The experience began with the delivery of soft, warm bread with small bowls of olive oil and red onion jam to the table. The jam wasn't harsh at all and did its job of whetting our appetite for the rest of the meal.
I started with the seafood mac & cheese. What could be better than lobster, scallops and shrimp in cheese drenched pasta? Certainly not any of the many salads that the folks around me started with, although they pretended that the beet salad with quinoa was delicious.
My main course was duck two ways that came with a marvelous fig sauce. I added wild mushrooms to the dish and that really added a lovely touch. While a portion of the breast could have used a little better searing, it was still tender and flavorful. I had a very nice pinot noir from Francis Coppola's winery that went terrifically with the meal.
I ate off of a couple of people's plates and, while the gnocchi was perfectly done, the beef stroganoff could have used a little more flavor to the sauce. I didn't try the halibut or the salmon (after having to be sent back once for proper cooking) but those who did said both were marvelous. The pork chop and rosemary grilled chicken were also said to be quite good.
I finished the meal with a Grahams 20 year Tawny Port and bites of the flour less German chocolate cake and bread pudding. The bread pudding had a structural integrity that was much better than a lot of soggy messes that pass as pudding as well as a satisfactory flavor. The German chocolate cake was a lot different that the moist, pecan-coconut concoctions that I'm familiar with--the coconut and pecans just sprinkled on the top of a dense chocolate bar. It tasted perfectly fine but the name kept throwing me.
I will confess my bias against going to a place in a mall for a high quality meal. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meal and the professionalism of the servers. Orders, drinks, and dishes were taken, refilled, placed and removed swiftly with a minimal of disruption to the flow of conversation. The server was very knowledgeable of the wine list and brought out two samples for me to try of the Pinot Noir. All in all an experience I'm willing to repeat.
|Me with Bella Editorial Director and Lesbian Romance Author Extraordinaire, Karin Kallmaker|