This restaurant is my most recent favorite in the area. Previously it was Hitchcock but the last visit to Hitchcock was marred by overly creative and ill tasting food, like coffee flavored pasta, plus too much salt. At Four Swallows they stuck to just making traditional fine food excellently indeed. I had the Alaskan Halibut and it was perfect, light fluffy, and obviously extremely fresh. Others had lamb, gnocchi, and clam linguini, and all seemed happy except perhaps the friend with the clam linguini. She didn't really complain and actually is not a fan of seafood so I am not sure what to make of her experience. The desserts were a big hit as well, so good as to be shared somewhat reluctantly by those who received them, with those of us who had not been honest enough to order them.
We were greeted and seated by Mike (apparently the owner/manager?) who also had taken our reservation, and the subsequent wait service was excellent. We were also allowed to bring in two bottles of our own red wine at a reasonable $20 corkage, although the house list is excellent. We ordered a fine bottle of white wine from the menu, which featured an appealing bottle of Mouton Rothschild, but a little out of my range.
I have one remark on their policy, not really a criticism, just a quirk of mine. There was an automatic 20% tip added for our party of 8, quite reasonable, but which took away my pleasure of adding the tip, since that is about my usual rate. Moreover my slight annoyance at losing this privilege, may have partially caused me to make an embarrassing error.
I.e. I usually tip as well on the value of the wine I bring in, since bringing in wine unfairly lowers the tab for the waiter's tip. Unfortunately after seeing a 20% tip already added, although I usually tip 20-25%, I became tight fisted and forgot that I had not added a tip on my wine, thus shortchanging my waiter. I will try to make it up on a later visit, but in this case the practice of insuring a minimum tip backfired against my waiter. My apologies to her. This was really my fault and not the restaurant's.
Our whole group would recommend this restaurant quite highly. The impression is not that the chef is trying to show off his originality at the expense of your taste buds, but simply to deliver premium quality dining. Adequate decanting was offered for our wines (a 2010 Oregon Penner Ash pinot noir and a 2007 Tuscan Argiano Brunello). The restaurant was not noisy and our table was in a semi private alcove. Thank you for a delightful evening!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.