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The Dining Room at The Ritz

Wendy Lai | Jun 19, 2006 05:59 PM

Finally, we made it. It's not our first brush with Siegal, We've tasted his food at Charles Nob Hill, Masa's and now here.

All four of us opted for the chef's tasting menu at $119 a person. Two sets of different items were brought out for each course, so our table received 18 dishes, plus two amuse bouchue per person.

Two of us ordered the wine pairing at $76 a person.

Two cocktails were $10 and $14 respectively each.

That's the nitty gritty money stuff. Now the food stuff!

The amuse bouche and all the cold preparation up to the seafood preparation were exceptional. I especially enjoyed a sea urchin pana cotta served with just a drizzle of vanilla infused olive oil. The complexity of the savory and briny pana cotta and the slight sweet and heady aroma of vanilla was a great combination. Another highlight for me was the Dungness crab leg wrapped with ebi shrimp sashimi served with freshly grated wasabi, grated tableside. Again, the combination of sweet and savory and this time the pungent wasabi was heaven on my tongue.

The losers of the dishes were the cold foie gras preparation, and the lobster tailed served with braised hot and sweet pork belly. The foie gras pate was pretty bland, I think I'm used to some sort of brandy or other flavoring in the pate. This pate was just salty and fatty, really disappointing. The lobster and the pork belly dish was a complete mismatched. The strong flavor of the pork belly really drowned out the delicate lobster. And the lobster itself was overcooked to the point of chewy and hard to cut with our knife.

By the time the game and meat course arrived, we were busting at the seams. The portions for the game and meat were way too large. The flavoring profile of both of them really fell short of our expectation. Except for the pepper-crusted duck with pickled cranberries, that one was great. The poussin, filet, and the lamb were just so so. By the time we came to those courses, we've lost our ability to discern subtle nuances I think; we were way too full.

The dessert courses were too small! Go figure. We really enjoyed the pallet cleanser in the lychee sorbet, which was a tiny tiny scoop, unfortunately. And for dessert we got cinnamon pana cotta with carrot ginger sorbet and something else I forgot (not very memorable I guess).

The petit fours were fabulous, a big selection of 12 or 14 items, each a tiny jewel.

Overall, we were satisfied with The Dining Room. The service was fantastic, not obtrusive but friendly and helpful. The food was good, up to a point, albeit way too much.

However, I think this will probably be our last time visiting a Siegal establishment. With so many great restaurants in the city, we've already tried his food at three separate restaurants, and arrived at the same conclusion, good, but nothing out of this world. Ron Siegal came out to greet us towards the end. I think he was slightly put off that we didn't gush over him. I felt bad that we didn't or couldn't gush...it wouldn't have been genuine.

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