Not much written here about Racine's. I had tried to get in a few times and unfortunately it was full. So tonite the freezing weather and good timing allowed me to get a table.
Racine's chef is Frederic Duca, who is from Marseille and worked in Michelin restaurants in France.
The wine list by the glass was Ok, nothing exceptional on it. Price averaged between $13 - $17. I wanted a full bodied red, nothing on the list fit the bill, so they were nice enough to offer something not on the menu. It was very good.
We decided to get the tasting menu. $75 for 2 apps 2 mains and dessert.
It was a challenge to decide whether to go with tasting menu or ala carte. They had as a special Pea soup with blood sausage. That was very tempting. In any case, they surprised with a cup of hot butternut squash soup as an amuse. This was excellent.
They told us ( party of 2) that we both had to get the tasting menu, but we could get different apps if we wished. Sadly, the dishes in the tasting menu were the same as the ala carte menu. The tasting menu I guess saves you about $10.
The first app was smoked steelhead trout with lemon zest, grapefruit marmalade, kohlrabi and trout roe. The fish was firm and tasty and nicely smoked.
Next was sautéed escargots with watercress, garlic chantilly cream, and potato saffron cromesqui. I had to look up what cromesqui was. Look up the definition.
The cromesqui, I think were frozen because there was a big space between the outer potato crust ball and the filling. It was similar in form to the oxtail balls at Terroir. Their's does the same thing, leaving an almost hollow ball. The escargot were not the greatest either. A bit rubbery and perhaps over garlicy.
My dining companion, got the steamed egg, polenta with bacon cream. She liked the dish , I tasted it and thought it was meh. ( Note: its the first time I ever used the word "meh", but this was a good opportunity to use it.
The first main course was seared scallops. This was served with sun chokes, hazel nuts. and the menu says juniper/orange ( not sure where that was in the dish). The sun chokes were prepared a few different ways, I liked the thin crisp sun choke chips. The scallops were prepared perfectly.
The next main was chicken. It was a roasted boneless breast, with black trumpets,salsify and oxy sauce. In the center was chopped dark chicken meat with pine nuts, and shreds of parsnip ( hmmm maybe sunchoke). The breast was moist and delicious. The skin tasty but I would have preferred it to be crispy.
Then dessert, it was a coffee parfait, with candied orange, mint and warm chocolate sauce. The coffee flavor was mild , which I preferred. And although they called it parfait, I would have called it affogato.
Interestingly, or not interestingly, every main on the ala carte menu had black truffles as a supplement for $20.
The service was exceptional. The waiter was very nice, patient and always nearby and available. They didn't do what I hate, take your plates away before you are finished. They were very observant in that regard.
I will be back to Racine's, I like the place. I probably will do ala carte next time that way I can choose the mains and apps.
Photos attached, even some blurry ones.