I know that some people on this board poo-poo restaurant week, but I like it because it gives me an excuse to get out of the burbs & try some new places in the city. This year I went to Brassiere Perrier and to La Famiglia (I had never been to either place).
BP: I wasn't really blown away and this is the place I'd been looking foward to the most. First, I was irritated that when we got there they wanted to seat us in the bar area vs the regular dining room (yes, we had reservations). I think it was because I was with my sister & we both look young, as if we're both in our 20s (although I'm in my 30s). We were well-dressed, and I don't like sitting in the bar when I want the full-out tablecloth service. So we told the hostess that we didn't want to sit by the door (we should've just said that we don't want to sit in the bar), but the hostess insisted we sit by the window because it was near a heater. We tried it out & then asked to be moved to the regular dining room because it was still cold & it's in the bar.
Ok, onto the food. I had escargot for the app & they were very very yummy, although a small portion (as I expected). I then had the branzino which was delicate & flaky and sat in a shallow pool of tangy sauce, yum. And for desert I had creme brulee, but I didn't really want it. I thought their dessert selection was sort of cruddy. The choices were creme brulee or sorbet and I can't remember the last one but it was very plain, common, and dull. If you wanted a chocolate molten desert it was a $3.00 upcharge, which was sort of annoying. The portion size of the creme brulee was larger than I had thought it would be. (oh, and for anyone who cares, my sister had their soup which was basically tomato soup - nothing special, I can't remember her entree so it wasn't that great, and she an apple dessert ... oh, that was the last dessert! Like caramelized apples w/ cinnamon ice cream, again, fine, but nothing special)
Onto La Famiglia: I really liked this place & would like go back. It's formal looking inside w/ marble floors, white tablecloths & tuxedoed waiters. I'm not really a fan of Red-Sauce-Philly-Italian and I thought that would be how this place was. But it wasn't like that at all, it exceeded my expectations. For an app I had gnocchi in a marania type of sauce, very good. But my husband's app was better -- he had crabcakes. Now, I love crab, but I didn't order these because I assumed it would be the size of a silver dollar and would be mainly breaded filler. But he actually got 2 crabcakes (not huge, but larger than I thought they would be), and they had virtually no filler whatsoever. We both agreed that this was one of the best crabcakes that we've ever had.
For an entree I got seafood risottto (which, looking back on it, was not really the right combination of food to get since I had just had the gnocchi for an app). The risotto was buttery and tasty and great and the chunks of shrimp & calamari were plentiful. My husband had the chicken -- now, when he ordered chicken I had wrinkled my nose & said "CHICKEN? You came here to get chicken???" But it was really, really good. It was chicken breast topped with spinach & smothered in cheese and had a creamy pale yellow sauce around it & was served with mashed red potatos & broccoli and everything on his plate was delicious. For dessert La Famiglia served us each a trio of tastes -- a pear that had been soaking in something sweet & yummy, a chocolate creamy something or other, and then something like a cream puff. It was all very good. I thought it was a great value for $35 each and I'd now like to go back & try the regular menu.
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