My SO, after a great deal of reading on this board--I think he was afraid to post b/c I read this so much-- took me to Grace Fri. night for my b-day. We went twice within a month when it first opened and it was fabulous, but we never made it back. I was delighted by his choice.
First, we had a great table close to the front of the restaurant (by the window). I was worried we'd be in the back, but I guess we got lucky.
We also were fortunate by the server we had. For me, service can definitely make or break the experience, and here it made it: Angela took fantastic care of us. She was attentive w/o making her presence felt (i.e., she was always seemed to appear out of nowhere when we needed something but was never lingering), and had such a nice way of responding to your every need. A neighboring table seemed to be a pretty difficult bunch but she even charmed the pants off of them by the end.
We started off w/ 1/2 dozen oysters, and split a glass of champagne (Angela offered to put it in two glasses, which was a plus). The kumamoto were probably the best I've had, though the giant Long Island oysters were not too shabby either.
We then had a very interesting white wine recommended as a "Feature Wine." A Sauvignon Blanc from the northern tip of Italy that tasted nothing like any Sauvignon Blanc I'd had before - Movia, I think was the name. For $48, it was complex and as promised, went very well with our food.
I started with the "two soups" - Thai Lobster, which was phenomenal, and Butternut Squash. The latter was good, but overshadowed by the Thai Lobster. But even better than the soups was the special my SO ordered- a tuna tartare - stunning presentation -- with hot mustard, seaweed salad, and some other things I cannot recall. It has become hard of late to make tuna tartare interesting to me, but it sounded appealing and it lived up to the menu's description. Yummm.
We ended with the black bass and scallops - both specials. I thought the black bass was perfectly cooked and light yet flavorful. The scallops themselves didn't blow me away but they were definitely good and you got 5 or 6, which is a generous portion. However, the scallops -at least for me - were upstaged by the oyster mushrooms that covered the dish. They were to die for. The risotto was also delicious.
Unfortunately, given I know Grace has wonderful desserts, I had no room for anything except a great cappucino. Next time!
The bill was $184. Given the extra course (around $14 for the oysters + $10 for the champagne), I didn't think that was bad at all for a special occasion.