after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Fitler Dining Room

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t says:  g and I have been psyched about the Pub & Kitchen expansion for quite a while; Meme wasn’t bad (for dinner), but it just wasn’t thrilling enough.  And as the P&K crew moved in, set up shop, and painted over Meme’s yellow, g and I have been peering in windows and open doors (when we could – they kept stuff under wraps for a while), hardly able to contain ourselves.  For the record – it’s not because we think P&K is actually all that good in terms of food, rather, just because the new Fitler Dining Room is physically the closest restaurant to our front door … so of course we were hoping for deliciousness!

February 2013, Sunday Dinner, Party of 3.  We got together with bw to celebrate FDR’s opening.  The menu looked a little pricey, but we just had to try it.  I have to say that the person on the phone wasn’t particularly nice to me when I asked how much corkage would be, addressing me with a tone of superiority as if it would be unthinkable that a patron would want to bring their own wine to their establishment.  Look.  I’m sure your wineguy/gal did a very nice job on your wine list.  I’m sure that your wines taste fine.  All I’m saying is that the emotional connection I have to a wine that I went out of my way to hunt for and acquire (and in some cases, transported thousands of miles on a plane) might make something taste more-better than something I know that I’m paying a 100-200-300% markup for … (As a former neuroscientist and human being, I can safely say that state of mind dramatically affects perceived tastes … why else does “every table wine in every restaurant in <insert French or Italian city here> taste way better than those in the US”?  It’s cuz you’re frickin’ in that French/Italian city on vacation!  duh!).  Ok, stepping down from my soapbox: I did find a cab franc on their list that was actually quite delicious – almost worth the amount that I paid for it!  And g sipped on Gruet – an old-time standby in our home for bubbly wine.  bw had some other sparkling which I’m not recalling …

Now for the the pictures!

good glasses!

the inside of the place is dimly lit (in a good way) and featuered nice dark tablet-tops, plenty-big wine and water glasses – it really looks quite nice in there – like a good date spot.  Also, the servers are clad in Japanese selvage denim aprons (but they couldn’t tell me more about them – I was quite intrigued!  I might want to acquire one of those!)  It has the feel of a small-cozy Brooklyn restaurant but with a nice clean aesthetic and a dose of nonchalance (real nonchalance – not contrived hipster nonchalance).  That said, the servers were spot-on with a polite attitude, constant attentiveness, and precise execution – it was like they’ve been doing this for months, not days …

gnocchi

pillow-soft gnocchi and tender escargot.  no – the escargot on their own were not as nearly as good as Bibou’s, but the glory of this dish is that they are not the star – they contribute one component of flavor that is so deftly combined with each and every single other item on the dish.  I went hunting so that each fork could have a little bit of everything, and boy was I happy when it worked out.  Who knew a toasty hazelnut, a wondeful gnocchi, a tender snail, some herbs and carrot would all come together into something so delicious?  True, the combination is a little “fussy”, but boy is it worth it.

salad

salad: fresh, crisp, nicely dressed = delicious.  simple and to the point … like a sharp knife.

short rib

Shortrib: deciding to see what FDR would do with an already-awesome cut of meat, I ventured the shortrib – I didn’t care if it’s “soooo 2008”.  It was the most expensive thing on the menu, coming in at ?$28?, but hey – I’m worth it.  Well, the hunk of meat was ginorous.  Seriously – look at it!  The bone reminded you of what exactly a cow rib looks like.  The meat was cooked perfectly with a beautiful glaze/jus, and it balanced beautifully opposite the Cab Franc I had ordered.  If I might make one request, it would to have ~20% less meat and give me a little more starch for balance.  Every single thing on the dish was perfectly cooked – but I would like a counterpoint to the meat that’s a little more substantial.

fish

“special”arctic char: precisely cooked on top of a sweet butternut squash puree.  It was a beautiful piece of fish, but the skin was impervious to the butterknife that g was given – but that’s not a negative of the cookery, rather, an issue of useless knives – don’t hold back on giving fish-eaters an actually sharp knife!  (PS if you were really baller, FDR, you would have non-serrated steak knives – I haven’t seen a restaurant with these yet as they necessitate hand-cleaning, but I would give you such mad props if you had these and selvage denim aprons)

cake

carrot cake: solid dessert item – the ice cream really stole the show, but the cake and obnoxiously-splattered sauce tasted good as well – I have no beef with this dessert aside from its presentation …

bw had an assort of items as well, however, I suspect that he was a little less thrilled.  For his main, it featured a few versions of pork, including a boudin blanc (aka sausage).  He, too, felt that a little more counterpoint to meat would have been nice – be it a starch or vegetable – as otherwise it was a plate of meat.  The cheese selection was a little on the wimpier side, but you can’t expect Talula’s Garden’s cheese-person at every restaurant, right?

So, in summary, I have to say that we saw a lot of things we liked at FDR, including a high level of cookery and a lot of good flavors.  Going forward, I think striving for a bit more balance in the components of the dish is going to be key in those meat dishes.  The tariff is quite high – between the $25+ entrees and the no-BYO+no-corkage-allowed, meaning that I fear that this place is going to be more of a “date” place for g and me (kinda like Valentine’s Day occasion).  That’s sad because g and I were hoping that this could be “our” place – but it’s not allowed to be if you can’t afford to go there at least twice a month.  Oh well – it was delicious, and now we know we can go, so we’ll keep it in our back pocket … in case of forgotten holidays or last-minute-out-of-town visitors.

P.S. if anyone knows where I can get one of those aprons, hit up our email!

P.P.S. yea – Philly Mag is going to <3 this place … which is sad because they also <3 Meme, too, and look what happened there!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

6 March 2013 at 1:03pm

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