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  • Post #121 - April 19th, 2011, 12:58 pm
    Post #121 - April 19th, 2011, 12:58 pm Post #121 - April 19th, 2011, 12:58 pm
    sr1329 wrote:What really bothered me was how the waitress's attitude changed for the worse after I decided to not finish my Endive Salad. She came up with a shrug, not so much as a "Is anything wrong sir?" I merely stated that I ordered it for the pancetta and poached egg. I did not criticize the dish at all, after all I actually really liked it, but wanted to save room for my main course.


    Sophisticated diners know that if you are looking to save room, you eat the pancetta and egg, leaving the lettuce.
    ...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 #122 - April 19th, 2011, 1:12 pm
    Post #122 - April 19th, 2011, 1:12 pm Post #122 - April 19th, 2011, 1:12 pm
    Habibi wrote:Fine. I'll bite.

    sr1329 wrote: I don't need snooty attitude or passive-aggresive responses to how I choose to experience my dinner there. I have never gotten attitude like that in NYC EVER. This happens when restaurants get a lot of press and think that they are untouchable in a market which basically lacks competition in relation more developed food markets. Also I think it happens because they have to meet the expectations of experienced and inexperienced diners alike. Which why the waitress was so arrogant about how she said "medium-rare is that okay?" instead of simply asking what doneness I would like and guiding me. It was more like "I will assume you are midwest hick trash and I will tell you that you better have it medium-rare even if your tendency is to order well-done, just deal." I agreed, but frankly had I been given a choice or had some dialog I would have gone rare. Markets which have serious competition cannot have restaurants afford to give customers attitude.


    First, I'm gonna go out on a limb here - but you have probably lived in NYC at some point before moving to hickville Chicago (what, you couldn't make it in LA???).

    Second, I think you are confusing Chicago was certain other cities (NY, LA) when you imply that the "food market" suffers due to "development" issues. I'd argue that NY (the city I call home) has a glut of really really really shity, expensive restaurants that could give an F about putting out good food. Fortunately for those restaurants, 50% of the people who live here could an F about what kind of drivel they shove down their throats and how much they pay for it.

    Third, the "best restaurant in America" (whatever that means) is in Chicago. This will probably be the case for a long time. I'd say our "food market" is doing just fine.

    Fourth. This a rant. You are a strawman. And I really need to get to Blackbird one of these days so I can have something of substance to say about it.


    You should try it no doubt. There is a lot of bad food in NYC, but it usually those midtown places that are targeted at tourists and people who come in and triple the population during the day. I really don't want to continue with an NYC vs. Chicago debate but, the level of competition there does not allow attitude if a restaurant wants to stay open. I've seen places open and close within a month when their offerings were lackluster. There are at least 50 options within a 2 block radius of anywhere you stand in Manhattan. That makes a huge difference in terms of competition. One restaurant that some dude said is the best restaurant in America does not make a food city in and of itself. There are places that exist solely to hit a price point and do well like those cheap horrid taco joints or terrible chinese joints. But whatever it is a higher-end restaurant does not need to treat diners like uneducated fools to keep that aura about themselves. I'd like food without the pretension and attitude. I'd rather not have that "this food is the chef's gift to mankind" type of attitude.

    Game is very difficult to prepare and serve correctly, but I thought that "one of the top restaurants in Chicago" would be able to handle it. But they failed. The Lamb Saddle was better but similarly mediocre, coupled with its dry, bland lentil. A 30 minute gap between course in a near empty restaurant also raises eyebrows. I dislike that a lot, because I'm usually sitting their hungry especially after the first course which as intended semi-sates a diner. Timing is important. I'm not there to watch waiters and servers socialize. I don't think anything I say would make a difference frankly as the press, hype and Michelin star will keep sending people there. Also the James Beard awards. Those are all like a license to push attitude and lower standards.

    I'll be hitting up all the talked about places over the next few weeks so I hope that I have better experiences. I would love to post positive things. I will be dining at Naha, Girl and the Goat, The Publican, Avec, Graham Elliot among others. I also wonder if I should skip Topalobampo for Frontera Grill. I suspect Frontera would be Topalobampo minus the attitude. I've read quite a bit on Yelp about the low quality of service and attitude at both. I suppose awards, celebrity chefs, press are all licenses to lower standards and still make money.

