Ovation is the restaurant on the ground floor of the Inn at the Opera, the small hotel with tiny, elegant rooms half a block away from the Opera House in the Civic Center. I had dinner here yesterday evening before attending the opera.
It's the sumptuous cave at the end of a narrow, well-lit hall that extends from the tiny hotel lobby back toward the rear of f the building. Once past the threshold, as your eyes become accustomed to the dark, you see with relief that the place hasn't changed since your last visit, or indeed, in years. The martinis from the bar that you pass as you enter are always right, and very cold. The staff are smiling and helpful, usually prompt and only very occasionally hurried or harried. If you arrive early enough, even on a first night, they'll seat you pretty much wherever you want to be. That might be in the open space facing the length of the bar if you like watching the people coming and going. or in the alcove in back if you don't, and don't mind your dinner conversation proceeding to the accompaniment of a piano and sometimes a singer. The print on the menu is large enough to be read in the low light because there aren't that many items on it. But those that are there are enough. Beet salad, with both red and gold beets. Or if you don't like beets, then the Caesar, or the mixed greens with lots of arugula. Have the soup another time. Unbelievably good short ribs with green beans and mashed potatoes. The tarte tatin and a cup of coffee, and it's time to go. It's quarter to eight, but there's plenty of time to make the curtain because the opera is just across the intersection. Step out into the evening and promise yourself to come back soon. It's been too long.
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