to all of you that missed this, i'm going to say... 'too bad.' and throw in a 'so sad.' all y'all missed a lovely thing. and of couse, the scintillating conversion, per usual. reminder to us- before discussing naughty things, see if any vps from any company anyone works for may be nearby. oops. heh.
so we sat there for half an hour before we ordered. not specifically to wait for people, so not because of bad service, but 'cause it was so very very hard to choose things off the menu. we literally wanted to order the whole thing. besides, they were keeping us happy with dishes of kalamata olives and some almonds that were sweet and spicy (brown sugar and cayenne and other tasty good things on those).
three of the four of us ordered the deal where for $37 you can get either a first course, entree, and dessert selection or if you go veg for the entree, you get two first courses. it sounds like a lot of food, but they don't have the 'huge food' mentality, a serving here is a serving. (they also have a deal for $60 you can get an expanded tasting menu, $90 with wine pairings.)
a lot of things on the menu if ordered a la carte seem a bit costly ($9 is more than i like to pay for a salad or a bowl of soup unless it has gold flakes or truffles in it of the fungus and not the chocolate kind... or it's brought to the table by johnny depp... he's so dreamy....), but the $37 seems a really good deal for the same food that would normally cost $40 or $41 a la carte. weird how that works, eh? the pricing in part is due to how and what they cook... they use seasonal organic things, and local at that, if possible, which tends to make thing a lot tastier. so that is more understandable than the corkage fee of $25 per 750 fluid ml. that seems kind of out of line for opening a bottle.
(note: lots of cutting and pasting from their web site ahead for food and wine names...)
me, i went veg, and ordered a pizza which we all sampled with herbed mascarpone, shaved apple, carmelized onions, and arugula (how do you shave an apple? insert bad joke here...). very nice indeed, and not as sweet as you think it may be. next, the layered king crab and avocado... thing with aioli, crisp vegetables, masa chips and salsa verde. i almost went for the salad with warm brie (mentioned below), but the crab and avocado was all good, though kind of hard to eat. it was served nicely, but it was one of those things you just kind of have to compile for yourself.
my entree- sweet potato and marscapone ravioli, which i had dibs on from earlier in the day when i went to view the menu. i would have gladly licked my plate if they had not seen fit to hand over much tasty bread (ok, the baguette here... we all wanted to bring it home with us... it's a beautiful thing... i can picture it with a triple cream brie... ahhhhhhhhhhhh..... it makes me so very happy.)
i almost went for the gnocchi, prawns, and maine lobster (shittake mushrooms, baby spinach, black truffle and lobster broth), but someone else did, and paired it with a bitter greens salad with duck confit, soft poached egg, truffle oil, mustard vinaigrette, and parmigiano reggiano. the gnocchi were singled out for great praise (though the whole main dish was all that) for their soft pillows of goodness. the salad was good, too, and the bitter/sour was balanced by the creaminess of the egg and the confit. that was paired with an altano (tinta roriz/touriga franca, 2001, portugal).
the salad i almost got was the belgian endive and pear salad with warmed brie, maple-rosemary reduction, toasted pumpkin seeds, and balsamic jus. a lovely salad, though i thought it could've used more brie. many things could use more brie. i could use more brie right now... with that bread... ok... i'll stop that now... the entree ordered with the salad was a seared venison striploin (i'll put that in 'a good' as band name, thank you very much) with fresh bacon braised in red mole sauce, winter squash puree, and roasted hen of the woods mushrooms. very earthy, in a good way. the wines there were a rosso piceno, sangiovese/montelpulciano, blend (saladini pilastri, 2002, tuscany) and a domaine la remejeanne (chevrefeuilles, 2002, rhone).
a la a carte person got root veg and potato pie with poblano cream, pumpkin seeds, seasonal greens with herb vinaigrette and parmigiano reggiano. the tato pie was fall in a pie shell. if you didn't know what it was, you would not have guessed it was tato in it, in a good way. it came with what we called green sauce, as we could not recall the poblano cream part of it, which enhanced the salad more than the pie, i thought, but was still good with the pie without it. they ended with a date toffee cake with carmelized apple, quince puree, and pear sorbet. or maybe orange. some menu details change from the site to irl and it tasted orange to us. i'm not fond of date cake, but i enjoyed the bits surrounding it.
the multicourse meal had a dessert that had a chocolate tasting with a lemon souffle cake with tangerines, chantilly cream and langues du chat (cat tongue is a cookie, in case you were translating the french there... and even if you weren't), a pear tarte with honey, and a chocolate cake with maple ice cream in a lovely sauce, all 3 or so bite portions. i liked the lemon souffle cake best, but i'm not a chocolate person. someone paired it with a pinot gris ice wine (argyle, 2003, willamette valley. i had a taste... it made me want more ice wine, it was girly, as a lot of dessert wines are, in a good way). lovely wine. smells of kind of outdoor things, usually, according to our wine expert, and this one smelled like onions, in the sweet way, not in the liver and onions way. but i will say... i really wish i would've had the cheese with it. a black river gorgonzola with shaved pear (see shaved apple joke above), toasted pine nuts and honey
the service was most excellent. the server had been there about half a decade. the people there know their stuff from all angles and are most knowledgable about the menu. ask them for their preferences if you are feeling as indecisive as we were. the setting was relaxed. kind of reminded me of ikea gone upscale, with the whole light wood and clean lines and such. we gave the place their props for dividing the dining area, by choice or necessity, with banquettes. it keeps it clean, yet divides it into more intimate spaces, and makes tables of 5 or 6 flow better.
i will say it is a bit odd to have two chairs in the restroom. most people don't want an audience in there. parking around there is a bit of a chore, and is probably harder on weekends and/or when some sort of gopher sporting event is taking place, as it's pretty close to the u campus. did i mention there's no parking lot and the area around it is not well lit, and has not been as gentrified as this building (with the dunn bros. next door) has? so if you're meeting people there it can get a bit creepy walking to and from the car alone if you have to park near the warehouses and stuff, especially if you're female. it's a weird place for this kind of retaurant. but boy, is it worth it. a good way to start the sole year.
© The bent sun as risen