after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Pumpkin: “Good but not Great”

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t says:  We journeyed to Pumpkin last week with kp and another dinnermate.  Weirdly, even though it’s close to where we live, we hadn’t quite been able to get to it despite trying to visit for years (it was always our second option).  But not this time – this time we were going to go, damnit!  (Actually, I had originally wanted to revisit with kp, but alas, they’re still too busy).

August 2011, Thursday 8pm, Party of 4.  We walked in to a pretty tiny place – maybe a smidge bigger than Bibou.  They do it old school (BYO and cash-only) at Pumpkin, so we came prepared with some pinot noir and riesling.  We were seated promptly and introduced to our menus.  A lot sounded tasty, so we initially had some personal crises (e.g. duck or pig – duck or pig?!)  When the dust settled, this is what came out:

Escargots and Chicken Wings

kp and I ventured the escargots and chicken.  It was accompanied with cucumber and sauced with something green that I actually cannot remember what it was.  While the escargots were cooked appropriately (soft, not chewy), I found them to be a little lacking in flavor.  Whereas Bibou’s tend to hit you in the mouth with a big “HEY – I’M A SNAIL” flavor, Pumpkin’s were much more subdued.  The chicken wing was the same – cooked beautifully, but underwhelming flavor (although this was more likely due to underseasoning).  I was a little sad because I couldn’t quite look past these two issues to concentrate on whether the accompanying flavors were a good combo or not.

Selection of "Summer Vegetables"

g and our friend had the summer vegetables, which featured some raw, some cooked, and some pickled.  Additionally, it was served with an egg yolk, some kind of grain, and a broth poured on at the last second.  I don’t know what they thought – maybe g’ll chime in sometime.


This was my main – confit leg and ?roasted? breast, with some sort of jus (brown sauce), figs, and a crunchy-coffee-flavored pile (crumbs in the upper right corner), and a disk of what I believe was cherry.  The duck cookery was right-on for the leg, but the breast was actually a little tough, requiring a bit of force with my knife, which I view as a bad sign.  As for the other components, they just didn’t quite come together for me – it was like 5 separate components that I had to manually mix together, myself.  To be honest, I think this dish could have gone further (the coffee+cherry+fig+duck sounded good) had the components been combined in a more cohesive manner – but the pretty presentation left them strewn around on the plate, leading to disjointed flavors/textures.

At our table was also the pig entree.  We have no pictures of it, but our friend’s exact words were, “good but not great”.  This was going to be the theme of the evening …


The cod was a pretty impressive hunk of fish accompanied corn, potato, and a vermouth sauce.  kp really enjoyed the sauce (really REALLY enjoyed the sauce) but found that the fish could have been given a better sear, because the texture was monotonous throughout.  There was also a lack of razor clams on the dish, which would have added some other kind of flavor to play with the cod.


The polenta was a side-of-the-day.  But to be honest, it was kind of a snooze-fest.  Yea, it was polenta.  And I guess the purpose is to increase the carbs of the other dishes.  But please, do something to it!

All in all, it’s not that any of the food we had at Pumpkin was bad – I believe we all finished our plates!  But, it didn’t leave with that “gee, I gotta come back here tomorrow” feeling.  Perhaps I just had it built up too much because we had heard too many good things about it but felt that they didn’t deliver (e.g. like with Audrey Claire).  We wish them a little better luck in the future.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

22 August 2011 at 7:06am

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