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Sweets and Savories-- A Nice Neighborhood Restaurant (TM)

Sweets and Savories-- A Nice Neighborhood Restaurant (TM)
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  • Post #61 - February 19th, 2008, 9:34 am
    Post #61 - February 19th, 2008, 9:34 am Post #61 - February 19th, 2008, 9:34 am
    Food Nut,
    I am glad to hear that your experience during Restaurant Week was better than mine. I guess I could just chalk it up to having been there on an off night. I've had enough good experiences at S&S to make that seem totally plausible.
    Kenny
  • Post #62 - February 19th, 2008, 9:40 am
    Post #62 - February 19th, 2008, 9:40 am Post #62 - February 19th, 2008, 9:40 am
    Kennyz wrote:Food Nut,
    I am glad to hear that your experience during Restaurant Week was better than mine. I guess I could just chalk it up to having been there on an off night. I've had enough good experiences at S&S to make that seem totally plausible.
    Kenny

    I've not been to S&S's during restaurant week but I have eaten there numerous times and while I really enjoy it most of the time (and have praised it glowingly), I have also had some uneven experiences there, too . . . not many but a couple, over the past few years.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #63 - February 22nd, 2008, 5:23 pm
    Post #63 - February 22nd, 2008, 5:23 pm Post #63 - February 22nd, 2008, 5:23 pm
    In honor of Restaurant Week, Sweets and Savories is doing a $32, 4-course tasting menu next week. Call for details.
  • Post #64 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:40 pm
    Post #64 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:40 pm Post #64 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:40 pm
    jn2001 wrote:For the benefit of those who might not be familiar, S&S has a very limited a la carte menu on Mondays because of their tasting menu special. The tasting menu is not published, so it's just a surprise when it comes out to the table, which is fun for me, maybe not so for others. (I'm sure you could get a preview by calling ahead, in case you have concerns) I observed while I was there that the two servers tended to get a little prickly when the other diners were not aware about the tasting menu format and wanted a la carte, and even more so when the diners would advise them of allergies that they did not highlight when they made the reservation. So - a word to the wise, if you go on Monday, the entire table should be prepared to eat a 5 or 8 course tasting menu, or you might have a less than spectacular experience with the service.


    I don't mind a limited menu, but can I expect a really negative experience if we don't order the tasting menu tonight? While I'd love to give it a shot, I'm just not sure that we're going to be in the mood for long evening. We chose to go on a Monday more for the free corkage rather than the reduced prix fixe option.
  • Post #65 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:52 pm
    Post #65 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:52 pm Post #65 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:52 pm
    I think you can only do a tasting menu on Monday nights. Or maybe you can order a la carte, but only from dishes that are on the tasting menu. Call to check.
  • Post #66 - March 3rd, 2008, 5:16 pm
    Post #66 - March 3rd, 2008, 5:16 pm Post #66 - March 3rd, 2008, 5:16 pm
    Once again, the helpful members of this board have provided me with the best advice: to call the restaurant directly. ^_^ I don't know why I never think to do that myself.

    I was told that there is an extremely limited number of dishes available ala carte, but that we will be better off (my words) by opting for the tasting menu. Sounds like a plan, then!
  • Post #67 - March 28th, 2008, 2:25 am
    Post #67 - March 28th, 2008, 2:25 am Post #67 - March 28th, 2008, 2:25 am
    Regarding the Monday night tasting menu, you can only receive the free corkage if you order the tasting menu. The limited la carte options are basically for those who come in unaware of the special night.
  • Post #68 - July 16th, 2008, 8:04 am
    Post #68 - July 16th, 2008, 8:04 am Post #68 - July 16th, 2008, 8:04 am
    Mr. X designated Sweets and Savories as his birthday dinner location this year. We headed there on Monday night to enjoy the five course tasting at a discount. Although Mondays also feature no corkage charge, we did not take advantage of that. Our meal reminded us how much we enjoyed Sweets and Savories the last time. Course one was a wonderfully fresh English pea soup made with a touch of heavy cream. It tasted like the peas had just been picked. Course number two was our favorite: seared scallop over a foie gras risotto. Holy cow (duck?), was this incredible! The scallop was perfectly seared and the risotto was complex yet comforting. Course three was duck confit over (and here's where my memory weakens) an eggplant ragout with a spicy tomato coulis. Mr. X's commented at one point "Mmmm, crispy, fatty duck skin."