    Again I think I would enjoy a tasting menu at Blackbird next time. Yes, I will go back and give it another chance. Also, I liked Big Star and I really like Violet Hour, so there's no prejudice again Paul Kahan here. He just needs to make sure his staff lose the attitude. If the waitresses feel they need to explain to diners who are inexperienced then explain instead of insult. Discuss with diners. It wasn't even that busy. It's just plain laziness and perhaps that what some of the staff think a Monday night is about. A slow night to just hang out and collect tips.
    Last edited by sr1329 on April 19th, 2011, 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #123 - April 19th, 2011, 1:32 pm
    Post #123 - April 19th, 2011, 1:32 pm Post #123 - April 19th, 2011, 1:32 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    sr1329 wrote:What really bothered me was how the waitress's attitude changed for the worse after I decided to not finish my Endive Salad. She came up with a shrug, not so much as a "Is anything wrong sir?" I merely stated that I ordered it for the pancetta and poached egg. I did not criticize the dish at all, after all I actually really liked it, but wanted to save room for my main course.


    Sophisticated diners know that if you are looking to save room, you eat the pancetta and egg, leaving the lettuce.



    Sure go ahead and judge me by what I choose to eat on the dish. It was one egg and 4 little pieces of Pancetta. Which is what I wanted out of it. I had 2 pieces of Endives also which were good, but I wasn't inclined to finish it and again that is my prerogative. The waitress seemed to be okay with it even laughing when I said I got what I wanted from the dish. But the response past that was passive aggressiveness.

    Whatever, I don't want to expound on my experience there last night any more. I would give it another try if I hear they've lost the attitude. I read a few Yelp reviews discussing similar instances of waitress revolt when a diner didn't finish a dish. Their job is ensure that the diner is satisfied no matter what he/she does with the dish. It's not like I put Sriracha or Tabasco on it. I just ate what I wanted. I left some pickled beet on the Wagyu Tartare also, big deal.

    In addition, I'd like to say I'm not trying to be a "sophisticated diner". I'm not caught up trying to project an image or anything. I just want to eat good food period. The prevailing attitude of pretension and sophistication is the exact problem that plagues these "high-end" places. Just guide diners to a good experience and let them eat. I'm not there to see or be seen. I couldn't care less about such pretentious BS. I'd like some good food without all that jazz. I'm finding that difficult in general when places see a need to project an image above providing a good meal firstly and a good experience secondly. Image is least of my concern. I would eat in a dump if the food is good.
  • Post #124 - April 19th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    Post #124 - April 19th, 2011, 1:46 pm Post #124 - April 19th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    You had a bad meal at Blackbird. I don't think it makes sense to extrapolate, whether to Blackbird on other nights or to Chicago as a whole. I read your initial post as a series of miscommunications or minor gaffes, nothing more. If my entree was brought as soon as I finished my appetizer, I'd complain that the pacing was too fast. 2 hours for a three course meal seems about right to me. A server asking if I'd like my meat medium rare seems normal.

    There are plenty of "New person from NY" thread on LTH that you might want to read. Here are two:

    viewtopic.php?f=18&t=20744

    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=20800&p=213518#p213518

    I had a fairly bad experience at Blackbird the last time I was there, wrote about it (on another board), and was trashed a bit.
  • Post #125 - April 19th, 2011, 2:05 pm
    Post #125 - April 19th, 2011, 2:05 pm Post #125 - April 19th, 2011, 2:05 pm
    ..been going to Blackbird since the week it opened and it seemed like something cool from another planet (and would have in NY or London at the time)...it's still heavily in my work lunch rotation because, well, it's open for lunch and well regarded... I have not really enjoyed much about the place my last several visits, 'cause what's to like about subtle precious and tiny ... but love Avec, Publican and V.H. (though I have a quirky dislike of the Big Star schtick). HOWEVER, this review has me rooting for Blackbird and excited to return. Thanks.
  • Post #126 - April 19th, 2011, 2:07 pm
    Post #126 - April 19th, 2011, 2:07 pm Post #126 - April 19th, 2011, 2:07 pm
    Oh man - I moved here from New York 15 years ago! Is it too late for me to comparing things to NYC and start ripping on you sausage-eating hicks?
    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #127 - April 19th, 2011, 2:16 pm
    Post #127 - April 19th, 2011, 2:16 pm Post #127 - April 19th, 2011, 2:16 pm
    I can't stop laughing at the notion that New York is the place to go for non-snooty, non-classist service.
  • Post #128 - April 19th, 2011, 2:30 pm
    Post #128 - April 19th, 2011, 2:30 pm Post #128 - April 19th, 2011, 2:30 pm
    aschie30 wrote:I can't stop laughing at the notion that New York is the place to go for non-snooty, non-classist service.


