Dinner yesterday (Thursday); we were shown to a table in the main dining room which is unimpressive with seating consisting of banquettes and tables; the room is a little tired and somehow I found the various waiters and servers brushing against me in passing on numerous occasions; my wife had the better of me seated in the banquette.
There is another (nicer) room which is in a sort of garden; ask for that when you reserve.
Clientele is pretty typical: oriental girls photographing each dish, a somewhat noisy (and too close) English family, lots of couples; background music was not annoying and overall the level of noise was low.
The waiter provided a lot of information about the tasting menu which is different than most as it includes several items not on the regular menu; we were told that the main (meat) course would be pork; having just had grilled rack of pork the previous night we asked for a substitution; lamb was offered and accepted.
Service was a little harried; our congenial waiter was sometimes not available, particularly during a long break between the last appetizer and the fish course; we had to send an SOS. After receiving a profuse apology from the manager we received the meat course so quickly we had to look for our waiter again as the wine I ordered for that course had not arrived. Aside from these incidents service by the staff was very nice, with each course being explained by the staff sometimes in an accent but always understandable. Water service was great.
All that being said, for us the food is the thing. As the restaurant provides you with a copy of the menu of your meal (very nice touch!), I can explain why we intend to return:
1. Kumamoto Oyster, Nori Chip with smoked Eel; Pumpernickel Pain Perdue with trout Roe. The Amuse Bouche. Smokey Oyster and Nori Chip were delicious; my wife also enjoyed the pain perdue which I found a little rich but still good.
2. Marinated Striped Jack: Nicely textured and flavored, maybe a little salty but my wife says no.
3. Charcoal Grilled Beets with yogurt and licorice: I hate beets, my wife loves them; we both hate licorice; this dish was just amazingly good. Amazingly. Good.
4. Shaved Foie Gras; really, really shaved; my wife found it pleasant, but I was really disappointed - not for Foie Gras lovers.
5. Smoked Pumpkin Agnolotti with black truffle (an add on): Very rich in a very good way, just delicious.
6. Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Kumquat in foam; mild flavor but very tasty.
7. Lamb Loin with GlazedTongue; just a wonderful dish, particularly the tongue.
8. Rose Pavlova (first dessert): very pleasant but not overwhelming.
9. Smoked Chocolate: mmm good
10. Little Cookie assortment: some original tastes here.
Courses 1,3,5 and 7 were simply outstanding and except for the Foie Gras everything else was very good, fresh and served perfectly. By the end we were pleasantly but completely full.
We had wines by the glass, and there are good choices but the $50 wine accompaniment which we overheard and saw looked like a deal.
The mel was unhurried and excpet for the one time gap the timing of the dishes was appropriate. The menu changes every couple of weeks and also in a more significant way seasonally. We plan to be back.
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