    By this time I was getting full, so I welcomed the fourth course: an arugula salad with lemon pecorino and truffle oil. This is the only course that didn't wow me. The arugula seemed very fresh, but the salad overall seemed one note to me. Fortunately, we saved room for dessert, which was a three item plate. (one with a candle for the birthday boy!) There was a lemon tart, a peach pie (?) in a puff pastry crust and a fallen chocolate souffle cake. Fresh raspberries were strewn about the plate. Except for a too-hard crust on the lemon tart, the desserts were fantastic.

    I wish I could remember anything about the bottle of wine we had with dinner (red blend, French :| ) but I can say it was good.

    We don't go to Sweets and Savories very often. I'd like to change that.
    -Mary
  • Post #69 - July 16th, 2008, 8:49 am
    Post #69 - July 16th, 2008, 8:49 am Post #69 - July 16th, 2008, 8:49 am
    Can you tell me what the cost is for the 5-course and 8-course tasting menus on Mondays? My wife and I are going this coming Monday and I'm not sure what to expect in cost. The food sounds fantastic though!
    John Danza
  • Post #70 - July 16th, 2008, 1:59 pm
    Post #70 - July 16th, 2008, 1:59 pm Post #70 - July 16th, 2008, 1:59 pm
    John Danza wrote:Can you tell me what the cost is for the 5-course and 8-course tasting menus on Mondays? My wife and I are going this coming Monday and I'm not sure what to expect in cost. The food sounds fantastic though!


    John-

    It's $10 off each tasting menu. I want to say the 5-course was $50 instead of $60 each and the 8- (or 9-?) course was $75 instead of $85. I'd recommend calling to confirm. I think it's a great value.

    -Mary
    -Mary
  • Post #71 - July 16th, 2008, 3:23 pm
    Post #71 - July 16th, 2008, 3:23 pm Post #71 - July 16th, 2008, 3:23 pm
    The GP wrote:
    John Danza wrote:Can you tell me what the cost is for the 5-course and 8-course tasting menus on Mondays? My wife and I are going this coming Monday and I'm not sure what to expect in cost. The food sounds fantastic though!


    John-

    It's $10 off each tasting menu. I want to say the 5-course was $50 instead of $60 each and the 8- (or 9-?) course was $75 instead of $85. I'd recommend calling to confirm. I think it's a great value.

    -Mary


    Thanks Mary. I did talk to someone at the restaurant. They told me that the 5-course is $50 and the 8-course is $65, and those are the Monday discounted prices. It seems that for the extra $15, you've got to go with the 8-course just to experience their abilities. That's what I plan on doing next Monday. I'm really looking forward to it.

    John
    John Danza
  • Post #72 - July 17th, 2008, 7:54 am
    Post #72 - July 17th, 2008, 7:54 am Post #72 - July 17th, 2008, 7:54 am
    I was getting full after three courses, so I'm not sure how well extra courses would have fit under my belt.

    I look forward to reading about your meal, John.
    -Mary
  • Post #73 - August 14th, 2008, 4:56 pm
    Post #73 - August 14th, 2008, 4:56 pm Post #73 - August 14th, 2008, 4:56 pm
    After a few weeks of anticipation, a group of us finally made it to S&S last night. We went strictly for the $10 Kobe burgers, but ended up getting much more. Ohhh...to be a glutton.

    Wine- Got a great rec on a Zinfandel...something I normally wouldn't order.

    Bread- Excellent assortment, with "to-die-for" truffle butter which was barely salty, and a tad sweet.

    Duck fat frites- Delicious! For people who complained of the saltiness, maybe rendered duck fat isn't for you. Salt is part of the process, and I think these fries speak to that. The presence of rich duck fat was perfectly stated; compared to say, Hot Doug's which seems understated to me.