    While reading every one of his posts, I have a single thought running through my head:

    "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

    Unfortunate that there was no time to write a full review, but there was time to rehash the multi-paragraph rant against the backward hicks of Chicago, this time clocking in at over 550 words.
  • Post #129 - April 19th, 2011, 2:39 pm
    Post #129 - April 19th, 2011, 2:39 pm Post #129 - April 19th, 2011, 2:39 pm
    I know, right? 'Cause the last thing I think of when I think of NYC is attitude. All those laid back, mellow, attitude-free New York restaurants. :roll:

    And I love NYC!
  • Post #130 - April 19th, 2011, 2:46 pm
    Post #130 - April 19th, 2011, 2:46 pm Post #130 - April 19th, 2011, 2:46 pm
    I hear all David Chang's restaurants in New York are on the brink of closing. :lol:
  • Post #131 - April 20th, 2011, 10:41 am
    Post #131 - April 20th, 2011, 10:41 am Post #131 - April 20th, 2011, 10:41 am
    Glitch! :oops:
    Last edited by sundevilpeg on April 20th, 2011, 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #132 - April 20th, 2011, 10:41 am
    Post #132 - April 20th, 2011, 10:41 am Post #132 - April 20th, 2011, 10:41 am
    From Twitter, 4/20:

    Looking for high quality sous chef. Cook,not paper pusher. Interested in modern food. Send resume to chefpaulkahan@aol.com


    . . .perhaps sr1329 might be interested in applying. Just sayin'. :)
  • Post #133 - April 20th, 2011, 11:20 am
    Post #133 - April 20th, 2011, 11:20 am Post #133 - April 20th, 2011, 11:20 am
    Independent George wrote:Oh man - I moved here from New York 15 years ago! Is it too late for me to comparing things to NYC and start ripping on you sausage-eating hicks?


    Never too late. I'm so crushed - having been born and (mostly) raised in the South when I moved here I had to work hard to get sophisticated - bought shoes (is it too early for the white ones?), learned how to read (kind of), figured out that whole utensils thing (always pick your teeth with the salad fork, unless there's a fish knife) . . . and now I realize all my effort was for naught.

    I can't imagine why there's a stereotype of New Yorkers.

    Back to Blackbird - haven't been in a little while, time for a return. I really like that they are open for lunch.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #134 - April 20th, 2011, 1:05 pm
    Post #134 - April 20th, 2011, 1:05 pm Post #134 - April 20th, 2011, 1:05 pm
    It sounds to me like sr had a bad server experience and somehow turned it into a rant about the restaurant as a whole. It also seems to me a lot of the critisim being placed upon sr is kind of harsh, verging on personal which is unfair.

    sr, I'd reccomend you go back to Blackbird because it really is great. If you have another server issue, rather than steam about it, ask to see the manager and in a calm manner explain your situation. I doubt this will be the case though since it seems to me like you just had a bad, isolated experience.
    Check out my Blog. http://lessercuts.blogspot.com/
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  • Post #135 - April 22nd, 2011, 7:25 am
    Post #135 - April 22nd, 2011, 7:25 am Post #135 - April 22nd, 2011, 7:25 am
    Fiancee took me here on Monday for my birthday dinner. I've been to so many gastropubs lately, it was a nice change of pace to have some refreshing clean food.

    The meal started off with an amuse-bouche.
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    smoked suckling pig with hama hama oyster, fall giardiniera, sunchokes and hazelnuts
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    Probably my favorite dish of the night. The pig was really smokey and delicious.

    maple glazed veal sweetbreads with rutabaga, granny smith apple and black caraway
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    roasted farm chicken and sausage with cauliflower, maitake mushrooms kaffir lime and applewood broth
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    Best chicken I've had. Amazingly moist and the skin was still crunchy.

    roasted lamb saddle with salsify, fried lentils, licorice root and smoked olives.
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    chocolate ganache
    tahitian vanilla gastrique, candied cocoa nibs and parsnip ice cream
    Image
    Last edited by incite on August 17th, 2011, 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #136 - April 22nd, 2011, 7:42 am
    Post #136 - April 22nd, 2011, 7:42 am Post #136 - April 22nd, 2011, 7:42 am
    I've been to Blackbird two or three times and enjoyed it very much.

