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Restaurants & Bars 1

Postrio update (long)

Stanley Stephan | Jul 29, 200208:49 PM

I was in the new and improved Union Square area today and thought I would see if I could get in on any of those 18.50 lunches.

Farrallon was closed for lunch, so I went over to Postrio. The special was over, but since I never ate here and was appropriately dressed, I decided to try it.

While I am less thn enthusiastic about the place, I think Michael Bauer's review was a little over the top. The place is not that bad. Well it wasn't today.

The service was very good and friendly even during a busy lunch period.

Lunch started well enough with their excellent bread selection - nut, olive, bagette, savory corn muffin and cheese bread sticks. I have a weakness for interesting breads and a large variety.

I also like they have salt and pepper shakers on the the table, my own nit about upscale restaurants. The waiter said the chef didn't let his ego stand in the way. They used salt sparingly (which might have set off Bauer who is always complaining about lack of salt). When they cook they use kosher salt so that dishes are not accidentally oversalted.

I had the heirloom tomato salad with haricot vert, fresh mozzarella and garlic vinagrette (11.00). This seems to be my year to try this dish out at various places.

The mozzarrella, imported from ABC cheese in Italy, was the best fresh version I have ever had, creamy and spreadable. However, the rest of the dish fell apart. The slivered green beans were mixed with some greens and really added nothing to the dish. Nice thick slices of red and yellow tomatoes. The sweet garlic vinagrette was the real mistake, much too sweet and cloying. The classic presentation of tomatoes, that wonderful cheese and a good olive oil would have made this a memorable dish for the right reasons. Also, they forgot about the pepper shakers on the table. There was so much pepper I started coughing and needed some bread to clear my throat.

I DID break the classic rule, no upscale restaurants on a Monday when the chef is out, especially at lunch. Even worse, I ordered the salmon ...

The salmon was grilled with spinach, hujiki seaweed, candied cashews and wasabi pepper sauce (15.50). Once again, a dressing you would expect to be savory was sweet.

I could smell the fishiness of the salmon as it was served. Not a good sign. However, it tasted fine and was nicely grilled. The sauteed spinach with a few mushrooms was better suited for steak. Too assertive for the salmon. The candied pecans were just wrong.

I recently ate at Silks where a visiting chef used a dizzying amount of different ingrediants in each dish. At Silks they complimented each other. At Postrio they worked against each other.

I had a strawberry tart which was ok, but the crust was a little sweet.

To me what is too bad is that the basic ingrediants are excellent. Those were some of the nicest berries I've seen in a long time. There were even tiny white and red wild berries on the dish. If they would simplify this could be a really wonderful restaurant.

Very sophisticated room overlooking a lovely garden. The open kitchen and stairway add drama to the room. But hasn't it ever occurred to anyone that the lamps look like they were inspired by a part of a man's anatomy.

As far as the food goes, I did not feel cheated by the quality of the ingrediants. They were top rate (salmon excepted). The combinations need to be better thought out.

I'd probably go back if they have a special in the future to see if there was an improvement. But as far as paying the going rate, I'll pass for now.



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