    Mussels- The broth was forgettable(which is why I can't remember what was in it) however supportive of the mussels which were tender and exquisite.

    Mac and Cheese- Rich and heavy, the way I like it. I think the pasta was penne, and the cheese a mix of parm and something else. I would declare this the perfect Mac and Cheese had the chef used real truffles(which they clearly have no shortage of) as opposed to truffle oil which I usually find to taste somewhat rancid and "chemically".

    Kobe beef burger with "slab of foie gras" upgrade- Okay, so this is what we came for. The truffle mayo was great, and the bun was great. Unfortunately, the burger meat itself fell a little flat for me. Nothing about it tasted special to me, and it was somewhat gamey which caught me off guard. But that wasn't the problem. It was the pate and the foie gras itself that ended up being a big disappointment. The pate did NOT taste like pate made from foie gras. It tasted more like chicken liver pate, and even had a liverwurst(pork liver) type of smell. I've had foie gras pate many times(mostly from D'Artagnan), so I've come to expect a certain taste and texture. This was also a problem with the foie gras itslef. The "slab" ended up being a sliver off of a lobe. I've eaten a LOT of foie gras in my 27 years, and this did not taste silky and buttery like I'm used to. On the S&S website, they claim Hudson Valley, but it's hard for me to believe that last night's piece was the east coast standard I'm so used to. It was definitely liver, but not fatty liver. It too was very gamey and tasted way too iron-y. If in fact it was a true piece of Hudson foie, my only other explanation is that it was sliced too thin, and then overcooked bringing out undesirable flavors. Every other piece of foie gras I've ever eaten required only my tongue to let it melt and caress my esophogus. Oh well...

    Dessert- Lemon Curd Tart, Dense Chocolate Cake, and Toffee Bread Pudding were all big winners, though overpriced.

    Service- was friendly, attentive and helpful.

    All in all, I would definitely go back and try the prix fixe. I would also recommend S&S to friends, family, and foodies alike.

    P.S. - I'm still sweating truffles.
    "We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
  • Post #74 - August 14th, 2008, 7:11 pm
    Post #74 - August 14th, 2008, 7:11 pm Post #74 - August 14th, 2008, 7:11 pm
    The GP wrote:I look forward to reading about your meal, John.


    I have to apologize to the list. My wife and I never made it to the dinner that night, hence no posting. Hopefully we'll get there soon.
    John Danza
  • Post #75 - August 26th, 2008, 11:23 am
    Post #75 - August 26th, 2008, 11:23 am Post #75 - August 26th, 2008, 11:23 am
    From your experiences: given the great value, is it neccessary to place a reservation for a monday night to get a table at around 8 or 8.30pm? (Party of 3).

    Greetings from frankfurt
    kai
  • Post #76 - August 26th, 2008, 11:39 am
    Post #76 - August 26th, 2008, 11:39 am Post #76 - August 26th, 2008, 11:39 am
    kai-m wrote:From your experiences: given the great value, is it neccessary to place a reservation for a monday night to get a table at around 8 or 8.30pm? (Party of 3).

    Greetings from frankfurt
    kai


    kai-

    I would recommend it. You can make a reservation through Open Table on their website.

    http://www.sweetsandsavorieschicago.com/

    Enjoy!
    -Mary
  • Post #77 - August 26th, 2008, 2:45 pm
    Post #77 - August 26th, 2008, 2:45 pm Post #77 - August 26th, 2008, 2:45 pm
    I would also recommend a reservation, since they offer no corkage fee on BYOB Monday nights, as well as, at least for now, a $29 prix fixe, one of the better values in Chicago.
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #78 - August 27th, 2008, 10:55 am
    Post #78 - August 27th, 2008, 10:55 am Post #78 - August 27th, 2008, 10:55 am
    I took a group of fellow suburbanites to S&S for the summer $29 tasting menu a couple of weeks ago on a quiet Thursday night. Nothing spectacular that night though the food was reliably good as always. I ordered the roasted chicken and was complaining to one of my companions (who happens to make about the best roasted chicken I know) that I really would have liked the skin crispier and the whole thing just seemed so juicy, almost watery to me, so she took a taste and declared me a fool (no surprise there). She admired the moist meat, but even more the way David had succeeded in getting the flavor of the herbs to infuse the meat so completely. Still not my preferred style but I defer to the judgment of the expert as to the quality.

