Four of us dined at Myth Friday night and shared a really happy dining experience. Recent positive posts here had me looking forward to the evening but I still was surprised at how good it was.
We each had appetizers, then one of Myth's half-plates, a main course and dessert. With some sharing and sampling, I got to try several dishes and a particular sense of taste, a fondness for boldness and combinations of flavors, became clear. It was good to sense cooking skills being directed by a chef's particular sensibilty. Two of us ordered lamb chops, for instance, that came perfectly rare with a crust of lavender on the chops and in the accompanying fregola. I loved it, my wife found the lavender to be too much, but we both appreciated the vision behind the dish. I tasted a companion's lobster gaspacho, and here the flavors were subdued although clearly gaspacho, as necessary to avoid overwhealming lobster. My half plate was the highly-touted garganelli with foie gras cream and mushroooms. I had to order it when our server informed us that instead of the miatake mushrooms listed on the menu, tonight's version would feature wild hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, long a favorite. It was rich as expected with foie gras and cream, but with a wonderful earthiness from the mushroooms; a marvelous combination of flavors and textures. Our desserts were less perfect, a peach panna cotta that needed more peachiness for instance, but had a nice lemon verbena touch. Then we were comped a mint ice cream that the pastry cook had been experimenting with that was a shockingly powerful hit of mint. I thought it might be good as a small component of another dessert like a warm chocolate cake, but it was very pleasing to feel part of a working project by a creative mind.
This feeling is what left Myth with me and got me thinking about what elements fuse to make a really good restaurant work. Eating is the first component, naturally, but it is beyond merely good food. Creative dedication to highlighting flavors was evident here, even daring some risk. Service? Yes, and our Myth experience was a lesson in this too: I thought we were so well-cared for that service came just up to but did not cross the threshold of being overly attentive. Importantly, the wine steward and our server both seemed really interested in what they were offering and pleased to be sharing it with us. The owner who stopped by also seemed as pleased with what he was presenting as his staff.
Myth is a beautiful space, both fun to be in and comfortable. It is a restaurant which at this moment seems to be putting together all the components to make a whole dining experience that is greater than the sum of the parts.