Well folks, I finally made it to Hawthorne Lane for the deal of the century dining experience. They offered two choices for every course. I had a smoked salmon appetiser, roast chicken for the main dish and finished with mascarpone brulee. My girlfriend had the beet carpaccio, roast salmon, and cholocate cake, of course.
The smoked salmon came with a few slices artfully arranged on the plate and dressed with a very subtle aioli and a few grains of salmon roe, a successful if unusual pairing. In addition, there were three spring-roll sort of things with salmon slices wrapped in a rather interesting crepe made out for some root I'd never heard of. I am sure that the inspiration came from blini, and it worked. The accompaniement was a bitter green resembling watercress, dressed with a scrumptious vinaigrette. It was delicious. Even my girlfriend who dislikes lox of any kind enjoyed it. The beet carpaccio was composed of red and golden beet slices with a very light dressing that enchanced but did not at all obscure the beet flavor. Yummy.
The roast chicken was not at all what I was expecting. I got a whole leg and a whole breast with wing attached. It was prepared almost like a confit, with the meat a little on the dry side, and the skin looking brown but remaining very soft. The dark meat was perfect, but the breast was a little dry for me, though still tasty. I didn't get to try the salmon, it disappeared before I could get my fork in. The verdict was--perfection.
The mascarpone brulee was a mold of almost frozen cheese with peach and pineapple bits inside, lightly caramelized on top. Very creative, absolutely delicious, the kind of thing that puts Hawthorne at the top of the food heap. The cholocate cake was unusual as well. It came in a ramekin and was more of a cross of cake, mousse, and pot-de-creme. Subtle, not too chocolatey (I hate those death by chocolate things I have been seeing far too often), soft-textured, and delicious.
To accompany the dinner we selected the only reasonably-priced champaigne they had, the Chandon Brut. Unusual, I know, but but it went well with the selection.
It is too bad the special is almost over, but on the good-news side, we could have assembled much the same dinner from the menu for much the same price.