    Incite (and others), I have a question (not Blackbird-specific) based on one of your photographs. The chicken has sections of pink bordering on red. I'm still of the opinion that this makes poultry borderline unsafe to eat. Is my thinking "hopelessly twentieth century" on this?
  • Post #137 - April 22nd, 2011, 8:16 am
    Post #137 - April 22nd, 2011, 8:16 am Post #137 - April 22nd, 2011, 8:16 am
    riddlemay wrote:I've been to Blackbird two or three times and enjoyed it very much.

    Incite (and others), I have a question (not Blackbird-specific) based on one of your photographs. The chicken has sections of pink bordering on red. I'm still of the opinion that this makes poultry borderline unsafe to eat. Is my thinking "hopelessly twentieth century" on this?


    I have to say, my chicken at Next was very pink (probably more pink than what's shown in the above post). I was concerned at first, but decided what the heck. Needless to say I lived to tell the tale. I would assume that if you're dealing with high enough quality ingredients there is less risk of contamination*. I mean, don't they eat chicken sashimi in Japan?



    *Not actually an informed assumption.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #138 - April 22nd, 2011, 8:34 am
    Post #138 - April 22nd, 2011, 8:34 am Post #138 - April 22nd, 2011, 8:34 am
    Same. I have to think that if the chefs at Next and Blackbird are sending out dishes with pink chicken, they must know what they're doing. Far more knowledgeable people than I.
  • Post #139 - April 27th, 2011, 10:44 am
    Post #139 - April 27th, 2011, 10:44 am Post #139 - April 27th, 2011, 10:44 am
    Many of the higher end restaurants use low-temperature cooking to achieve the perfectly balanced texture for proteins. Because cooking times can be extended in an immersion circulator without making the protein dry or overcooked, this allows for the proper sterilization of the meat despite the fact that the cooking temperature is not high enough to render the your poultry white.

    You can find more info here:

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/sous ... icken.html
  • Post #140 - April 27th, 2011, 1:04 pm
    Post #140 - April 27th, 2011, 1:04 pm Post #140 - April 27th, 2011, 1:04 pm
    RonTam wrote:Many of the higher end restaurants use low-temperature cooking to achieve the perfectly balanced texture for proteins. Because cooking times can be extended in an immersion circulator without making the protein dry or overcooked, this allows for the proper sterilization of the meat despite the fact that the cooking temperature is not high enough to render the your poultry white.

    You can find more info here:

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/sous ... icken.html

    Thank you...
    Must send this link to my wife and kids...

    They send back slightly pink chicken & pork as well as red beef ( all done SV)
  • Post #141 - July 22nd, 2011, 9:14 pm
    Post #141 - July 22nd, 2011, 9:14 pm Post #141 - July 22nd, 2011, 9:14 pm
    Had a nice lunch at Blackbird today. Ordered from the $22 prix-fixe lunch menu.
    Image

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    Charred Baby Sepia with Green Tomatoes, Blueberries, Chamomile Almonds, and Cynar
    This came with two pieces of the legs and bodies. The body was amazingly tender. The chamomile almonds added a perfect nuttiness to the cuttlefish. The liquid at the bottom of the bowl didn't have much flavor and I ignored it.

    Image
    Roasted Chicken and Sausage with Lime Onions, Tamarind, and Smoked Cucumbers
    This plate featured white and dark meat bound together to form a "sausage", which was wrapped with crispy skin. When this plate was served, I just assumed I misread the menu as "Roasted Chicken Sausage", but after seeing other plates after I was done eating, it appears that they forgot to add the sausage to the plate. Disappointing that the sausage wasn't included, but the chicken was fantastic. I'm guessing that it was initially cooked sous-vide, as it was extremely tender. Also, this was served with pickled cucumbers (instead of the smoked cucumbers listed on the menu), providing a nice tart textural contrast. I thought the tamarind was a bit too sweet and was distracting.

