Holiday dinners for work brought me out for some good eats two nights in a row and one the company ticket. Nice!
First night went to Hamersley's, where I have been going off and on (roughly annually) since they opened. Still a lovely space. The food; I had the stuffed quail app which was nice, on a demi glace reduction and a raft of toast. Sampled the staple confit which was also great as always. For main course, lobster stuffed with bread crumbs and scallops, all on a slightly spicy lemon-butter sauce. It was quite good. Something was wrong with the whole scene though. The waiter (whose name I never found out)was simply ok, didn't show up much, didn't seem to know the wine list at all, kept the glasses full but just didn't elevate the experience at all, probably the opposite. I was kind of disappointed, and need to rethink going there in the future as the magic was just not there (and if I were spending my own money at that level I'd expect it).
Mistral. What can I say? I was only there once before, about four years ago, and that was memorable. Last night, went with a group of five, and was immediately greeted by our "waitress" (I hate to call her that because she seemed so much more)Christin. The food was grea; mac and cheese w/truffles, oh my! Foie gras and confit with brioche, great. Snails, just for the heck of it, and they were good just like they should be. Scallop special, well, a bit of a dud as it was simply a dish full of scallops in a light buttery sauce (they were nice and sweet and fresh, but the dish needed something more). Tuna tartar, that was fantastic! The tuna so fresh and tasty, and the ponzu sauce absolutely perfect. Would go just to eat that again. Main courses, I had dover sole, which was perfectly cooked too, and so delicious. It sat on a bed of spinach/onions (that bed was a bit too big, my only complaint, though maybe that was for presentation -- the sole itself was a huge portion!). Sampled a bit of the rack of lamb too, and though my friend who had it can't eat rare meat so had that cooked well (so sad!), it was incredibly tender and tasty. I asked for cheese for dessert as I don't usually do sweets, and though it wasn't on the menu they made up a cheese plate with some St. Andre, some walnuts, raspberries. Of course by then I was really too full to properly enjoy, but what the heck. Had some Muga Rioja which was a great wine.
Mistral just was such a superior experience I actually felt bad about Hamersley's. The Mistral space is beautiful, the food fantastic, and the service was so superior to what I had the night before that the contrast will remain notable in my mind.