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Restaurants & Bars 4

Restaurant Week -- RM

cabrales | Jan 28, 2004 09:18 AM

I had the $30.04 dinner at RM recently, representing my first visit to the restaurant. In sum -- disappointing; average-plus seafood that is clearly below the level of the current Oceana; poor wine service; general sense of slightly amateurish aspects to the restaurant. However, not bad selection of dishes, given the Restaurant Week reduced price, and not a poor choice for RW dinners (although one has better choices for lunch).

I would definitely not pay $62 for the three-course, regular prix fixe dinner at RM.

RW Dinner Choices, with items chosen marked by "*".

Herb roasted squash soup, sheep cheese ravioli and cashew salt
Mixed lettuces
*Spice crusted yellowfin tuna, shaved radish, shallot and champagne vinaigrette*

Atlantic halibut braised in olive oil
Thyme roasted organic chicken
*Artic char, braised cabbage, fingerling potatoes and salt cured foie gras*

Key lime construction
Warm chocolate tart
*Assorted ice creams and sorbets*

There was no amuse served, although I saw an adjacent dining party that took in the non-RW menu receive some soup as an amuse. When water was delivered to me (I was drinking Billecart Salmon Rose and didn't feel like ordering bottled water, which might undermine the general purpose of a RW meal), the bus boy asked jokingly whether he could sit and eat with me. Now, that's not the type of joke I needed. The restaurant had two champagnes by the glass -- Nicholas Feuillate and Billecart Salmon Rose (the latter at $22/glass, which I ordered). Unfortunately, the champagne was not as chilled as it should have been. Temperature effects can undermine the enjoyment of champagne.

Anyhow, the tuna app arrived with probably 7-9 thin slices of tuna, with quick searing of a larger piece along the borders prior to slicing. Average intrinsic quality, but the base of slight acidity in the diced shallots/diced raw carrots/champagne/vinegar? combined saucing did not necessarily balance the salt, pepper and other seasonings for the tuna. Not a equilibrated saucing set for the tuna. Baby greens were included liberally on top (too liberally), and the small radish slices on the side were unnecessary. As were the very small sections of mini fried onion strips that were strewn on top of the tuna. Average, at best, and disappointing relative to the reputation of the chef.

I asked for the sommelier (or whoever the person in charge of wine recommendations) to come by before the serving of the Artic char, but that did not happen until after the dish arrived. The "sommelier" or his colleagues twice tried to induce me to pair a glass of red (Bordeaux, initially, one said) with the Artic char, which I noted more than once I preferred with a glass of white. Then, a colleague of the "sommelier" indicated the "sommelier" has suggested a Sauvignon Blanc, which I indicated I did not want at the time. Finally, a Puligny Montrachet was suggested, which was alright.

The Artic char was of good intrinsic quality (i.e., the fish quality), and had good fattiness to the flesh. Its preparation was simple pan-frying, such that the skin was very crispy, and there was nothing special about the dish. Not that the dish was bad. The salted foie, which is not cooked after salting, was in shavings so small that one could have easily missed it on top of the crispy skin. However, it had a good almost melting texture. There just was so very little of it that it had no positive (nor negative) contribution to the quality of the overall, rather uninteresting dish.

The sorbets were alright -- pineapple (generally not a taste I like, even in desserts); grapefruit (appropriate); and black currant (too stark). I only had a little bit of each. The pate de fruit at the end was passionfruit, and I found it a bit stark as well. After the sorbets and an expresso (afterwards, always, for me), the "sommelier" tried to placate me by pouring a little Banyuls. When we discussed the producer (of which I had never before heard) for this thin, unappealing Banyuls, the "sommelier" did not seem to know a thing about other Banyuls (including the relatively generally known Dr Parce bottlings available).

The decor is not particularly pleasing, although it could not be said to be poor. I've seen photos of this restaurant that made it seem more attractive than it is. The furnishings seem not particularly refined, and the main dining room has no windows or sense of space (it's the former location of Match Uptown).

With an espresso and two glasses of wine at $22 and $19, the total bill after tax and before tips was $82.

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