After dinner was called on account of snow last week, we finally made it to David Drake for a late birthday celebration.
We found the place charming (once we found the place) with its small rooms and cozy atmosphere and the staff was professional and attentive.
We wanted to sample different things so we did not have the tasting menu. For starters we had the snail stuffed quail (hard not to love food that rhymes), the risotto and the crab. Three very different items and not a loser in the bunch, although at our table the risotto was the clear favorite.
For mains we shared the skate, steak, and the duo of pork. I must admit to being a "pork pig" as I much prefered mine over the other two. I found the steak ordinary and the style of potato too limp and mild for the meat - certainly not the leek and potato tart as advertised ( shame, as that sounds good). I guess I prefer frites in that plate more in the Balthazar style anyway. The skate was better, but also not outstanding.
The pork though was almost perfect. The tenderloin pieces were de-silverskinned and then cooked just right. Maybe 40 years ago you had to burn pork to avoid disease, but today you can serve it still juicy. The piece of braised shoulder fell apart at the touch of my fork. Although the sides were also not what was promised, the braised leek was very good as was the pureed root vegetable - although I was looking forward to the gnocchi :o(
We shared one cheese plate and found it very interesting and well presented with bread and honey, but we enjoyed both desserts we had more. The chocolate coulant was as good as a molten cake gets. I could just live on that and the pork. The chocolate peanut tart was also very good, but I'd have prefered the glace ( i was thinking french ice cream ) instead of whatever that foam was on top of the tart.
Looking back on this, I find myself wondering if I was too critical and harsh. We did enjoy ourselves and the overall quality was very good. And as an amatuer chef I understand the desire to constantly fiddle with things and try to improve them. Tell you what Mr. Drake, mail me some gnocchi and we'll call it even :o)