I know you all have discussed L'Impero before, in fact your reviews are part of what convinced me to go there tonight with the parents. We all had the four course prix fixe and the food was divine. I started with the polenta with fricasse of mushrooms - easily the best thing I had. A salad was unimpressive, but given how rich the polenta and the mushroom raviolini that followed were, probably necessary. I'm a vegetarian so I didn't try everyone else's dishes, but they were all raving about the loin and braised belly of pork. The belly was like a thick fatty slice of bacon and if you had a dollar for every oooh that's good, you'd probably have paid for the meal! My stepfather had the celebrated goat, which he thought was wonderful, but still wished he'd ordered the pork instead.
Reviews I read elsewhere recommended the chocolate soup - an interesting staging, playing the rich chocolate against panna cotta, zabaglione, sorbetto, a financier, and a square of cake. Very good, but next time I'll pass it up and get the chocolate caramel dessert. This was an intense chocolate ganache over a smooth and cremy custard inside, with hazelnut underneath the ganache, and a crisp hazelnut cookie underneath. It was paired with a thick cream (zabaglione?), meringue cookies, and fresh blackberries. The combination of textures and flavors was a dancing sensation on the tounge. Smooth and rich but not cloying, it paired well with the french press coffee.
The service might have been a little overbearing and stiff (you know, the everpresent busboys who meticulously fold your napkin the instant you stand up) if it weren't for our charming waitress Theresa, who had excellent suggestions.
Overall, a great evening.