12/24/2011Provided by Citysearch -
Flawless! Our group of 4 discriminating foodies all agreed that this was an excellent dinner.
We did the Mushroom Madness tasting menu. ($80 per person) The menu was slightly different then on the website. (The restaurant prints a new menu almost everyday.) The restaurant allows you to substitute other menu options from the main menu onto the tasting menu as long as the entire table gets the same course. This option helps you customize the menu for your table.
Superior 5 star service! Each course was introduced and explained. Servers hovering discretely making sure that warm bread magically appeared on our bread plates and our dishes were cleared only when we were done and the next course would gently materialize. Before the meal was over, the owner and chef, Christopher Czarnecki came to our table and personally checked on how our meal was going and talked about our meal and the family history of the restaurant.
The Sommelier was excellent. I only had to describe what I was looking for and my price range and she picked the perfect bottle that the entire table shared and loved. Noteworthy is the house special mushroom martini, made with candy cap mushrooms which actually gives the vodka a very pleasant earthy light molasses flavor.
The tasting menu is small portions, so regard this as a series of amazing tapas and don't expect to leave stuffed like you would from a steakhouse. This is however very typical for a meal like this, and actually the portion sizes were bigger than the chef's menu servings at Le Cirque.
Some highlights: Joe's Wild Mushroom Soup followed by Heidi's Three Mushroom Tart - the soup and the tart are house standard's since the restaurant opened and will always be menu features. Just a really nice way to enjoy the wild mushrooms that even folks that don't know anything about mushrooms will enjoy.
Scallop Quenelles with lobster-tarragon cream sauce. This was one of the standouts of the night because it was so unusual and just fabulous in every way. The scallops are pureed and served as a small molded mound of what can only be described as light and fluffy like an airy custard. The flavors are unique, not anything like eating a traditional scallop although the essence was there and very inviting. I have never had anything like this before and the uniqueness of this dish was almost worth the trip alone.
Sorbet - Concord Grape with Rosemary: Something plain and simply yet fantastic. We were all impressed how the grape and rosemary were perfectly balanced so neither flavor dominated - it was just this please not too sweet frozen delight that seemed to carry the summer essence of the grapes grown on the property to our table in the middle of December.
Marinated Sturgeon - over quinoa with chanterelle duxelle and cayenne aioli. Sturgeon is tricky because it must be very fresh so there is not the fishy smell or taste and not over cooked because it can dry out very quickly. Ours was perfect - fresh and moist. Tip: Ask for the aioli to be served on the side. This will allow you to savor the flavors without the aioli but also sample it with the aioli, which is a bit spicy.
Elk Strip Loin - with Pinot Noir demi. This was our substitution for the Filet Mignon that was on the tasting menu. All I can say is that it was perfect in every way. The meat was sublime, moist but not tough, not over cooked, and the Pinot reduction was done perfectly and complimented the Elk.