Quince, on Monday night, was just pitch-perfect. The smallish room, decorated in creams and lit with an oh-so-flattering peach-amber glow, is cozy without being cramped. We received a warm yet not fawning reception; the personalized greeting on the menu was just enough recognition of our special event. On to the food:
--bread plate: tiny garlicky grissini, small focaccia buns w/olive in the center, and small rolls w/an herb black pepper topping.
--hamachi w/blood orange; tiny bites of buttery fish wrapped around similarly sized bits of blood orange, dressed with the smallest touch of oil & a few scattered leaves of mache. Light, fresh, and a very good start--the similarly textured fish & orange melted together, with just enough acidity to make your mouth water.
--nettle soup w/mushroom; simple, bright, and intense. Gorgeous emerald green color.
--raviolo w/ricotta, egg, and brown butter. Damn tasty; silky pasta, perfect browned butter, runny egg tucked into the center of the raviolo. Possibly the best pasta dish I've ever eaten; somehow the simple ingredients combined into a much greater whole.
--papardelle w/squab; tiny bites of rare squab in a meaty reduction over pasta ribbons. Again, the texture of the pasta was wonderful--tender & yielding, yet still chewy--in short, all that's good about handmade pasta.
--pork three ways; sausage w/a judicious bit of fennel, pork belly, and loin. All must have been excellent, as I didn't get but a bite of the sausage & it all disappeared quickly.
--valrhona chocolate cake w/chocolate chip gelato, salted almonds, and caramel. Initially, I found the presentation a bit fussy: a small disk of cake, topped by gelato and a disk of dark chocolate--but then the waiter poured over the hot caramel sauce, melting the chocolate disk & coating the gelato....all the contrivance paid off in an ephemeral sauce that changed as it cooled.
--almond cookies & blood orange gelee with the check.
The food was great; the service was truly excellent....thanks to the 'hounds who sent me to Quince!