    Visited the kitchen at the end of the night and David showed us the humongous white truffles he had just acquired - stored in a bag with some eggs that would become a truffle omelet at the end of the week. Got an email a few days later promoting the addition of truffle slivers to any dish at what seemed a very reasonable price, and then another email promoting some $29 wines to go with the $29 dinner.

    Bravo to David and S&S - he seems to have defined a uniquely successful spot in the "serious food at a very reasonable price" market. Other contenders, like Bonsoiree and Chef Amaury don't seem to be able to execute as reliably (based on a grand total of one visit at each of these other places so maybe I am being unfairly harsh) or deliver the same quality of ingredients at such a low price. S&S remains a place I am always happy to dine, and another one of those that I really should visit more often.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #79 - August 27th, 2008, 11:14 am
    Post #79 - August 27th, 2008, 11:14 am Post #79 - August 27th, 2008, 11:14 am
    Where are white truffles coming from this time of year? I thought the season didn't start for a couple of months.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #80 - August 27th, 2008, 11:26 am
    Post #80 - August 27th, 2008, 11:26 am Post #80 - August 27th, 2008, 11:26 am
    jesteinf wrote:Where are white truffles coming from this time of year? I thought the season didn't start for a couple of months.


    My guess would be taht these are Oregon summer truffles. Fairly readily available this time of year. Good stuff, but not in the same league as the Italian fall truffles.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #81 - October 17th, 2008, 8:09 am
    Post #81 - October 17th, 2008, 8:09 am Post #81 - October 17th, 2008, 8:09 am
    Man, it's tough to figure out where to post about a Sweets & Savories meal - there are a gazillion threads associated with the place. Anyway, this one seems to be where positive comments go, and oh boy do I have positive things to say.

    Last night was my first attendance at S & S' annual white truffle dinner. What a meal! As the seven courses progressed, I kept insisting that there was no way the current course could be topped. Then it was.

    Everything below had white truffle shavings. However, these dishes were not great because of the truffles. They were great because they were great. In each case, I felt that the truffle worked well and - of course - provided wonderful fragrance. But I would be more than happy to return for every one of these dishes, with or without the extravagant addition. I hope they become part of the regular menu or continue on as specials available at least semi-regularly.

    Course 1: butter poached Maine lobster egg cream
    A nicely cooked, meaty claw topped a delicious chanterelle cream sauce. Alongside the plate was a shot glass with more chanterelle cream and some diced celery root. The dish was chopped with shaved white truffle. While it took a minute to figure out what to do with the shot glass (couldn't drink it, as the chunks of celery root got in the way), once we all just decided to pour the whole thing over the lobster, this dish really came together. A beautiful, perfectly balanced combination of flavors. I don't get the presentation idea, but that's an incredibly minor quibble.

    Course 2: parmigiano reggiano consomme with crispy veal sweetbread
    This was everything a great consommé should be. It tasted light and almost cleansing, but also had an incredible intensity of flavor from the cheese. No actual cheese in the soup, just intense flavor from - I imagine - making a stock out of the rinds. It was strange and wonderful to get that intense a cheese sensation in something with a texture that was almost the antithesis of cheese. The sweetbread was fried to perfectly crisp, meaty and tender goodness.

    Course 3: seared scallop with black truffle polenta cake and sweet corn nage
    Again, a terrific combination of flavors. The scallop and corn had a terrific natural sweetness, balanced very nicely by the super-earthy polenta. My one quibble with this dish is that I would have preferred a firmer-textured polenta cake.

