Saturday, August 25, 2007

Restaurant Week

Last night was an evening to remember!

Rafa had made reservations at the swanky and very very posh One If By Land, Two If By Sea restaurant in the Village. I've never been there but I know my sister and brother-in-law went there for a romantic anniversary dinner not too long ago.

It's Restaurant Week in New York, so a lot of posh restaurants are offering menus at more reasonable prices to lure in customers and give anyone a luxurious dining experience in this food capital.

At the restaurant, the Prix Fixe 'Restaurant Week' menu was only $35 a head, not including drinks, tax and tip. Here's an idea of what we were offered here.

The place was really magical. We waited to be seated on leather chairs near the bar. The piano, ready to be played, sat in the main waiting area. Then we were escorted upstairs to the most elegant room... This was a carriage house during the Revolutionary Period, so the ceilings were high with a fireplace, or two, in each room. At our table, the hostess lit a tall candle for us, next to a vase of freshly picked roses.

This restaurant looks, and feels, like the type of place a couple would go to get engaged. I'm surprised no one got engaged the night we went! Everything about the meal was perfect. No detail left untouched. This is what we had:

Appetizer: Seared Gulf Prawns -- garganelli with zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and toasted almonds
Entree: Thai Marinated Roasted Free Range Chicken -- sesame-whipped potatoes with sweet corn and baby bok choy
Dessert: Assortment of sorbets -- raspberry, peach and caramel

Appetizer: Golden Tomato Gazpacho -- heirloom tomatoes and Maine lobster
Entree: Anise Scented Seared Pork Tenderloin -- sour cherries in port wine with soft polenta, garden beans and braised pearl onions
Dessert: Warm Chocolate Mi Cuit (if you're wondering what that is, we were too. It's a warm chocolate cake -- very rich, VERY good!)

To be honest, we were a bit dubious about what our experience would be like, because Restaurant Week is hit and miss. Sometimes you go to an expensive restaurant, and pay $35 for a plate of spaghetti. The chefs would give you a watered down version of the actual menu, saving the expensive ingredients for the 'real' guests. This experience was definitely a hit for us! We sat there, dressed very posh, sipping our drinks, listening to the live piano player below. It was one of those nights that transported us from the life we are used to. If your city or town offers something like Restaurant Week, you should definitely try it out. You may never know what a wonderful night awaits you.

**Postscript: I just remembered a funny moment from dinner. When Rafa was telling me how much he enjoyed his meal and how he loved eating 'out of the ordinary' combinations of food, he said he was cool with his whole plate except for the weird looking grapes. He couldn't bring himself to eat them. I took his word for it because I didn't read his menu item closely when I ordered mine. Now I see the 'weird looking grapes' were actually pearl onions. LOL.

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