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ms_bonne | Sep 19, 2004 04:54 PM

My husband and I visited Feenies for the first time last night.
I ordered the cured salmon starter. This was a generous serving of cured wild spring salmon, garnished with shallots and lemon-scented creme fraiche, with a slice of toasted brioche-bread. While the toast was warm this dish was sublime. With cooler toast it was still very very good.
For my main I ordered spagettini with scallops and shrimps. On the whole, a technically very well-prepared dish. Pasta was perfectly al dente, with just the right amount of sauce, i.e. none swimming in the bowl. That said, one (albeit plump and perfectly cooked) scallop and three (very good) shrimps do not a main course make. The sauce was advertised as garnished fresh herb and chili, and I was expecting some character. A hint of basil, perhaps, or a bit of Thai chili, maybe even a whisper of parsley, but nada, nothing. A completely insipid sauce which had no connection with the shellfish atop.
My husband ordered a ravioli in barbequed duck broth starter. The broth was heavily infused with five-spice, but delicious. Again, perfecly al dente pasta, filled with duck and vegetables. Very very good.
For his main course he ordered shepherds pie, made with duck confit and topped with truffle oil-garnished mashed potatoes. A standout, accompanied by a "gravy" which was more of the five-spice broth his ravioli had been served in, but very very rich.
We each had a glass of riesling, mine from Washington State, was crisp on the nose, but flat like a chardonnay. Still a decent accompaniment to the food. His was from South Africa, and was a rich and complex and more than held its own against the shepherds pie. As it well should at $17 a glass.
We shared a dessert, fig and pear crumble, topped with a very very small scoop of star anise ice cream. This was a perfect early fall dessert, though we would each have liked a little more ice cream. My husband was very content with the star anise theme througout all his courses.
We ordered espressos with water on the side with dessert, but left most of it in the cup. It was a bitter, boring concoction, completely unworthy of the house, and of this coffee-loving city. We have some brilliant local roasters, Continental among them, and Mr. Feenie would do well to look around for a better supplier.
The room is quirkily modern, but very noisy, as in Earl's-level noise. This didn't appear to bother any of the mainly 20-something patrons, who were happily screaming at each other above the incessant din, and unimaginatively-recurring base beat of the disco music that had no doubt been carefully chosen.
Our table was propped beside a column which contained a glass-enclosed fire hose nozzle at eye-level. I didn't appreciate this bit of decor, and wonder if they need to place a table there.
Front of house service appears to be mainly provided by attractive young women. Our server was charming and appropriately attentive.
We will go back, either for a late lunch or a late dinner on a weekday, when we expect it will be a touch quieter, to try a few more of Mr. Feenie's offerings.
For three courses, with a bottle of wine, expect to pay $150+ for dinner for two.

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