    Course 4: roasted bone marrow carnaroli risotto
    Since the week Sweets & Savories opened, I have known that chef Richards is a master with risotto. This dish took him to whatever the title above master is. It was simply amazing. As always, he cooked the rice to a perfect texture with some nice bite to it. He also composed a dish with incredible intensity of flavor. This risotto oozed meaty, gamey marrow. The intensity grew from one bit to the next. Sometimes I find that intensely meaty dishes like this - after a few delicious bites - begin to induce an unpleasant, heavy or greasy mouth feel. Somehow, as intense as the flavor was in this risotto, the dish still felt light on the palate from start to finish. My non-meat-eating wife may have been converted by this dish. She tries a taste of meat dishes every now and then to remind herself that she doesn't really like them. In this case, a taste became a spoonful, then another, and before you know it - I had to grab my bowl back from her.

    Course 5: pheasant breast with foie gras spoonbread and a currant gastrique
    The currant gastrique which - I believe - had a good hit of ginger - paired beautifully with the rich foie gras. Actually, I would have loved for the dish to have stopped tehre, as the pheasant breast was, well, OK. Somewhat bland and a little overdone for my taste.

    Course 6: warm gorgonzola cheesecake with roasted pair and frisee salad
    This dish was a totally unexpected wow. I anticipated something relatively sweet and dense, but instead got a wonderfully savory and light-as-air "cheesecake". I have no real clue how the chef made this, but here's my guess. Good-quality sweet gorgonzola had been lightened with cream and whipped egg (maybe just egg white), then pan fried in a very hot skillet. Imagine a great crab cake, where the sear creates a nice crust on the outside, and the inside is airy and intensely flavorful. This was the gorgonzola version of that dish. The pears were at their height of ripeness, and the frisee added a very nice crunchy textural contrast. This dish was another masterpiece.

    Course 7: stone fruit cobbler with pecorino-bacon gratin and white truffle ice cream
    For half our party, this finale challenged the palate in uncomfortable ways. It was too much for them. For the other half, which included me, it was simply marvelous. I can understand both sides though. each component of this dish was - by itself - very intense. It's easy to see how - if not very well balanced - this could overwhelm one's palate. The bacon was incredibly smoky. The cheese very sharp. The fruit was super-sweet. The truffle ice cream was beautifully earthy. For me, when I got a bite with just the right amount of each of these components, it was heavenly. Not so for everyone. One thing we did all agree on: we'd like a quart of that ice cream to take home. Wow was that good.


    This was a truly memorable meal, and I am happy to say that Sweets & Savories is right back at the top of my list of Chicago restaurants. When you put your palate in the hands of a chef that is bold and adventurous like David Richards, it's possible that you'll come upon a few things that are not to your taste. That happens to me occasionally at Sweets & Savories, but the upside is so wonderful that I wouldn't suggest that chef Richards change a thing about the way he cooks.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #82 - October 17th, 2008, 8:45 am
    Post #82 - October 17th, 2008, 8:45 am Post #82 - October 17th, 2008, 8:45 am
    Kenny,

    I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on last night's dinner. That was probably the best dinner I've had at Sweets & Savories from start to finish.

    The consomme was damn near perfect. A fantastic broth, a perfectly fried sweetbread and enough pickled watermelon to add just enough acidity to the dish to bring it into perfect balance. Just brilliant.

    It cannot be overstated how incredibly good that risotto was. For me what took it to another level was the farm egg that was served on top of the risotto. Mixing the yolk into the risotto was just too decadent for words. If this were a regular dish at Sweets & Savories, it would easily become the restaurant's signature dish.

    I think I've said all that can be said about the white truffle ice cream but it was just as good as it's been in prior years. Served on top of a pecorino bacon gratin this dessert was completely over the top (in an awesome way).

    So, thanks to David and the whole S&S crew for an absolutely fantastic dinner. One of the real highlights of the year.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #83 - December 10th, 2008, 12:08 pm
    Post #83 - December 10th, 2008, 12:08 pm Post #83 - December 10th, 2008, 12:08 pm
    Well, the 'rents are in town and I decided to inflict them on Sweets & Savories, figuring at least I'd get a meal I will enjoy out of it. We've got an early reservation - one question: should I be concerned about parking? Is there anywhere in particular you'd recommend for parking? We're coming in two cars.
  • Post #84 - December 10th, 2008, 12:21 pm
    Post #84 - December 10th, 2008, 12:21 pm Post #84 - December 10th, 2008, 12:21 pm
    Mhays wrote:Well, the 'rents are in town and I decided to inflict them on Sweets & Savories, figuring at least I'd get a meal I will enjoy out of it. We've got an early reservation - one question: should I be concerned about parking? Is there anywhere in particular you'd recommend for parking? We're coming in two cars.


