First the service: first rate. I will quote KWH70's review over there on the right: "Service is also great. Polite, friendly (but not too chummy), knowledgeable staff all around." Exactly. Thank you, Jackson.
On the food front, life was up and down. We had a few appetizers, a main, and a bottle of Amarone. Here's what happened.
I thought the roasted beets appetizer was charming in presentation and adventurous in texture, but boring in taste. Far better was the seafood hot pot, which would be easy to ruin anywhere from the kitchen to the moment of serving, but which somehow arrived at perfect temp and with the disparate bits all cooked exactly as they should be. I hesitate to say "excellent", but I'm close. Then came the lobster maki ball, which was simply an absolute five-star knockout. Get two of those.
The main was the seared scallop number. It allegedly involved lobster and double-smoked bacon as well, all on a bed of parmesan risotto. I don't know quite what to say about this one. My remembrance is that while the bacon and lobster aspects were...absent, and the risotto glutinous, the scallops clearly had been stolen from heaven and cooked by angels. I'd be hesitant to do a return bout, but in the end I'd do it, tossing the risotto and doing a face-plant on the scallops.
You might wonder abou the Amarone. Well, from the menu descriptions, we thought the meal would be darker and spicier than it was, thus the Amarone in advance of tasting the food. (Next time an Alsace or Riesling.) In any case, my beloved companion, on tasting the Am, said, "This is velvet!"--as it should be--but as time passed, I thought it was a bit more like velveteen. They need a decent Valpolicello Ripasso. At $80 a pop, this Amarone doesn't cut it.
Ambiance: nice, okay, been there. The armchairs are immensely irritating, as they are heavy and lack coasters to allow patrons to move them without serious assistance. One has the choice of gazing at one's plate from a distance or of grunting and yanking on the chair in trying to close the gap. It's not a pretty picture.
In sum, at $180 before tip, it was almost but not quite worth the price for good to excellent food and excellent service in a repeat-retro room.
Oddly, though, we'd go again. Hmm.
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