Just got back - here's the scoop...
The Winter Menu on their website lists less than half of what they offered today. I couldn't believe the options this time around...I think even more than last RW. Good start.
My wife, father and I dined this afternoon at our usual table...which was great. None of us ordered the same, so I got to try a bunch.
I got there earlier and had a glass of the Graves, 1992 white burgundy. Very nice, but I find that the wines were too cold at first. Personal preference I suppose.
Ok, to the food:
French Lentil Flan (wife, Danna)
Sunchoke Velouté (Jambon de Paris, Celery and Marscapone) (me)
Some sort of chicken liver and pasta dish (Dad)
The sunchoke veloute was wonderful. I would order this again in a heartbeat. Unfortunately the french lentil flan was not only unappetizing-looking but somewhat flat/subtle in taste and thus I switched with Danna. I understood the concept of the flan, but the execution faltered. Not worth getting. The veloute...oh you betcha! The chicken liver and pasta dish with foie gras was gobbled down quickly by dad. He loved it.
Danna - Seared Mahi Mahi (Braised Sweet Potatoes, Mustard Greens, and Bacon Buerre Fondue)
Me - Smoked Leg and Breast of Capon (Parsley Root Purée, Chestnuts and Chicken Jus)
Dad - Fluke dish of some kind
The bacon buerre fondue was far too overpowering for the mahi mahi, which was cooked nicely enough. I tried a piece with the chicken jus in my dish, and it was lovely...oddly enough. But the bacon buerre fondue was just too much. A shame. Toned down, it probably would have been excellent.
The capon dish is just not good. I found the brocoli rabe they included in it to actually make the entire dish too bitter. A real shame. Honestly, I wasn't going to order this, so it is my fault, but I wanted to try something different for the sake of enjoying as many dishes as possible. Just not a great dish. The puree was very good and the jus that wasn't bittered (blocked) from the broccoli rabe was very nice...and as I said, went well with the mahi.
The fluke dish was the standout...and while we were on our desserts, Chef Heffernan came out to the table next to us and, in responding to a new diner's question, said that the fluke was his favorite seafood dish of the day/moment/whatever. Another thing to note...it seemed as though everyone was ordering the Mahi. I had to have seen a dozen go by.
Danna - Pumpkin Cheesecake
Me - Assortment of cookies
Dad - Key Lime Tart
Danna has an aversion, not an allergy, to nuts. So this was difficult for her as every dessert had nuts in it.
The pumpkin cheesecake really had a strong essence of the pumpkin, but wasn't adored by the wife. I happened to like it, and the accompanying vanilla ice cream...although she did specifically request the cinnamon ice cream. Pretty much the only hiccup in service. The cream that came with it was unnecessary and probably even inappropriate.
I am not a cookie guy, or actually a dessert guy, so I got the cookies so that Danna could have an "out" if the pumpkin cheesecake didn't work for her. This is a huge dessert - 6 cookies total, 2 each of the following: raspberry linzer tart square (quite good and crumbly to the bite), dense chocolate and homemade marshmallow "sandwich", and a chocalate fudge blondie type of thing. No idea what it was called (the best of the three). This was all very rich and would no doubt satisfy those who love chocolate. Too much for one person.
My father, who spends half the year on the west coast of Florida, knows his key lime desserts. This stood no chance, and I heard him mumble "this is so good" at least twice during bites.
Overall, a good RW and EMP experience, despite some flubs. I highly suggest avoiding the capon, and the lentil flan, but enjoy the rest.
Oh, we also had a bottle of the Muscadet for lunch - which was the suggested white wine pairing (apps). Worked very well with all of the dishes, actually.
Chef Heffernan came out and welcomed us back. He continues to be the friendliest chef I've come across in New York. So open, talkative, friendly and genuinely cool. If I'm not mistaken, the cut on his hand is from a surfing accident (is that what I overheard?? Don't quote me, but someone please find out). And as a surfer myself, this just adds to the coolness of the chef. I had no idea.
Lastly, they did give out $20.05 gift certificates like they did last year. Hooray!