    I have, on ocasion, had to park as far as 2 blocks away on Fullerton. Street parking is usually plentiful around there.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #85 - December 10th, 2008, 12:22 pm
    Post #85 - December 10th, 2008, 12:22 pm Post #85 - December 10th, 2008, 12:22 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    Mhays wrote:Well, the 'rents are in town and I decided to inflict them on Sweets & Savories, figuring at least I'd get a meal I will enjoy out of it. We've got an early reservation - one question: should I be concerned about parking? Is there anywhere in particular you'd recommend for parking? We're coming in two cars.


    I have, on ocasion, had to park as far as 2 blocks away on Fullerton. Street parking is usually plentiful around there.


    Agreed. I've also had good luck parking just around the corner on Ashland.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #86 - December 10th, 2008, 3:32 pm
    Post #86 - December 10th, 2008, 3:32 pm Post #86 - December 10th, 2008, 3:32 pm
    Thanks, guys - will report back (though not with pictures, sadly)
  • Post #87 - December 10th, 2008, 4:14 pm
    Post #87 - December 10th, 2008, 4:14 pm Post #87 - December 10th, 2008, 4:14 pm
    Last time I went, I had an early reservation, and there was plenty of parking on Fullerton and the side street opposite the restaurant. I'm not sure but maybe the meters only go till 6 pm...? (Obviously, look at yours when you park!) It's definitely an on-street parking only neighborhood, but it's not too difficult.
  • Post #88 - December 10th, 2008, 5:08 pm
    Post #88 - December 10th, 2008, 5:08 pm Post #88 - December 10th, 2008, 5:08 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:Last time I went, I had an early reservation, and there was plenty of parking on Fullerton and the side street opposite the restaurant. I'm not sure but maybe the meters only go till 6 pm...? (Obviously, look at yours when you park!) It's definitely an on-street parking only neighborhood, but it's not too difficult.

    This has been my experience, too. Before 6:30, it's usually no problem to park on Fullerton. After that, it can be a bit harder but as is posted above, Ashland is also a good option.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #89 - December 11th, 2008, 9:32 pm
    Post #89 - December 11th, 2008, 9:32 pm Post #89 - December 11th, 2008, 9:32 pm
    Thanks, everyone - though we had a bit of trouble getting there (bad traffic) we found street parking right away just around the corner.

    Chef Dave had apprised me privately that in response to the economy, S&S has changed their menu a bit, putting the prices in a range (entrees about $9 -$20) where my folks wouldn't balk. Knowing this, I decided this family visit was the time to stop procrastinating, especially since I wouldn't be paying for it and hopefully had an ally in the kitchen! I tend to avoid fine dining - though some of our most memorable meals have been in finer restaurants - in general, we rarely enjoy it: particularly where we live, I've left many a restaurant feeling as though I just ate the Emperor's New Clothes. However, I have faith in the tastebuds of the members of this board, and my faith proved once again to be well-founded.

