nothing Better Department. Perfect complement of low level boozy sweetness with the sharpness of the blue. Wow.)
--Lemon pudding cake with whipped cream and honeyed strawberries. (nice finish, not overly sweet, served in a glass with fresh tasting creamy topping)
all in all, a great selection of dishes served at a leisurely pace in a nice room for a really nice price. for the most part I don't frequent this kind of restaurant but a few times a year--but the bargain price for this deal has me planning a return spring visit when the menu changes. I very much enjoyed it.