Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Restaurant Week Take 1

This is the best picture I got from Marliave because of the dark lighting, everything else came out either really dark, or seriously overexposed.

Our first offering for this years Restaurant Week was Marliave an old classic that was recently bought and reworked by the people who own Grotto, one of my favorite Italian restaurants.
Marliave's restaurant week menu was rather extensive, offering a large variety of choices in each section of the menu. They are also extending their restaurant week all month long and are among the growing number of restaurants including Saturdays in their restaurant week lineup. We started off with drinks from their unique drink menu. While I found the drink menu overwhelming I ordered the same drink as my friend Pam a Tres Crurieux its, bitterness combined with the added bubbles from a shot of champagne made this one a great pre-dinner and accompaniment drink. Yellow Journalism seemed like a good idea to one of my friends combining pear nectar with champagne but the taste was not what was anticipated, more bitter than sweet with a dry aftertaste.

From there we moved on to dinner, I have been oddly fascinated with oxtail lately ( though I have no desire to make it myself) so I went with the oxtail ravioli for my appetizer. We did have a serious problem at this point. four of us were eating together and only two appetizers arrived at the table (admittedly topped with silver warming lids) and we were informed that there had been a mix-up. Now take into account that we were one of 5 full tables in the restaurant and I call that a big problem. It took another 15 minutes to rustle up the missing appetizers, not a great testament to the general service quality. The oxtail ravioli were interesting. Fresh tender pasta encased salty tender bits of meat that was immersed in a sauce that felt like french onion soup that had been severely reduced. The onions and the beef complimented each other nicely though overall I was expecting more both from the portions, the entire dish consisted of two raviolis, and from the overall flavor of the dish.

For my entree I selected the individual beef wellington with foie-gras and Duxelles. Again the service issues interrupted our meal. While every one's order was actually placed this time, it took twenty minutes in between finishing our appetizers and receiving our dinner. We happily talked away not really noticing the time but missing our food terribly. When it finally arrived again I was disappointed. The puff pastry was severely undercooked on the bottom of the dish, the Duxelles were cut extremely small which created an odd addition to the piece and the foie gras was simply a bad idea. When eaten with the meat it gave the beef an odd taste and mostly just did not fit in with the meal at all and the beef was unremarkable.

Finally we came to dessert and another very long wait between courses. At this point we were all beginning to get a little antsy, and we started discussing the lag time. I ordered the flourless chocolate cake, not surprising, and I was unimpressed. The chocolate was too sweet and while they had clearly used nuts to bind the cake they didn't use enough to give it a good nutty texture or flavor.

Now, they did comp two of our drinks for all of the service woes, but not the drink of one of the people who had their appetizers forgotten.

Marliave was an underwhelming experience, and though I might go back for drinks at some point, considering their regular prices I don't think I'll be returning for dinner any time soon.

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