We decided to try the famous tuna foie gras melt and the ostrich tartar for a friend's birthday last night. Walking into Tartare we had high hopes. The decor was warm, inviting and modern, just the way we like it. The hostess was friendly and seated us right away. But starting at the pickled veggies that came as the chef's compliment, everything was downhill. The small dish of pearl onions, baby carrots, and straw mushrooms were presented in a small dish with a small tong. But without other eating devises, the large forks and knifes on the table were ill equipped to pick up each item. Some guy on the next table almost shot out his onion while trying to cut it in half. The taste was strong orange and herbs...not delicated and enticing as we would expect from an amuse bouche.
Our waiter was inattentive, letting us wait for a long time before taking our order, our water glasses are not filled often, and with the amount of salt in every dish, we needed water!
For starters we had beef tartar, ostrich tartar, hamachi tartar and the crab and acorn squash bisque. We give high marks for presentation of food. Served in a large half ostrich egg (not sure if it's real or not, felt kind of plastic), the ostrich tartar was surprisingly refreshing, mixed with creme fraish and other seasoning, this dish did live up to the praises of the board. Hamachi tartar would have been so much better had it been prepared with a less heavy hand with salt. The spicy pickled watermelon at least help offset the saltiness. My husband's beef tartar was presented with a mound of beef and spokes of spices and condiments fanning around it. A waiter came by and mixed it on his plate while it was in front of him. Somehow this way of presentation lacked finesse. But thank God, it was not overly salty.
Entree were lamb racks, roasted poussin, and the famous foie gras tuna melt. What can I say but one word about all of the entrees, SALTY! My roasted poussin was prepared in a Thai fasion, accompianed with almond coconut sauce and a small mound of slightly overcooked sticky rice. I just can't descirbe any of the dishes favourably! I want to like this place, I wanted to love the tuna foie gras melt. But the tuna was too overcooked. Not a trace of pick was left, and the sauce again was to salty.
Dessert came in spurts, with two being presented fifteen mintues before the third and the last one coming when all others were finished with theirs. The waiter said my friend's brown butter tart was a new dessert they are trying out and the chef decided my friend's tart wasn't up to snuff and had it sent back to do over. Well, what came out wasn't anything too impressive either. The tart was overly sweet and lukewarm, not somthing I thought was made to order, as they had claimed. The other desserts ordered was the pistachio souffle, orange blossom creme brulee and cardammon chocolate cake wth Vietnamene coffee ice cream. The souffle was very well done, but tasted like an almond souffle instead of pistachio. The chocolate cake was molten inside, but the cardammon didn't really come through enough for me. The Vietnamese coffee ice cream was just a gimmicky name, half melted when it came out of the kitchen, it didn't taste any different than your average coffee flavor ice cream.
After dessert, a foursome of tiny ice cream sandwich of pumpking ice cream and gingerbread cookies were presented. I liked this last touch. It was whimsical and the gingersnap was delicious. Unfortunatly, the pumpkin ice cream was entirely lost among the strong taste of the cookies.
My husband ordered a red wine by the glass, the waiter came and pour from the wrong bottle. Good thing my husband noticed and pointed it out. Too bad the acutal wine that he order and drank wasn't any good either. I think it was Gamay, a Boujoulais.
Four four people the bill came to $315 with tip and tax.
Service was spotty and unpolished while the food was too salty and uneven. Tartare is not a place we'll be visiting again.