    Image
    Cocoa Gateau with Goat's Milk, Kola Nut, Fresno and Hibiscus Sorbet
    Tastes much like it looks. Intensely chocolately, various textures, tart sorbet.

    I enjoyed everything, but probably won't return soon. Too many other restaurants I'd like to try out before returning. I will note the prix-fixe lunch was nice to try a few different dishes without breaking the bank.
  • Post #142 - April 1st, 2012, 12:09 pm
    Post #142 - April 1st, 2012, 12:09 pm Post #142 - April 1st, 2012, 12:09 pm
    Had a fantastic meal at Blackbird a couple weeks ago.

    Bread and Butter
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    Amuse Sturgeon Belly, bacon jam, marcona almond
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    A delicious one-bite that set the tone for how our meal would progress.

    Confit Baby Octopus fennel, chestnut, lime, chili
    Image
    Absolutely the best tasting presentation of Octopus I've ever been served. Done sous vide (I think), they octopus took on a different texture completely - Not chewy like we've come to expect from octopus, but tender and falling apart.

    Butternut Squash Soup char and roe, cured peaches, stout
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    Delicious for the first half. After a while, the roe became a bit too much.

    Slow-poached Sea Trout smoked panisse, soy-maple braised onions, fresh raisins, paprika
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    Chicory Glazed Lamb Belly escarole, crunchy turnip, pine nut hollandaise, preserved meyer lemon
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    Our main course and, sadly, the biggest miss of the night. Lamb was way too fatty and oversalted and the escarole did not contribute much to the dish.

    Soft Vairhona Chocolate pistachio pain perdu, buttercream, candied beets
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    Though their star Patrick Fahy left almost a year ago, this dessert by Bryce Caron would not make you think anything has changed. Decadent, rich and crispy...absolutely perfect.

    Last Bites
    Image
    After paying our bill we were served a few bites. Honestly, these few bites were almost as good as anything I've been served as a dessert. Further proof that Blackbird is truly transcending most restaurants.

    Though I hate, and do, consider my last visit to Blackbird a bust, this recent meal proves why they're one of our best.
  • Post #143 - August 23rd, 2012, 8:39 pm
    Post #143 - August 23rd, 2012, 8:39 pm Post #143 - August 23rd, 2012, 8:39 pm
    Quick question, is it generally better to do the tasting menu or ala carte here or will it not really matter?

    Is there anything considered a must order?

    Will be having dinner here with a group of 4, then heading over to The Aviary after for cocktails

    Also is there a best cocktail they make here? (rum / gin base)
  • Post #144 - August 24th, 2012, 5:20 am
    Post #144 - August 24th, 2012, 5:20 am Post #144 - August 24th, 2012, 5:20 am
    Dapuma wrote:Quick question, is it generally better to do the tasting menu or ala carte here or will it not really matter?

    Is there anything considered a must order?

    Will be having dinner here with a group of 4, then heading over to The Aviary after for cocktails

    Also is there a best cocktail they make here? (rum / gin base)


    I've only done a tasting menu for a wine event, and have had several a la carte dinners here. I don't think you can go wrong either way. Stand-outs for a la carte are the sweetbreads and the sturgeon. These are the sweetbreads that guided my handle here on LTH.
    "We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
  • Post #145 - August 24th, 2012, 3:02 pm
    Post #145 - August 24th, 2012, 3:02 pm Post #145 - August 24th, 2012, 3:02 pm
    If you recall, do you know how long the tasting menu was, I was assuming 2.5 hours would be suitable to the tasting menu (if we choose that) and to make it to The Aviary (which is only .5 miles away)
  • Post #146 - August 26th, 2012, 6:15 am
    Post #146 - August 26th, 2012, 6:15 am Post #146 - August 26th, 2012, 6:15 am
    Somewhere around there...It was part of a tasting with a winemaker, so I'm not sure how long their regular tasting is.

