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Restaurants & Bars 1

Orleans (long)

howiecat | Jul 17, 2002 10:42 PM

Just got back from our first meal at Orleans - on the whole a big thumbs up despite a mixed experience.

After seating, we had to shift around a bit to avoid the annoying spotlights trained on us. Wine list was short and not that great - had the Trembach Pinot Gris by the glass, which was fine, but the Australian Shiraz (can't remember which) shared by my S.O. was served in the same tiny glass and filled to the brim, which seemed weird for a restaurant going for the upscale crowd. Bread was fabulous and had some kind of hummus thing that was savory and good. Started with the duck confit appetizer ($9-ish?), and were informed that it took 25 minutes - which was a GOOD sign!! We were not disappointed; it was meltingly perfect and had such a variety of textures and tastes. It was paired with a summer squash/chevre layered dish that was perfect in its tartness - and the whole dish had some kind of pan-reduction that was phenomenal for dipping everything in. Definitely worth the wait. Then we both had the salmon with a summer vegetable ratatouille and Yukon Gold potatoes with dilled creme fraiche ($18-ish?). All I can say is - OH MY GOD, it was so good. The salmon had a meltingly crisp crust and was tender/soft on the inside, while the ratatouille had clearly been attended to ingredient by ingredient (tomatoes were gently cooked, squash and zucchini crisp/tender, etc.). The dill creme fraiche was good but I swear I don't know how they got the potatoes so sweet - caramelized on the outside and just perfect for dipping in all the dill-y pan juices from the salmon. We were totally overwhelmed by the food and were told that the chef had been associated with Hamersley's at some point (??). It was unfortunate that the service, while friendly, was exceptionally slow (Wednesday night) and we had to reuse our silverware from the appetizer, which seems like no big deal except that the main dish was so good it needed clean silverware to totally appreciate it. We also had to wait forever for our check, which is always an annoyance if you have spent a couple of hours over a meal. Overall, our impression was one of a phenomenal talent behind the stove, and a restaurant that might not be quite up to snuff in terms of serving the crowd ready to pay for such amazing meals. It will be interesting to see how it does in Davis Square.

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