So, I've never quite been able to convince myself to spend the cash on Rubicon - it's a "vendor dinner" as I like to classify them, and in the same class as Aqua.
Regardless, a friend and I took advantage of the DAT program to test the waters.
In short, they sold me. And I'll be back.
First and foremost, the food was exemplary. 2 choices for appetizer, 3 for entree and 2 for dessert.
We tried both apps: a simple green salad with smoked salmon and satsuma orange was really flavorful - I don't particularly care for salmon (yeah, yeah, I know) but this was really well done, with a wonderful smoky flavor without the fatty-fishiness i take exception to.
My leek and lemongrass soup with fresh dungeness was, in a word, perfect. On its own, the broth was fresh, lightly creamy and refreshing. With the crab, a whole other level of complexity came into the mix - really incredible. Extra points for proper serving - broth poured over the crab tableside.
Entrees were very good, but not exceptional. My boeuf bourgignonne was very much a comfort food. The cut of beef used was slightly tough, but definitely not to a fault. The jus, with carrots and pearl onions, and mint risotto were a lovely complement.
Phyllo-wrapped sea bass was, again, comfortable. A wonderful cold-weather dish - not particularly complex, but the textural differences did wonders.
Desserts were heavenly - chocolate torte (pretty much a chocolate lava cake times 10) and apple pain perdu with caramel were really, seriously exceptional. I am so stuffed and satiated that if I talk about them any more, I will keel right out of this chair.
The very best part? The service was exemplary. What I would expect from this calibur of restaurant with no skimping.
Napkins folded, Riedel's supplied IMMEDIATELY when requested, an additional scoop of the to-die-for espresso ice cream supplied at no additional charge (this after our waitress spied me scooping the last dregs from the hazelnut tuile).
As a result, between two of us, we cleared a bottle of delightful Graham's (?) Viognier (me being a Viognier junkie and all), an interesting '97 Chianti from the Veneto region, plus a glass of 1870 Blandy's Verdelho Solera with dessert.
Fortunately, neither of us was driving.
I'll be back to Rubicon.