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Restaurants & Bars 2

SD RW week - El Bizcocho

ms. scout | Jan 19, 200612:31 AM

We tried El Bizcocho for restaurant week this year. The setting was elegant and nicely/dimly lit and the service was attentive. Overall, the food was very good but some selections were much smaller and not as good as others. Service was pretty darned good and formal with just a few gaps.

Cocktails (at the bar): We were pleasantly surprised that a grey goose martini (tasty) and a glass of Piper-Heidseck brut were only 20 plus tax along with very attentive service. As our friends joined us each was quickly served and they repeatedly checked as to the status of our party.

First course: The day scallops were well cooked and tasty and a large portion with flavorful sausage and cauliflower, green onion and other veg underneath. The jerusalem artichoke soup earned high marks at our table - like a smoky vegetable bisque - but I thought the morel accent (I think reconstituted from dried) was a little plain and chewy.

Entree: The top sirloin was the winner - a little undercooked compared to expectations but well executed. The potato "fondant" side dish and mushrooms were well seasoned (salty to some - but I like salt) and the sauce - a rosemary jus according to the menu - a tad bland when compared to the standard Joy of Cooking port sauce. Two of us ordered the butternut squash ravioli (the other option was halibut - not a fan) and found it to be a smaller serving with a good execution but a strange flavor combination. I'm used to a ravioli like that paired with sage, balsamic reduction, walnut, and the like but this had some cocktail onions (?), pine nuts, tomato I think and capers. Not bad, but an unexpected combo.

Dessert: The chocolate souffle was a good sized ramekin portion and loved - bitter chocolate flavor with a sauce poured in tableside. The brioche donut had a lot of autumn flavors (think spices and cranberries) and was ok but not great and the chocolate veloute was probably pretty good but our friend had almost the exact same thing at Arterra the night before.

Service: The table was ready way in advance of when we were seated. It took a little while for them to bring the menus but it wasn't too bad. Water was delivered often and rolls were offered a couple times throughout the dinner (by the way, the onion rolls were crusty on the outside and soft in the center and served with a delicious butter that I think had chives and either gray salt or fleur de sel - I plan to try to recreate it in the near future). The first course and entree were served quickly and pretty close together but we had a bit of a wait for dessert and we weren't offer coffee/apertifs until the desserts were almost gone. Our reservation was at 8 and we were the last people to leave so that may have had something to do with the slower service at the end.

Their normal menu was more reasonable than I expected and was more in line with the prices at my neighborhood fine dining establishments (150 Grand, Vincent's and Asia Vous) and looked promising and yummy. Their wine list was frankly overwhelming with most selections in the 60+ range; it reminded me of the Butterfield Room at the Casa del Zorro in Borrego. Admittedly, we do tend to get in a rut and visit the same restaurants repeatedly so my experience is a little limited. Overall I found it to be a good experience but plan to try another new restaurant next.

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