I was meeting up with a friend last night for dinner and this was the chosen destination. We had 7 PM reservations but I showed up a little early to grab a drink by the bar after work and unwind from a long week.
The bar was extremely packed with good looking 30 and 40 somethings, which resulted in me enjoying my happy hour $5 glass of wine standing up. The bar had a good buzz to it and service, though a little frantic, was very good.
My friend arrived at the stroke of seven and we were immediately showed to our seat in the formal dining room. Since this room was very far from the bar and more family oriented, we asked to be moved to the room looking over the bar and our request was generously granted without a wait.
We started our meal with a very well suggested bottle of pinot noir and ordered the tuna tartare and spicy calamari for apps. The tartare was mixed with a little chili oil, avocado and grapefruit segments. This was very silky and tastey and the tuna was extremely fresh. The calamari was dramaticaly presented in a big bowl stuffed with crisy rice noodles, peanuts and a slaw, all mixed with the very tender calamari. I was a little disapointed in that it wasnt as spicy as claimed and that it was calamari strips instead of regular rings and tentacles. But still, it was a well executed dish.
For mains we switched to another great bottle of cab (forget which) and I ordered the swordfish steak and my friend the chilean seabass. The swordfish was simply broiled and served with a crab slaw. All this was drizzled with a light, tangy vinegarette. The fish was a little over cooked and dry for my taste (as warned by the server) but the slaw and vinegarette really saved the dish. My friends chilean seabass was incredibly soft and delicious, no doubt aided by the likelihood that it was basted in butter.
For sides we has the green beans, asparagus and truffled mac and cheese. Nothing to write home about, and in retrospect, I would not order them again. The mac and cheese was grainy and lacked the velvety texture which makes it comfort food. The szechaun (sp?) style green beans were a little soggy and just lacked any discernable flavor.
At this point we were stuffed but still indulged in an order of a hot lava chocolate cake of some sort for dessert served with vanilla ice cream. It was a good desert in that it wasnt overly sweet and the cold ice cream played well against the warm cake. But I'm not a sweets person so if it was incredible, it was lost on me.
The bill for the massive amount of food and wine came to $245 before tip (wine was about $120 of this). Not cheap, but the food was good and the wine outstanding. Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and helped guide us the whole evening. The only misstep by the service was that the mains came out before we had finished apps and they cleared the table of our apps before we had finished. Given that we had so much food, it wasnt a big deal, but it was a little akward watching uneaten food being taken away.
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