after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Russet rustles up some good dishes

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t says:  Two of our friends wanted to go to dinner with us – but the question was, “where?”.  We pulled up our list of usual suspects but wanted something a little more exciting/new.  And then I remembered a little new place that I saw while walking home the other day – Russet!  After some googlage, we found that they had availability, so off we went!

May 2012, Sunday Dinner, Party of 4.  We walked in and the first thing we noticed was just how small a place it was.  The dining area was kind of like a large living room of a row-house (with tall ceilings).  Cute!  There wasn’t a whole lot of stuff decorating the walls/ceiling/tables, so the place was kind of bare – but at least there wouldn’t be any distractions from the food …

their app = grilled asparagus + egg + bacon

Our friends ordered up this app.  From what I can tell, the execution seemed spot-on, however, it was pretty small for costing close to $10.  I only sampled the bacon, which in my book was perfectly crisped.  Sorry – I can’t comment past that.  Overall, it seems that our friends were happy to taste/eat the food, but I still wonder whether even the most perfect of preparations of an egg, some asparagus, and bacon could ever warrant so high a tariff?  Maybe if there was some gold leaf and truffle and cavier and foie in there?

our app = ramp ravioli

When we first got there, we told the server that it was our first time and asked for recommendations.  She explained that “anything pasta” was bound to be good, as all the pasta was made fresh in-house.  Immediately, I eyed a shortrib ?pappardelle? – as I’m a sucker for shortrib.  But that’d be too normal – I wanted to see chef’s chops.  So I changed tunes at the last second and went with the ramp ravioli in what I think was a lemon-butter sauce adorned with some sort of petals (I should have read the menu more closely – they’ve since changed the menu so I can’t even look it up).  Whatever it was, this dish was FANTASTIC.  All four of us agreed that the combo of flavors made for a ravioli that was bright and summery – there’s just something about the way the ramps came through on the palate, presumably unleashed from the filling.  Splendid ravioli texture, too!  Someone knows how to make some pasta!

bacon wrapped halibut

One of our friends opted for bacon-wrapped <insert fish here>.  As you can see, I forgot what the original fish was, but I know that after she had ordered, they informed her that they were instead wrapping halibut in bacon that night.  She agreed to the change, and this is what emerged.  And you know what?  She won dinner.  This fish was wonderful.  It reminded me exactly of the kind of fish that would come out had we been eating at Little Fish.  The vivid bacon flavor absolutely blew me away.  And if that wasn’t enough, the fish cookery was other-worldly-amazing.  I don’t know if it was a fluke or something to have cooked fish so perfectly (we only had one fish dish at the table), but I’d definitely try out a fish dish the next time I go.

t’s main = chicken + veggies

This was my dish – I unfortunately don’t have much to report here.  The chicken was cooked ok.  The jus was a a bit boring.  The vegetables were plain.  But technically, nothing on the dish was actually “bad”, it’s just that on the whole I found the flavors underwhelming.  Is it weird that I’m dinging a dish for tasting like its visible components?  I don’t know – maybe I’m just suffering food-envy, as I was coming off the ramp ravioli and had just tasted the bacon-wrapped halibut.  I’ll leave it as “It was a “good chicken dish”.  But that’s it.

g’s main = gnocchi + ricotta + tomato gravy

This dish came out a little weird.  g ordered gnocchi.  I saw it on the menu.  I heard her order it.  But this was more like rectangles of polenta in texture – very weird.  I guess for polenta, it wasn’t bad, but when I think of gnocchi, I think of soft pillows of homogenous dough – not grainy/gritty pasta.  It was accompanied by globs of ricotta and a tomato sauce and laid over a bed of something [that I didn’t taste], but I just couldn’t get over the gnocchi.  g’s not one to complain [unless some really egregious error has been made], so she let it slide.  I think that this was probably the biggest “pass” for me of the night – maybe someone doesn’t know their pasta?  Or maybe they know their pasta too well, so that meager mortals like ourselves don’t know real gnocchi if it punched us in the face …

Ok, so there were some highs and some lows.  I think Russet deserves a second chance, as I think the times when they got to play with not-boring ingredients (ramps, fish), they really shine.  The prices are a little inflated – their steak was $34!!  At the same time, they are BYO, so that helps, but I have serious doubts if their cow is going to be able to topple other $30 cows (like Bibou’s).   We’ll just have to see!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

17 May 2012 at 9:04am

Posted in Happenings

Tagged with , ,

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