Went to Grace last night. Ordered a bottle of sparkling, and then requested the Chef's tasting ($90) and wine pairing for me. Our server took our menus, walked off, and then not much happened after that. I was a little puzzled "Ummm...usually they ask for likes/dislikes/allergies...odd." We were left sitting for longer than we should have without any interaction with anyone regarding what was coming. I figured, "Well, screw it, I'm sure it'll be good." Also, bread took way too long to show up, but it was good when it did. After probably 10 minutes the wine steward showed up to pour the first glass, a vinho verde that was quite good, to accompany the garlic soup with seared prawn that came. There was some sort of herb oil drizzled around the soup, which was pretty good. Good garlic flavor, good consistency, seasoning right on. The prawn was very tasty, if a little overcooked. What I should mention now is that it slowly occured to me as the courses arrived that we were not getting the chef's tasting, but rather the $70 5-course prix fixe. I had inquired earlier whether Chef Fraser was in and he was not (just had a baby this week) As the courses rolled in so did the people, and by the time 3rd course came we were sort of packed in on both sides. It's not what I had in mind for our date but we were still comfortable and happy with the night, here's the rest of the courses:
2-seared scallop with mushroom risotto and red wine reduction. The scallop was *almost* perfectly cooked, just slightly overcooked. The risotto was perfect consistency and seasoning, but a little plain. I make mushroom risotto every goddamn day at work so I'm a little jaded, no matter how good it is. The red wine reduction was a nice accent, but here's the thing: They paired a chardonnay with this course. The oak was great in the chard but wasn't the greatest with a scallop and certainly a red wine reduction. Weird pairing.
3-black bass with sardine, artichokes and steelhead caviar. This was my winner of the night. Everything cooked, seasoned, paired perfectly (except the wine, bah!) Little tourneed potatoes around the plate, peas, perfectly cooked baby artichokes, fantastic. I normally hate salmon roe but this stuff was fabulous, not overly salty, and I think it was smoked, which added a deep, warm element to the dish. Black bass just rocks, period, and this was perfectly cooked, moist interior, crispy skin, well executed. This was paired with some rare blend the steward was pretty excited about, it was a Riesling with a grape that sounded like Grenache. Rinatch? Something like that, I forget. Anyway it was served ice cold and was incredibly crisp, far too contrasting from such a comforting and warm dish, which had no overwhelmingly strong flavors or richness to contrast or warrant such a cold, crisp wine.
4-this was my least favorite of the night, roasted quail stuffed with vegetables, with escarole and peruvian purple potatos. I'm not a *huge* fan of quail, it dries very easily and ours was slightly dry. Good flavor. Also, the dominating flavors of the stuffing were very standard. Thyme, mirepoix, red wine. Which is all very fine and it's a taste that will be around forever, but I wanted something a little more interesting for a main course, not classic french workhorse flavors. The wine pairing for this one was right on, it was 100% of ...shoot, can't remember the grape, it was french, ending in "-oise". Brunoise hehe that's it. It was similar to Grenache. Warm, spicy, soft tannins, very nice.
DESSERT ROCKED! Warm Blinis with Ginger ice cream, candied pecans, creme fraiche, and meyer lemon curd. EXCELLENT. I'm coming here for dessert way more often. I was poured a shot of homemade ginger vodka. Good stuff.
Total after tip was around 240 I think, we were given a little box of "morning after" pastries that we just finished, they were quite good. Service was decent, certainly polite and accommodating, they were busy however and it showed. The space was nice but got a little packed in. An extra bottle of sparkling was opened to us without my permission when I was in the bathroom. Would have been nice in the very beginning for them to announce, "The chef is not in right now, hence we can only offer the 5 course prix fixe for $70" instead of leaving us to figure it out for ourselves.
Had a great night despite any little gripes or observations.
Would go back.