This is a hard one to review. My first impression was not good. Elisir has all the ambience of an executive dining room in some corporate headquarters. In terms of decor, I felt Elisir was far from upscale. It had all the character of a place where downtown lawyers go to congregrate for drinks. However, first impressions can be misleading. Elisir is full of mischief. Let's start with the seating; the banquette and chairs are superbly comfortable. And if you're seated on the banquette, you will have a direct view into the kitchen, which is wonderfully entertaining. The chef seems to have an eagle eye onto everything that is happening in this surprisingly intimate dining room. And then there is the waitstaff. Our server, Joseph, had all the required knowledge to make spot-on recommendations. He was also quite charming and very playful. However, there were also some lapses in service: it took some time for water glasses to be refilled. And be forewarned: there are long lapses inbetween courses. Personally, I appreciated this as I love long, leisurely dinners. Just plan on making dinner the event.
Now for the food. It is wildly uneven, though beautifully presented. My appetizer of chilled lobster with squash was absolutely superb. My dining companion's appetizer of robustly flavored calamari and sausage was good, but overly salty. My pasta dish of gnocchi with lobster and peas was a study in starch. That's all I could taste..starch. Forget the peas and lobster. Their flavors were drowned completely by the heavy ponderous of the gnocchi. Our entrees were both very good (veal and lamb) but once again there was a heavy-handed use of salt. As for the dessert, we let Joseph decide. He chose the panacotta and it was the best panacotta we have ever devoured.
Overall, we had a good time gossiping with the staff and enjoying the triumps coming from the kitchen. However, there were some duds as well. But I got to say that we really enjoyed ourselves and we left quite happy.
We left happy and smiling.
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