    Did your dinner already happen? If so, thoughts?
    "We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
  • Post #147 - August 27th, 2012, 5:32 pm
    Post #147 - August 27th, 2012, 5:32 pm Post #147 - August 27th, 2012, 5:32 pm
    I will report back after labor day weekend, that is when the dinner is :)
  • Post #148 - October 18th, 2012, 1:20 pm
    Post #148 - October 18th, 2012, 1:20 pm Post #148 - October 18th, 2012, 1:20 pm
    Sorry for taking so long to get the report up, forgot to post it over here

    Chi Town Trip Report

    Started off for an afternoon beer once we got into town at The Matchbox, skinny little bar (like a match) with a patio and about 12 seats on the bar, great liquor selection with 3 beers on draft, had Allagash White Ale, was pretty good - they are thumping rock and roll / heavy metal there and it looked like if you wanted to bring food in from next door that was okay. Seemed like an interesting place, the bartender and owner were firing down tequilla shots like water, we just stayed for a drink and left

    For dinner we went to Blackbird and when ala carte, we each did a main course entree, and 3 apps for the table

    For the apps we went with:

    Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with wax beans, cherries, hazelnut, and truffle - These were the highlight of the apps, they were excellent everyone agreed across the board. I do not like truffle oil but apparently I do like truffle shavings, as the wax beans were sprinkled with the real deal, all of the flavors worked together well

    Black Cod pil pil with heirloom tomatoes watermelon and sunflower, i believe there was some pisatchio on the plate as well - Like everything here this was very good but not blow me away, the flavors all worked but it wasn't the most amazing thing I ever ate

    Roasted Pork Belly with Uni red beets tamarind turmeric and okra - this one failed for pretty much everyone, no one was fighting over who got the last piece of this, that Pork Belly was overcooked due to it being sliced a little to thick, the flavors were not bad but not amazing, this was the only thing we did not really enjoy at the table

    For my main courses we shared so everyone got to try everything else

    I went with the: wood-grilled sturgeon with shiitakes, onion noodles,
    plums, and buttermilk because someone on LTH said that they did the Sweetbreads and Sturgeon very well, and everything sounded good on the plate - I really liked the dish, it was onion heavy but in a good way, but not a first date dish :mrgreen: It was good and very substantial, quality across the board

    The Mrs got aged duck breast with grilled white asparagus, sourdough,
    sea beans, and herbs - hers had a mousse of foie gras though, it was very good - everyone liked it at the table, i am not a huge fan of foie gras mousses so i could have done without that mousse but everyone else enjoyed it

    The other people with us got the roasted rabbit saddle and confit leg with barley risotto, broccoli,
    egg yolk, and yuzu - and the risotto was simply awesome with some crispy broccoli bits that seemed almost flash fried - the rabbit was quite good as well, first time having rabbit

    Last item was the roasted halibut with green farro, kohlrabi, mustard,
    and cucumber-miso juice which was my least favorite of all 3, i had a bite, it was good but not as strong as the other dishes

    For dessert we had the deep fried butterscotch pudding (breaded squares of pudding) that came with corn ice cream with a powdered masa topping, it was strange and delicious, that textures and flavors were very unusual, we also got another dessert which i had only one bite of, it was a bit too tart for me - every dessert was some variation of ice cream which was a bit disappointing, but the corn one made up for it

    The cocktails here were good, our favorite was a cucumber gin egg white dry vermouth combo, although i took some grief for the huge garnish of a cucumber and the drinking being sea green - after trying it the Mrs ordered one herself, they do have a sake selection which was great because she loves sake as well - so overall it was about 100-110 a person including drinks and tip and we got to try a lot of stuff, Everything was very good (with the exception of the pork belly), however I don't think any one item was WOW this is the best thing I ever had

    The Aviary was up next, it is in a packing / factory like area and then all of a sudden NEXT / The Aviary are there - we arrived about 20 minutes prior to our reservation and they had the table waiting for us already, we were in shortly.

    Walking in they give everyone a drink as an amuse bouche, which was a tasty slushyish item with pisco and grand marniner - great way to start out, because everyone wants something to drink as soon as they get in the door

    They did a really good job of decorating the place and the service was very good (Ethan was our server) - I had to get the tiki drink which consisted of a mai tai, zombie, and Knickerbocker all in little tiki glasses (from tiki farm) in a little wooden fence box full of sand and shells - nice presentation, and the Mai Tai was very good, that one went down fast, the Zombie tasted a bit off, i think too pineappley for me, but not bad, and the knickerbocker was a frozen slushy type drink, was quite tasty

    Round 2 I went with a Scotch and Smoke type of drink and something type of drink, it was pretty good for scotch, as I normally like manhatten's but not scotch, was plum like, came in a bag with lavender mist

