Restaurants & Bars

Dine Around at Fringale (long)

Mad Russian | Jan 17, 200201:05 PM     7

My apologies in advance for the quality of the review, it is not up to the standard I have seen on this board. Having said that...

had dinner at Fringale last night. The Dine Around order was a lark, as we were planning to go anyway. The prix fixe menu consisted of salad, poached salmon, and Gateau Basque for dessert. Two of us, myself included, were not in the mood for salmon so we ordered from the menu. I had the Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Duck Leg Confit, and Goat Cheese Souffle. My girlfriend took Crab Salad and Mussels. As you can imagine, the choice of wine with this selection was a challenge. On the waiter's recommendation we ordered a 98 Oregon Pinot, the cheapest red on the menu. I did not retain the name of the winery.

The salad was, well, salad. Salmon was good, moist, and a generous center slice. Not bad, but not inspiring either. Gateau Basque turned out to be a dry Amaretto cake with thin Creme Anglaise. Overpowering at first bite and with no taste sensation to round it out. One bite was more than enough.

The ravioli were redolent with the scent of fresh porcini, and I was really looking forward to the taste. Unfortunately, it turned out to be completely one-dimensional, the porcini overpowering everything else including the ravioli filling. I could not even tell you what was inside. Bite after bite delivered the same flavor. Even someone who loves poricini, like myself, would be bored after a few. The crab salad, again, was just crab salad. Not very interesting.

The duck was another disappointment. It was dry, had less than crispy skin, and was lacking in the essence of confit. The accompaniment was a mass of brown lentils flavoerd with duck drippings. Not bad, but not far from great.

The mussels, now, that was a revelation. Fat, juicy bivalves in an absolutely incerible sauce with onions, a bit of garlic, a hint of leek, and some sort of acid. They would have been perfect if the kitchen had made sure that each mollusk was well coated with the sauce. As it was, only the bottom layer had been and we did not discover how good the dish really was until we plowed through two thirds of it. But we did soak up the very last bit of the sauce with the excellent sour bagette provided at the start. The whole wheat bread that also was served was a bit flat.

The souffle, which again was highly anticipated, was more like a goat cheesecake, with none of the fluffy airiness you would expect. It was far too big for one person, and had no depth. Again, one bite was all I wanted.

The wine had a pleasant fruity nose and a nice peppery first taste. But it had no legs whatever and an unpleasant, acid finish. Far from going with everything as promised, it did nothing to complement any of our dishes.

Bottom line: I've had far better meals. Fringale is off my list, except perhaps if I need some mussels.


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