This was a fun restaurant. The decor, for those of you who don't know, is simply amazing. THe whole interior looks like an undersea playground. I can't describe it, it must be viewed with the eyes. We walked in for Saturday lunch and were seated no problem. We later learned that this was slow for a lunch. I'm not very good at conveying ambiance and all that so i'm just gonna get straight to the food.
I decided to go with the lunch five course tasting for $38 dollars. My girlfriend decided to do the lunch three course for $19 and toss in the softshell crab main course. Needless to say, all the seafood was exceptionally fresh.
Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartare with blue lake beans, nicoise olives, orange, quail egg.
I'm a huge fan of fish tartares and this reminded me why. The tuna was cut chunky as opposed to the fine mince job lots of places do. I like to be able to sink my teeth into a piece of fish and chew it up. The olives were a nice touch. They were pureed and small drops were placed around the plate. I didn't much like the raw egg. The yolk was nice, but the egg white just added a gooey sliminess. The presentation was a bit sloppy. The tartare was served in the typical cylinder shape, but it wasn't as 'tight' as I've seen it at other restaurants. Great dish to begin lunch with. My girlfriend got a sweet corn soup with lobster oil and tarragon. I thought this was a bit salty on my first spoonful, but once I had a bite with kernals of corn, the sweetness of the corn tempered the salt to a certain extent. very rich soup.
Osetra caviar ontop of sweet corn ravioli, truffle jus.
A single round ravioli filled with sweet corn (i think there might've been a touch of crab in there too?) sorrounded by truffle broth with a bit of chopped truffle in it. The pasta was a little too al dente for me but maybe I'm just used to overcooked, flaccid pasta. This was my first time eating truffles. Kinda gamey. Not in a bad way tho. Interesting flavor. My girlfriend sat this course out, as she had a total of four as opposed to my five.
Seared Mediterranean Rouget with lobster mushrooms, cranberry beans, torpedo onion soubise.
The filet of rouget was the smallest fish I've ever seen. Literally, it was the size of my thumb. THe soubise was terribly salty So were the beans. I don't recollect much else about this dish. A little disappointing. My girlfriend got her Chesapeake Bay Softshell Crab with potato gnocchi, toxbox tomatoes and tarragon. Another first, softshell crabs. It was breaded in cornmeal, and fried. These things are really good. It was a nice textural contrast with the fluffy gnocchi. Can't say much more as I didn't have all that much.
Tender Shortrib of Beef with black truffle macaroni & cheese, watercress, natural jus. THe beef was really solid. It had that gelatinous tender texture I love. The red wine flavor in the beef was a little too pronounced. It could've been a bit more subtle. The mac and cheese with truffle was more like mac and cheese with the truffle broth from the aforementioned ravioli dish. Loved the beef tho. The gf got an amazing roasted local king salmon with baby roasted fennel, cranberry beans and aioli. The fish was perfectly done. Seasoned on both sides, perfect crackly skin, and the interior was a little rare just the way we like it. The aioli was nice, and I loved the baby fennel. So sweet! The accompanying liquid at the bottom of the bowl was a little salty tho. All in all, I really enjoyed this dish.
Verbena Panna Cotta with figs and almond raspberry biscotti. I was supposed to get the Plum Upside Down Cake with pecan praline anglaise, and black plum ice cream, but I told the waiter I wasn't the biggest fan of plums and he arranged it so I could order whatever dessert off the regular menu I wanted. The figs were terrific. I had never had a panna cotta either. I dunno how to describe it. Really really really creamy. I assume it's italian. Biscotti were wonderful dipped in coffee. I couldn't taste raspberry at all, but I think i noticed some fennel seed. My girlfriend got the summer berry pavlova with strawberry sorbet, mixed berries and vanilla anglaise.
The waiter we got was extremely friendly. We were the last one's in the dining room, so he chatted with us for a while, and he even brought over a copy of the restaurant cookbook for us to flip through. Just a real standout. If we ever go back, which we probably will, we're going to try to request him. Any questions?
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