    We (at least my part of the family) started with mussels cooked in something that IIRC was described as "lobster tomato cream." Basically, they were poached in an excellent lobster bisque, with bread for mopping - I had to fight Sparky for my share. The sweet cream in the sauce and the hint of tomato were an excellent pairing with the sweet mussels; Sparky even walked over to my seat and went spoon to spoon with me over the last of the sauce. The 'rents split a soup and salad, with which they seemed happy (I didn't try either.) After some discussion, Sparky opted for the Croque Madame, a towering, multi-tiered well-toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top that he declared was "#1!" I didn't get there fast enough to have whole experience, but the bit of ham I was able to rescue was silky and rich without being oversalty. The 'spouse took advantage of the Kobe Burger sale (I think they're 1/2 price on Wednesday) and got a side of frites and truffled mac and cheese, all of which were enjoyed immensely: while the jury's still out on Kobe ground beef in principle, the burger was flavorful, juicy and perfectly cooked and the roll perfectly suited to absorbing all the juice. The foie gras topping was excellent, almost like a livery compound-butter, doubly delicious now that it's legal again. Truffled mac and cheese was dotted with black truffles and the pasta was swimming in a very rich creamy sauce. I'd opted for gnocchi with escargot, also excellent - big fat pillows of gnocchi with tender meat in a very rich butter sauce with greens. The folks split an excellent steak frites, a beautiful hunk of meat that I'm guessing was a strip with a light glaze of gorgonzola cream under a pile of very good shoestring frites with a light sweetness to them.

    The dish I enjoyed most was sent to us as a surprise from the kitchen: an acorn squash risotto with gorgonzola. This was one of those dishes where the components fit together like a puzzle: the sweetness of the squash, the salty cheese, and the slight chew of the rice working in concert in your mouth. It was absolutely excellent - if I hadn't polished off my filling bowl of gnocchi, I'd have licked the plate.

    Somehow, after eating this staggering amount of food, we decided we wanted more and ordered desserts: a bittersweet chocolate fondant cake, a kind of lava cake which lived up beautifully to promise of bittersweet, topped with chocolate sorbet and ganache. We also ordered a milk chocolate pecan tart, a pecan pie that came with a nice, salty brown butter ice cream that was an excellent foil to the nuts, and Sticky Toffee bread pudding: a dense slab of bread pudding with crispy caramelized edges in creme anglaise. The kitchen sent another suprise: a peach cobbler topped with a lovely, lightly astringent black pepper ice cream that cut the richness of the cobbler nicely.

    The service was excellent: our waitress was friendly and chatty without ever interrupting our conversation, and she charmed the socks off Sparky by complimenting his appetite (the child ate escargot, mussels, almost all of his sandwich, some of daddy's foie gras and nearly the whole black chocolate cake in this one sitting. Thank goodness he decided he didn't like truffles, since he's now developed a taste for foie gras to go along with his taste for caviar) - when they noticed him peeking into the kitchen, they invited him back to visit the chef and take a look around (I went with, partly out of curiosity, partly out of gratitude, and partly in fear Sparky would take up knives, shoulder people aside, and start rolling gnocchi himself, as he was made just that comfortable.) A lovely, lovely evening.
  • Post #90 - December 26th, 2008, 9:07 am
    Post #90 - December 26th, 2008, 9:07 am Post #90 - December 26th, 2008, 9:07 am
    We had a truly wonderful Christmas Eve dinner here on Wednesday. For $50 per person the menu was as follows:

    - French Butter Pear Vichyssoise w/ Foie Gras Quenelle
    - Salade of Baby Arugula w/ Lemon, Pecorino & White Truffle Oil
    - Mediterranean Seafood Stew w/ Lobster, Scallop, Shrimp, & Mussels in Tomato Fennel Fume
    - Confit and Seared Free Range Goose w/ Sweet Potato Gratin and Cider Gastric
    - Steamed Fig Pudding w/ Creme Anglaise

    The one server and one busperson did a fantastic job pacing the courses and attending to the seven or so occupied tables. They were also genuinely warm and gracious hosts.

    Each course was good, but the standout for me was the seafood stew. It arrived in a huge shallow bowl w/ a half split lobster in the middle, a giant scallop, a jumbo shrimp and 6-7 mussels. All of the seafood was pristine and perfectly cooked. The vichyssoise was a nice starter and the fig pudding in all it's warm, cinnamon-y glory, along with a cup of their strong coffee was just the right finish.

    To cap things off, as most of the tables were ready to settle-up, the server brought out envelopes on behalf of Chef Richards with complimentary brunch for two certificates as a way of thanking us for choosing them on Christmas Eve. After such a great meal we certainly didn't need the extra incentive to come back, but it was a very nice touch and will bring us there sooner rather than later!

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