June 10th, 2011

Sarah Goes To Flour + Water.

Personally, I am not bothered by dining alone and this night I was especially glad to. I walked in the door at 6:10 and the place was already packed. Doors open at 5:30. I was immediately offered a seat at the bar by a hostess with de rigueur body art. There is an element of cool confidence permeating the space that could give off an air of arrogance. Instead, you are made to feel welcomed and taken care of, not in a perky TGIFridays sense, but by an educated staff capable of having a dialog with customers about the wine and dinner menus.  The space is painted in muted earth tones further warmed by the sunlight streaming through the blinds. It seems every detail has been thoroughly considered with the customer's experience in mind.  Instead of offering bottled water, the bar has filtered sparkling and still water on tap.  Random bottles are filled with the beverage of choice and left on the table adding to the eclectic look of the room.  All of the wine pours are available to taste before making a final decision.  Why can't more places offer this?  How many times have you ordered a glass of wine to find it not quite what you were expecting or worse, oxidized?

There were interesting combinations on the menu that would either never really happen here or that would occur later in the summer. I started with an asparagus soup that came with a battered squash blossom, pea vines and chervil. It was a marriage of textures: silken soup, crunchy blossom and fresh greens. For the main course I debated between a wood fired pizza or a pasta dish. I caved once the raviollini special was described. It would be more fun I decided, on a subsequent visit, to have a pizza taste off with Delfina. The special, boar ravioli with watercress served on a butter sauce, was indulgent. The pasta was just on the underdone side of al dente, but it is probably tough to get the pasta thickness right with such a robust filling. Perhaps the chef got a bit antsy and merely pulled the pillowy morsels a few moments too soon. The dessert offerings were few and simply described. Is this simply elegant or are they simply not interested in devoting the same attention to the final course as the rest of the menu? Happily, it was the former. I chose a basil panna cotta with strawberries and pistachios. The color contrast between the shades of green, red, and white made the dish lively and inviting.  The cool creamy panna cotta with the slightly tart strawberries and salty roasted pistachios resulted in a dish even Goldilocks would love: not too sweet, not too savory, just right and all of it tasty, tasty, tasty!