    They also had a hot red tea drink, that had gin and botanicals and came with a very cool presentation, very similar to how cph upstairs makes their "gin" out of vodka, was quite similar in presentation style, so I know where they got the idea from - however the taste was excellent, warm gin and tea spiced drink - the Mrs loved it

    The egg drink, was an old fashion that was broken with a small took, and then out of the egg poured the drink, and then the egg shell became the drink - excellent old fashion with EJ 12 year

    Other friend got a 3 course flight which came with a few different drinks that i kind of remember trying, he chose that one because the dessert drink was a corn drink, which was good but it was like drinking corn - very interesting flavors

    We got one other drink that I forget that no one liked, it was too sweet - they do not have a menu online so it is hard to remember that one, it had a Puka Puka Punch glass type shell on the outside to keep it cold, so that was pretty neat, i would have been happier with a Puka Puka :)

    We tried a good amount of the drinks on the a la carte menu and were pretty happy with most of them

    Overall between Blackbird and The Aviary if we had to pick between the two, we would probably be more inclined to do the 7 or 10 course cocktail pairing, which would be a lot of fun with small bites of food - seems like they change the menu once per quarter so perhaps a quarterly excursion to The Aviary may be in order
  • Post #149 - May 10th, 2013, 9:01 am
    Post #149 - May 10th, 2013, 9:01 am Post #149 - May 10th, 2013, 9:01 am
    Had a delicious pre-theater dinner at Blackbird.
    We had a 5PM res (which three of the four of us missed by about 15 minutes due to even-worse-than usual Kennedy traffic), and surprisingly, the place was not packed -- I'd expected a run on the place since the Beard announcement. By 6 or so, though, every seat was filled.

    I now see why dicksond called Vie Blackbird lite? Even better. The meal had very similar concepts: farm-sourced ingredients, lots of preserved items, great flavors. The "Even better" part of Vie may be in value: we spent a good fraction more than a typical meal at Vie, for what seemed to be in a couple of cases rather sparsely-filled platters.

    The first courses at the table included
    * quail (mine), which was served with a bit of frisee and a quail egg. The quail was deboned and shaped as a sphere of crispy-skinned succulent meat. Quite fun and delicious.
    * foie, which I got a taste of, very nice
    * suckling pig (SueF's), which isn't on the online menu, so I don't remember much about it but the taste I had was very good
    * sepia noodles, very playful, bright and clean tender ribbons of cephalopod with kumquat, kale and other bits

    Mains were:
    * wood-grilled sturgeon (mine): absolutely delicious, with a yogurt-like buttermilk sauce mimicking deli smokefish and creamcheese. The "onion noodles" are just wilted onions, not as special as it sounds. My only disappointment with this was the size of the serving -- I had more quail in the app than fish in the main.
    * lamb with fava, endive, honeyed eggplant (SueF's): real lamby-flavored lamb, great set of accompanyments (Sue, you could have saved me a fava!)
    * rabbit with lap chong, celtuce, cashew and tamarind. Delicious, with a great glaze on the meat I had a bite of.
    * strip loin and short rib: I had a small bite of the steak side - yup, these guys can grill a steak.

    Desserts were:
    Two bittersweet chocolate tarts with sesame-cumin crisp, burnt honey ice cream. Interesting, but less of a chocolate bomb than a lot of the chocolate desserts out there
    Cheddar with a bunch of accompaniments (very nice, had a grilled-cheese flavor without having been grilled, probably the toasted brioche bits)
    Harbison, a funky soft cheese with apple-shiitake duxelles, candied celery and hazelnuts (mine). Wow, great cheese with perfect accompaniments.

    I had a junmai daiginjo sake with my meal which was a nice pairing with the quail and fish. Sue's Cote du Rhone was a very nice exemplar of that breed, smooth and rich.

    Bottom line: great special-occasion dining, but I'm going to be spotted at Vie a couple times before I'd head back here.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #150 - September 5th, 2013, 12:56 pm
    Post #150 - September 5th, 2013, 12:56 pm Post #150 - September 5th, 2013, 12:56 pm
    I eat out for lunch often and Blackbird is the only place I know of that serves a consistently excellent, well- balanced, and innovative meal during lunchtime. They really know what they are doing. I have eaten lunch here dozens of times and never been disappointed. The cocktail program is great too.

    Image

    Cajeta cheesecake and goat cheese ice cream with these wonderful and surprising little bits of burnt grapefruit

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