I had the marvelous luck of having an older sister who invited us to her birthday dinner at Newton's Table.
This evening was notable enough to justify a review here at TripAdvisor.
We're a very adventurous family and share tastes of most everything we get when we dine out so I had the pleasure of sample large portions of their menu and was impressed with the plethora of superior culinary genius I experienced.
Opening with Wintergreen soup (named after the winter greens in it (arugula, spinach, and swiss chard), I was thrilled to get a bold opening to my meal. The green soup was poured around small islands of minced tomato, goat cheese and couscous producing am attractive spectacle for the eye. The presentation was terribly clever because diners were encouraged to mix the four ingredients before eating and when it was all mixed together it looked a little messy. If it had arrived looking like that, I might have been apprehensive before tucking in. The careful first impression allowed me to look forward to what this strange dish had in store for me. The sour of the cheese teamed with the powerful strong flavor of the greens to make an unapologetically challenging flavor tempered by the mild couscous. I lost the flavor of the tomato, but didn't like the soup any less because of it.
My daughter's salad was accepted with gusto despite her failure to embrace the dish as initially offered. She asked for the walnuts and bacon to be withheld which tells me the salad would have been even better for a more complacent participant.
My sister's Kobe beef wonton's were simply put, the best I have ever tasted.. The savory spices mixed with the beef made for a beautifully executed sausage filling in the fried wonton complemented with a rich, fresh oil infusion. Newton's Table serves an archetype of the dish.
The bread served with the appetizers had a yielding softness that surrendered to both fingers and teeth. Melt in your mouth consistency delivered the generous herb-garlic flavor as a matching set. A good restaurant can impress with the simple staff of life. Newton's passes this test.
My daughter's mushroom ravioli was a notable improvement over the entirely enjoyable variety served up at Olive Garden. Their cream sauce is less salty, simple, cheesy and brash version Olive Garden offers, which is especially good because the seasoning of the filling combined with stronger, fresher mushrooms deserves the attention it's given.
My wife enjoyed her Bison (the priciest entree of the night at $44) on salad greens and the two favored each other artfully, but I found the bison chewy and riddled with more gristle and fat than I find preferable. That said, if I'd had this dish anywhere else, I could have dined without complaint. It reflects well on Newton's Table that this is the worst I shall say for teh rest of teh review.
My own entree, the Fuzu was explosive with flavor combinations. Shrimp scallops, chicken, egg combined with the rice noodles and a a savory, slightly a sweet sauce did, as the waiter observed, remind one of a pad Thai; a good one, at that. Combining the noodles with the different morsels nestled in the tempting mound provided several dishes in one, all of which were without exception delightful. I lost my fuzu to my daughter who traded her grilled salmon for it. This is a testimony to the fuzu as grilled salmon is my daughter's favorite dish when dining out. We could not have expected the fuzu to part the two of them.
Part they did though, so I enjoyed some perfectly grilled salmon, seared slightly crisp and soft and moist underneath. I fancy myself a pretty accomplished cook over a grill, but I rarely do as well as Newton's table did for us. The salmon was flanked by servings of spaetzle. an egg-flour, pasta-like dish from my childhood. Theirs was softer than the chewy delicacy my mother had made, but it was a very close second place which is very high praise. The spaetzle came with a savory, slight.y sweet brown sauce more subtle than that served by my mother and may have nosed ahead of hers (don't tell her I said that.) Mixed in with the sauce were baby spinach leaves to add yet another dimension to a simple starch accompaniment. Nothing too simple escapes the creative mind of the chef at Newton's it seems. We are not allowed to leave with the impression that any dish, whether you like it or not, suffered from a lack of effort. These people LOVE food.
My mother's herb crusted skate enjoyed this careful touch and the assembled flavors were clearly chosen with care. A crumbly, smooth topping to a generous slice of skate (a manta ray-like fish) was a very fine accent to what I have to admit would not be my first choice of protein. Even so, the slightly soft skate flesh was good. I enjoyed it more than the bison and I liked the bison fairly well. It is possible I simply don't enjoy skate in which case gastronomic wizardry cannot entirely prevail regardless of skill.
My sister's lamb met with such approval I wasn't offered a taste. This testimony will have to speak for itself since I cannot offer a first-hand account.
The dessert menu doesn't explain the decadent touch Newton's Table offers the meal's finsih. A "chocolate crunch" leaves one expecting something out of a Little Debbie's box and instead we were brought a crisp toffee cookie that reminded me of a stiffer graham pie crust. This was the delivery vehicle for a dense, smooth, rich chocolate ganache (something like thick frosting, if you're unfamiliar). The four sticks were enough to share with everyone.
My daughters' vanilla ice cream and lemon sorbet were dense enough to strongly suggest they were made there in the restaurant, though I cannot report on their quality because I had partaken of too much of the main dishes to properly enjoy dessert without sacrificing enjoyment that goes with knowing when to restrain oneself. My mother's banana cheesecake wrapped in flaky pastry and flash-fried and drizzled with caramel was polished off despite my mother's typically light appetite. That strikes me as a strong endorsement as well. I'd recommend that people save room for dessert except I did not feel deprived by declining. If you enjoy a sweet finish, it may be worth planning for.
Service by our waiter Matthew was enthusiastic, informative, helpful and discreet. His patience with my indecisive daughter and unexpectedly dithering mother (it's not like her, really.) was a wonder to behold. The restaurant was busy and he waited for them to make minor decisions with patience rivaling that of Biblical heroes. This was especially noble given the traffic the restaurant appears to enjoy. Such brisk business is far from surprising given how much we'd enjoyed so many of the dishes at Newton's Table.
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