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Restaurants & Bars 1

Ortolan

sunsetlocal | Mar 26, 2005 01:43 PM

Hard to decide what I think about this place.
The wine list is very fairly priced and there are a lots of options under $75 which is an
Unfortunate rarity in most upscale restaurants. The Skewis Pinto that a previous reviewer
mentioned was quite good and I think $56. Asked the Sommelier about the pricing and he said
the philosophy was to keep the prices reasonable. More and more customers are bringing in
their own wine and paying corkage, so they might as well not mark-up the wine and have the
customer buy off the list. Makes sense to me.
The owners and managers are around your table continuously. Service in general while was
superb.
The bread tray has 5 options, with the walnut bread in particular being excellent.
Appetizers seem to be a good deal, entrees seem to be high in price. Hard to tell why
previous reviewers were freaking out that they are not in separate sections. The appetizers
cost in the teens and the entrees are in the high 20's to 30's.
The olives oils in the tubes with your bread are cute, but the flavors, in particular the
lobster are so subtle that it's kind of useless. Nice butter plate with separate
Maldon (maybe) salt and crushed pepper.
The multiple flavor soups they serve as an amuse with the straws were fantastic.
Langoustines were listed as a signature dish. Don't get this one, kind of a skinny fried
shrimp deal. Left me cold.
On the other hand the crayfish with the veal meatballs was a very interesting mélange of
flavors and textures. The meatballs have a firm exterior with very soft center. A bunch of
flavors mixed on a plate ala Table 8 or Meson G style the worked well for us.
John Dory on a hot plate was a very classic French dish. Simple and perfectly executed if
you want a light clean entree.
Usually don't get squab in a restaurant. Too dainty for me. This dish on the other hand had
excellent flavors and a very substantial feel. It is a little awkward to try and cut the
squab on top of the macaroni, but the dish worked. Comes on two small plates, which seem to
be a theme here. The langoustines came that way also. Come to think of it, while the
langoustines were not a hit, the 2 tubes of minestrone that come with them are borderline
transcendent. Just the langoustines themselves were so-so.
The three item cheese plate is a screaming deal at $16. Three small plates with the cheeses,
a side trade with nuts, fruits, honey, cherry preserves, and new round of clean plates, the
bread tray again. Add a glass of wine from the wine by the glass menu; really makes the meal.
The "cheesecake" is really a napoleon. While you really have to break it up to eat in small
sections, the flavors and textures were great, particularly the micro fine candied lemon
zest.
Between the cheese and the dessert two very small hand made cones with a passion fruit
sorbet appeared as a palate cleanser. This a and the little macaroons at the end were
excellent.
All the little food things at this place are cool. Next time getting some wine, all appetizers,
cheese plate and a dessert and this place is a deal.
Only reason I'm still not sure what I think overall is that the layout of the place is a
little strange. Having that huge table seating 20 or so right in front, totally empty, at
9:30 on Friday night is not a good thing. Sort of the same deal as the patio at Le Dome.
You want to get the feel that a place is jumping. They need to re-think the desig

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