after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

FTC dominates Monsu

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t says:  The Finer Things Club (an idea we knowingly ripped from The Office) held our monthly meeting at Monsu (we had been on hiatus for a few months because I was being a party-pooper and working all the time).  In attendance at April’s meeting were kp, a, v, g, k, cm and me.  After g and I had a delightful brunch there, we rolled up into Monsu for a late Friday dinner with the gang.  This is what went down …

4/2011, Friday 9:30pm, Party of 7.  The moment we walked in, we saw that the people sitting at the large table were about to get up to leave.  It’s a good thing.  Had they not, then surely we would have fought them … West Side Story style (or not).  So, unlike our experience at the sister restaurant Modo Mio (where we waited an hour before our reservation), we were immediately off to a good start.

We ordered a mess of food.  And as we ate, we proceeded pull out a mess of wine, ranging from whites to bubbles to reds (including a very classy $12 magnum of Protocolo).  g and I had the lamb “in the style of the horse”, the osso bucco, and the carbamare pasta.  I found the lamb to be pretty good – but I actually can’t remember anything particularly mind-blowing with it – I guess I must have missed the big deal about the “style of the horse”.  In short, I think it was cooked well and tasted fine, but I wouldn’t go back to order it again.  I found the osso bucco to be a step up from the lamb, putting a variety of flavors together with a very tender pork – I also love the sesame candy topping and the thick glaze – I might order it again, but only if I was sharing it with other people (i.e. it wasn’t so good that I’d want to hog it all to myself).  But it was the carbamare (i.e. carbonara) that was the highlight – it was beautifully cooked, a great combo of flavors (and that’s not just the prosciutto talking) and everyone who tasted it seemed to enjoy it; it’s a good challenger against Melagrano’s carbonara.  But enough about us – here’s what the gang thought (and I’ll throw in my edits in [brackets]):

lamb "in the style of the horse" ... whatever that means.

a says:  Overall, it was a great experience with great people [yea, we are pretty great …]. The space is better here than at Modo Mio but I think the food nod goes to Modo.  The special gnocchi was outstanding, better than the “regular,” along with the mushrooms on several plates. The pulpo was good but did not bring all elements of the dish together perfectly. The osso buco, again, was good but did not blow me away. The roasted fennel with beets was surprisingly complex and tasty for a side. I’d like to go back and try some of the other dishes as well as brunch.

The osso bucco was a mound of tender meat and veggies with an ?apricot?-sweetened glaze and sesame candy on top.

k says:  The evening started off with an amuse bouche of a mini-toast with some kind of lentil spread. An amuse bouche always puts me in a good mood. It makes the meal feel special and feels like a great freebie, even though the cost is no doubt incorporated into the rest of the menu. Unlike others in the group, I like the [regular] gnocchi dish better than the “special gnocchi”. cm and I shared the ricotta gnocchi with crab meat in a sweet tomato cream sauce [this “regular” gnocchi dish is also served at brunch at pictured on our brunch post]. Wow. t will remind me that I liked it so much I was somewhat less than generous is sharing tastes with the rest of the group. Sorry, guys. I also loved our fish dish. It had tender and flaky mahi mahi cooked in a tagine with sausage, a rich savory sauce with mushrooms on top of a bed of israeli couscous. cm said the sausage were great. Our appetizer featured perfectly cooked scallops (cm’s all time favorite) bursting with flavor.  The place was very homey. There was lots of pleasant chit-chat with the wait staff. They didn’t seem at all annoyed by our increasing drunkenness and the absurd questions we posed them (what are those two pigs in the photo doing to each other? and what spice is laying tantilizingly on top of their pig bodies?) All in all, a very successful night of food and debauchery.

kp says: Re: Bruschetta.  The earthiness of the mushrooms paired well with the escargot, which had a nice soft texture and was not over cooked to rubbery proportions.  The bread itself a little on the soggier side but this probably owes to the ‘tagine’-esque pot it was served in which probably steamed the toasted bread a bit. The sauce itself was wonderful a lovely salty reduction of red wine with a hint of garlic and tarragon.  The sauce paired well with the mushrooms and escargot.

Re: Duck.  The confit of leg was nicely seasoned and went well with the broccoli rabe. The leg itself may have been a tad on the drier side, but still delicious.There was a nice smokiness to the leg meat which blended well with the rich sauce.

Re: Scallops.  The scallops were buttery deliciousness. The foccacci had a nice crisp crust and salty taste. The olive oil/ricotta mixture is creamy but could use some nice sea salt coating.

v says:  I prefer the space and ambience at Monsu, but the food at Modo Mio. Though, I was really hungry after waiting for an hour at Modo Mio!

t says:  Wow – it looks like there were some highs and some middles – not a whole lot of lows, which is good.  I think that the best part of the night was a combination of the table we were at (it fit the 7 of us comfortably) and the “chill” (but very attentive) service.  I don’t know how many places can pull off a table like us, but we’re happy they did.  Now if only they were open a little later – we could have used about a half-hour more to linger over our wine (they were closing up at 12:15 or so … Modo Mio let us stay ’til 1:30).

Can’t wait for our next meeting!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

22 April 2011 at 8:02pm

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