We hadn't been there since last summer, when we got (and greatly enjoyed) the tasting menu. We wanted to go again, though, so we went for our anniversary, ordering the various "snacks."
Our first dish was a deconstructed boullabaise, which was turned into a gelee (it's on the menu online as of today, 06/28/2013). It was the kind of thing we wouldn't have expected to work, but it was fantastic. The flavors melded together, and the textures set each other off perfectly.
Then we got a duck crostini (not on the online menu). This was also great- the duck was fantastic, and the flavors again worked really well. We were debating between two different duck dishes, but went with this one because it seemed more savory, and one of our other dishes was going to be on the sweet side. We were glad we did.
The next dish we got was billed as a sautee of chanterelles (online menu). I'm a bit of a mushroom fanatic, so I was really excited for this. The chanterelles were great when you had them, and added a definite flavor to the dish, though I'd say the body was made up of other vegetables. We need to give a shout out to the garlic scape popcorn, which was ingenious. And the egg yolk added a delicious bit of creaminess.
We also got the fries. They were good fries, but this was the first dish we received that I don't think I'd order again. Looking back, I'm not sure what I expected to be different, but I was hoping for something that really knocked my socks off. That was the case with the fries at Basil, but they had the advantage of parmesan. The ones here definitely need something extra.
We also got the beef cheek pizza, which we had seen other people getting last summer. This too was good...but not really exceptional. Nicely cooked crust, good sauce, but the flavors on the first three dishes really meshed well, and on this one and the fries, that wasn't necessarily the case.
As our "snack" dish, we got the cornish hen on a waffle. That was a great dish to finish off with- the sweet and savory worked well together, and the crispy and soft textures again worked really well.
They were out of the sangria by the time we got there, but my wife had a glass of the rioja and I had a bottle of the Innis and Gunn. I was reminded that one thing Pardes features is a great beer list, with a lot of unusual flavors and concepts.
We finished off with dessert. My wife got the smores, which she struggled mightily to eat (no reflection on the food; she was just full). The marshmellow, in particular, was a favorite of hers. My dish was a chocolate mousse with an absinthe gelee. Wonderfully rich mousse and the gelee was just strong enough in flavor to form a good contrast, with the texture somehow lightening the mousse.
Service was fine, except that they gave the smores to another table by mistake and had to make another one.
On the whole, we were very happy with our trip down to Pardes. There were a couple of dishes we wouldn't get again, which were good, rather than great. Overall, though, the food was good, and the price was fine (about $180 including tax and tip).
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