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TRU - a surprising disappointment (long)

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TRU - a surprising disappointment (long)

Mark | Jan 3, 2005 05:53 PM

My girlfriend and I went to TRU this past Saturday night with high hopes. I'm sorry to say that we were both very disappointed with the food. Not that it was bad, certainly, but not a single dish was very memorable or in the "Oh my god, I can't believe how amazing that is" category.

We had the 9-course "Chef Tramonto's Collection", which was no set menu - we were left in the hands of the chef. As an example of our disappointment, the first course was a foursome of Amuse Bouche. First of all, one of the Amuse Bouche included mint, which we had specifically told the waiter I didn't want. Also, not one of the items made you want more of it. In contrast, when I had a similar plate at Patina in Los Angeles, each item made you want to cry and made you want much more of it.

Here's the good:

** The presentation of the food was as amazing as we've ever seen anywhere. The caviar staircase was a work of art. The "fish and chips" included a live fish swimming underneath the sashimi (all on top of a mirror). The cups that held the soup seemed like porcelein worthy of a museum. And the simplicity of the copper pots which held the pasta and risotto was stunning.

** The service was impeccable. Not a note was missed in terms of seeing to our every need. Even small touches like not just directing you to the restroom, but taking you there, were indicative of the level of attention. At the end of the meal, they gave us a personalized menu that dictated each item we were served. That said, the service was very impersonal. It was as if the attention was being paid to the table rather than to the diner. The server seemed to be looking through you rather than at you. It may be that this is standard style service for certain restaurants, but we prefer service that is more personal. If anyone has thoughts in this regard, we'd be very interested to hear them.

Ultimately, though, the food was a major disappointment. As mentioned above, nothing stood out as very memorable. This is in contrast to meals that stay in your brain, like meals I've had at Patina (LA), Le Bec Fin (Philadelphia), Town (New York) and even Annisa (New York).

Our menu is listed below, with any noteworthy comments included in parentheses. We're curious to know if others have had similar experiences there or if it was just an off night.

MENU

* Celeriac & Spiced Apple Cider Terrine, Micro Celery
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* Grand Amuse-Bouche
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* Tramonto's Iranian Osetra Caviar Staircase
(The staircase itself is a stunning dish to look at.)
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* Fighting Fish Bowl: Marinated Tuna, Salmon, Hamachi, Avocado Salsa, Root Chips
* Peeky Toe Crab Salad, Tomato Confit, Briased Artichokes, Basil Puree
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* Gemelli Pasta, Black Truffle Pesto, Ragout of Clams, Tomato & Basil
(The pasta was prepared perfectly and the flavors blended very well.)
* Poached Maine Lobster Risotto, Lobster Vin Blanc, Black Truffle
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* Curried Cauliflower Cappuccino, Buttermilk Cracker
* Carrot and Ginger Soup, Carrot Salad, Orange Dust
(The carrot soup was really noteworthy.)
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* Seared Ahi Tuna, Heirloom Tomatoes, Anchovy-Olive Vinaigrette
* Atlantic Day Boat Cod, Apple Marmalade, Roasted Apple, Chorizo, Lobster Jus
(The cod was the most memorable dish of the evening. The addition of the Chorizo dust was unique and delicious!)
--
* Hudson Valley Squab, Artichokes, Olive Tapenade, Game Crouton
* Elysian Fields Lamb Loin, Artichoke Puree, Lamb Jus
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* Pink Sparkler (Rose Sparkling Wine poured over a grapefruit wedge. This was served on a large glass bowl sprinkled with flower petals. Another gorgeous presentation.)
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* Gale's Dessert Collection
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* Mignardises and Lollipops

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