As we were seated, our host input our table number into the iPad menu, which he then handed to us, and informed us that we were at Table 41. How ironic, my wife said, we are celebrating our 41st anniversary. You have to work through a lot of things to be able to survive 41 years. The Rare Earth Wine Bar is far from meeting that goal with only about five months under its belt. There is still a learning curve that is apparent, but that should be expected when trying out something new. However, none of the little blips or glitches can take away from the quality and enjoyment of the food and drink being served. Our experience on a rather slow Sunday evening allowed us to feel like we were members of the family.
I had already heard about there being some difficulty with the iPad menus and that paper menus were available if requested. But I like to try new things so I was determined to soldier on and make do. One of the first things you notice with the iPad is that some of the contrast of colors make text almost impossible to see on the screen when sitting outside on the patio. There are also some features in the Beta software that still don’t work. But the staff are more than helpful and willing to compensate for a bad Apple.
Sundays are a wonderful day to come to Rare Earth if you are a wine drinker because bottles of wine are half-priced. We started with a 2012 bottle of Tokaj Affinitas Furmint ($43), a white wine from Hungary that was not overly sweet and would go well with the raw oysters we were about to order. Initially, there were three different variety of oysters ($3 each) available on the menu. But as we fumbled with the iPad attempting to order two of each, another party of three entered the restaurant and ordered the last of the Irish Point. As staff informed us of this we agreed to having three each of the Katama Bay and Osterville oysters. The half-dozen were delivered to our table and, when asked which were which, our server explained she was not sure. We attempted to discern the difference and just as we were eating the last two oysters the server returned, with three more oysters on a plate, and told us that all the previous oysters were the same because she had mistakenly picked the wrong ones. Thank goodness we really enjoy eating oysters.
The dishes that are prepared here tend to be smaller servings. Plenty large enough to enjoy the flavors and adequately large enough to satisfy a craving. My wife ordered the Sautéed Veal Sweet Breads ($16) with potatoes that reminded her of my Mom’s delicious oven roasted potatoes, and vegetables that included a whole baby carrot. Beautifully plated, the sweet breads were tender, tasty and definitely sweet. The chef did a fantastic job on preparing this dish.
I ordered the Red Wine Fazzoletti di seta (Silk Handkerchiefs) ($23) – house-made red wine pasta, lamb, and baby greens. When fresh pasta is made and cooked correctly it is absolutely wonderful. The lamb was tender, mild, with baby greens, and in a delicious stock.
Somewhere among all these delicious dishes we also shared a Curried, Fried Pork Lettuce Wrap ($7). Probably after the oysters and before the sweet breads or pasta. Without our requesting it, the kitchen kindly proportioned the Lettuce Wrap for the two of us to share. This may have worked to our disadvantage as there was more vegetable and mango in each bite and less fried pork. It was very good, but not over the top like everything else.
We did finish with a selection of La Tur 3 Milk Soft Ripened Cheese ($7), a glass of Esprit Sarrail Carcassonne wine ($7.50) and excellent, robust coffee. The cheese was served with some nice crusty bread, olives, and some sliced fig. Yum!
Because business was a bit slow, we had the opportunity to sit and enjoy the company of the manager and the chef for a bit. We shared our comments on the food and exchanged thoughts on the restaurant business in general. It was a truly enjoyable anniversary experience. The little blips here and there seem so insignificant when we think back on the food and the friendliness.
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