We walked into Table 9 on Center St. in Noho last night (it's in Mulino's old space) and were pleasantly surprised. It's higher end-- more like Circa and Del Raye than Pizzeria Paradiso, with prices to match, but everything was very well-prepared, and you get a ton of food for the price.
Criticisms out of the way first-- not enough lighting, so that we had to hold the check up to the candle on the table, and the new but basically well trained waitress brought out the creme brulee before the brulee had set, so that it was a little goopy. And they need more wines by the glass-- they divide the wine list into imported and domestic wines, but there's only four each of reds and whites totals in an otherwise pretty decent list, and there were two pinot grigios on offer-- why not add a white bordeaux or somesuch? Otherwise, everything was very nice.
DH had the rare tuna with watercress and ginger/sesame dressing. The tuna chunk was insanely large, and not toro-grade, but very good and fresh nonetheless. He then had the chicken, prosciutto, and zucchini in a tomato cream sauce over penne. Chicken was moist, tender, and very chickeny, zucchini was cooked crisp-tender, pasta was right on al dente, and the sauce was very tasty. Neither of us could detect the prosciutto, though it may have been diced or something.
I had the chopped salad-- romaine, cukes, tomatoes, and feta in an oregano vinaigrette, to start. Again, a huge portion-- it could have served as lunch. It was nice and cold, as was the plate, and the combination of flavors was very tasty, especially the well-seasoned vinaigrette. Then I had the roasted salmon filet over bitter greens w/red pesto in lobster broth. This is the single largest filet of salmon I have ever seen. It was perfectly cooked, moist, flaky, and tender. The bitter greens (rabe, red swiss chard and arugala?) were cooked just right, and the lobster broth was tasty. The red pesto tasted sort of like a cross between romesco and rouille, with a vinegar note to it.
Creme brulee for dessert-- once it set up, it was very nice, with a good balance between eggy and vanilla. The crust was the right thinness for my personal tastes, and it was a good portion size. And, it came with (my pet peeve) real whipped heavy cream, and not light cream from a can. Coffee was good, and served in a nice heavy diner style mug, which was something of a departure from the rest of the simple white china service.
Decor is simple, dim lights, white tablecloths and napkins, heavy stainless steel cutlery, basic wine glasses. Definitely a nice place for a celebration, date, or special meal, although we were dressed casually and hauled our bag day baggage in with us without anyone batting an eyelash. Wine prices by the glass were standard, but the pours were very generous-- I actually couldn't finish my Rosemount Shiraz. All in all, a good value, and someplace we'll go back to.
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