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Noe: A mixed experience

Me | Sep 4, 2003 04:37 PM

Went to the new Robert Gatsby restaurant at the Omni last night. It was a mixed bag. The restaurant is still working out kinks with the menu, and doesn't have specials yet. They do have a 6 and 9 course tasting menu listed on the menu, as well as an 11 and 21 course feast that they merely tell you about.

My dining companion and I opted for a bunch of appetizers, one entree and a dessert. Before that we chose our wine, which we selected based on the waitresses recommendation. She did good. My $9 chardonnay was somewhat acidic, but not too much. My friend's $7.50 pinot grigio was decidely smoother (wild horse). They don't have their wines by the glass listed yet so it's a verbal list.

We were then presented with the amuse: a cracker with Gruyere cheese and some sort of drink to chase it. The chef is fond of liquids on the side. I thought the cheese was nice but it paired much better with my wine.

Then the bread came out: one was an unpronounable Italian bread, the other a rosemary bread. The rosemary was the better of the two, much softer and more pleasant tasting. It was presented with rosemary-laden olive oil, kalamata olives and green olives. Weird that there were no mini forks to spear the olives, yet oddly enough they gave us butter forks but no butter. Like I said, they're still working out some kinks.

For our appetizers, we started with the two fish selections. The first a yellowfin tuna with caviar was disappointing for me. I didn't like the flavor of the caviar or the tuna, and the bitter greens were really bitter although they were one of the sides/spices we had that didn't include cilantro. My friend really enjoyed it though. Conversely, I really enjoyed the scallops in a peppered pineapplea nd lemon rosemary sweet corn vinagerette, but she did not.

Next we had the roasted sweetbreads, which we both thought were delicious. They also brought out the signature mimosa salad, which was a mound of crunchy noodles, egg and crispy chicken. Again, it came with an orange liquid (mango frappe) that was supposed to provide sweet relief for the spicyness. I liked the spicy taste better than the sweet, which tasted like a cross between tang and orangina.

Our main course was a big disappointment. It was strips of filet over short ribs. They ribs were really stewy and the filet was not cooked to our order. It was more medium than rare. It had been described as the chef's "innovative take on comfort food," but it reminded me more of stuff my aunt made in her crock pot when I was growing up. I didn't like it as a kid and I still don't like it now--especially for $32.

We took a big chance on dessert because I had another friend who ate here previously who warned me about the tempura bananas, and I should have listened. They were really soggy. Served mostly with rasperries and one strawberry. They should stick to the strawberry, a much better pairing. My espresso was kind of watery, though I've gotten used to that. (Why is it so hard to find a good espresso?)

I have to say our server was nice and efficient, though it wasn't very busy. We got there about 8:45 and there was one couple on the patio, one guy in a suit inside dining alone and a group of three suits dining together. By the time we left we were the last diners.

Bill for 2 with 2 glasses of wine each, 4 appetizers, 1 entree and 1 dessert with tax and tip included came to $163. NOt bad, but I'm in no hurry to return.

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