Sunday, October 3, 2010

Emmer and Rye: Take Two

I was at Emmer and Rye again with a party of ten instead of two this time. We were the annoying group who couldn't make up their mind on what to eat or drink. The wait staff was pretty tolerant. They didn't rush us and kept returning to the table to check-in and see if we were ready to actually start spending money. It was loud because there were ten chattering women so the waitress had a little trouble being heard. She made up for this by first speaking to one half of the table and then moving to the other side to repeat what she had just said. With a more commanding voice or presence, she could have made this a one time stop but it was a polite way to deal with her somewhat quiet voice.

My first course consisted of a frisee, artichoke salad with bacon dressing. Bacon and artichokes are a good combination. The salad came together nicely with visible chunks of (non-fatty) bacon on top, crisp frisee that had been torn into bite sized portions and artichoke chunks. The salad was well thought out and nicely presented. It seemed like a brain child. It came with a wedge of super soft cheese that was a good compliment to everything else in the salad. It was one of those dishes that taste best if you take a little bit of each item in the mix and form a manageable bite with it. Those bites were delicious.

My main course was hanger steak with squash, brussels sprouts and cheese. This was a beautifully presented dish. The squash was cut into small flower shaped rounds (the natural shape of the squash). The emptied out center was filled with delicious, crunchy brussels sprouts and cheese. This is my favorite way to eat brussels sprouts when they taste like they have been roasted in the oven, salty and slightly crunchy. These had been cut into small pieces which allowed them to sit in the center of the squash and to maximize the crunchy surface area. The slightly sweet squash, crispy brussels sprouts and cheese made a great combination. The hanger steak was perfectly cooked and soft and tender. Its only downside was that it was cold which I assume was just a kitchen timing issue. With a party of ten, it seems like an easy issue to run into. They served all ten of us at once and it is hard to coordinate that many different dishes to come out at the same time.

Some of my friends complained of small portions, mainly the vegetarian options. They did look a little small and I think in general for vegetarian dishes, there needs to be a little more food.

Our red wine was a Lumus Pinto Noir which I didn't love but that was because it wasn't really the right wine for my meal. The other diners seemed happy with it as we went through two bottles of it and two bottles of white though I didn't imbibe in the white.

The restaurant seemed warmer than the last time I visited. I don't know if that is because I was surrounded by nine other people and was sitting in the center room in the restaurant. It was a Friday night and busy but the service was attentive and prompt and everyone seemed to love their food despite the complaints of size.

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