after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Vernick … flirting with awesomeness

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t says:  We wanted to try up someplace new for my birthday so we took the advice of some Talula’s Garden staff: go to Vernick!  I am lacking time to wax poetic nowadays, so we’re gonna cut straight to the chase …

June 2012, Thursday Dinner, Party of 2.  Whoa.  This place was loud.  I’m not sure if it was the way the space was laid out or maybe if the patrons had too much wine or what, but I found myself barely able to hear g at times.  I was not expecting that for a Thursday dinner.

And whoa.  The patrons are kind of … older.  I’m find with dining with “wiser” patrons, but when g and I are the youngest people in a place, that’s kind of weird.  Further weird, then, is how/why these people were contributing to such a loud atmosphere.

But now the food …

housemade mozzarella + rhubarb + pumpernickel cubes

This was surprising, because this wasn’t some kind of rustic, bread-smearing mozzarella – this was a fancy mozzarella.  It had this rhubarb sauce and that savory pumpernickely rye-twang – it was amazing … small … but amazing.  Definitely one of those times when simplicity surprises you.

hamachi + grapefruit + jalapeno

This was a pretty tasty crudo.  Or perhaps its more like a ceviche because of the pronounced tart grapefruit?  That said, Fond can pretty consistently do something with a better flavor combination, as I feel that this dish was a little disjointed: there was fish and grapefruit and a little green … but it didn’t quite come together.  g, on the other hand, liked it a lot – and she’s the crudo expert of the two of us, so maybe I should re-evaluate my memory …

potato ravioli + braised lamb + long beans

This was the “other” side of Vernick.  While the mozzarella was kind of flirty and zippy and a little shi shi (did I spell that correctly?), this was earthy and powerful and filling.  It reminded me so much of something we’d get from Melograno – it was that good … small … but that good.  The nice chunks of lamb and a flavorful sauce really hit you in the mouth and keep you coming back for more …

the braised beef cheek

The beef cheek was wonderful.  I know you can’t see much in the picture, but imagine a hunk of the softest beef you’ve ever put a fork through – all with a perfectly browned exterior and accompanied by crisp peas, spring beans, and celery.  Celery!  That was the most surprising part of the dish because it took something that’s so heavy and luscious and put some spring in its step.  BUT … there was a drawback … I needed a starch.  And no, I don’t need a starch for the sake of having a starch, rather, I wished I had something to sop up the leftover peas and beans that remained after the meat disappeared into the black hole of my stomach.

We also did the beef tartar which was quite delicious, but could have used a little more cow to tango with the horseradish …

And finally:

g called ahead and pre-arranged dessert!

g, anticipating that I’d order dessert, arranged for both of their chocolatey desserts to come out at the end of the meal.  (She reads me like a book.)  They were actually quite substantial (we couldn’t finish ’em!  and I tried really REALLY hard!).  In the foreground is their version of a candy bar which was layers of chocolate (milk and dark?) and something hazlenutty and something crunchy – it reminded me of nutella … and like nutella, this was awesome.  The butterscotch-chocolate parfait-ish dessert in the background was pretty good, but could have used some texture – maybe some graham on the bottom or something.  Regardless, I was one happy camper with all that chocolate – g knows me through and through.

In conclusion, I have to say that Vernick has some wonderful food.  It’s pretty small (it took 4 apps and a main to appease us … and we’re normally a 3+1 or a 2+2 table), but definitely tasty.  The wine … oh – I forgot to show you:

a lot of wine

They serve a lot of wine per glass … which would be fine … except that I wasn’t a huge fan of the selections I made.  The rose had this earthy hoppiness to it that kind of reminded me of how beer smells.  g’s red, meanwhile, had this grape liqueur-ish quality that was a bit overwhelming.  I guess we can’t fault them for the wines we chose, but surely they were not prototypical examples of the varietals they represented.

Ok – so back to my conclusion: pre-game with a granola bar or something (small portions), brace yourself for tastiness, and stick to cocktails.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

1 July 2012 at 12:00pm

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