Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who eats the entree anyway?

Midwest Medved was in town this week, and to celebrate various and sundry events, we made a reservation at Blue Hill for dinner. It's appropriate that, now that I've been here a year, I had the experience of giving a cab driver directions - not /take the Midtown Tunnel versus the Williamsburg Bridge/ directions, but /this is how to get to the other side of Washington Square Park from the East Village/ directions. (And yes, that's an entirely walkable distance, we were late, not lazy!)

On arrival, our waitress was little brusque, and it was immediately clear that something unrelated to us was up, as we overheard another server telling her that she /really needed to let it go/. An inauspicious beginning. She returned to take our cocktail order, and we asked to order appetizers first and dinner later, when we'd decided what to have (did I mention it was a 9:30 reservation, so long past kitchen crunch time?). She said yes, and then immediately said she'd be back to take the food order all at once, as the kitchen couldn't handle that (or something similarly mumbly). Hmmm. She did send over the sommelier, who approved our selected Oregon pinot noir, and came back for the order. The pumpkin tortellini were seasonally divine and the Maine crabmeat with marinated fennel and green garden gazpacho was lovely and light. Happy were we.

We'd selected wild striped bass, served on a pistou of local veggies and basil, and the Stone Barns Berkshire pork with creamy baby basmati rice, titian parsley and salami toscana. Let's ask MM how he liked his dish.

The pork itself was clearly very high quality, and cooked well, but was virtually flavorless. It was honestly the most bland pork tenderloin I’ve ever had. It was served on “creamy, baby basmati rice,” although I actually had to look at the menu to see that it was rice…I thought it was some sort of creamy corn pone…it was so “creamy” and “baby” it was just mush. It didn’t really function as a sauce, nor a side, and due to its beige color on a beige piece of meat, it didn’t really cut it as a garnish, either.

When I ordered, I asked how the bass was prepared, and was told it was pan roasted. So I was surprised, three bites in, to find that, while it tasted pan roasted, it was more on the seared side of things. I like fish seared, but in this case, it was just wrong. A waiter noticed my hesitation and came by to enquire. We had a typical foodie discussion on various bass preparation techniques (and I did not mention the Bass-o-matic, although I was tempted). It was agreed that over cooking fish is one of the worst crimes a chef can commit, but also that pan roasted doesn't mean seared. To their credit, they offered to bring me another entree, but that would have been too much food at that point in the evening. And later, the same waiter returned - apparently when they took it back to the kitchen they were able to determine that it had been improperly cooked and they took it off the bill with apologies. Which was exactly the right thing to do.

Dessert was the most delicious molten brownie cake you could have imagined (and I've had many a molten chocolate dessert, as well as making them from scratch) with a single candle on the side of the plate, and two glasses of port. Divine.



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