"Mm, this is delicious," Kathryn said enthusiastically after biting into her spearfish.
I plopped a small, delicate, cutely scrunched up duck raviole (it probably had a more descriptive name, but my receipt simply says RAVIOLE, thus I am actually giving you more information than I'm obligated to for not having taken notes) into my mouth. Commence chewing.
...Hm. Okay Robyn, come up with something to say, preferably descriptive, or at least more so than, "Tastes like raviole", not that you would even say that due to a lack of raviole eating experiences.
"...This tastes good."
NO NO, Robyn, you failed! Chuck Norris is gonna ninja-kick your face in for such a lame description. Say something better.
You still failed.
"I DUNNO WHAT THIS TASTES LIKE, BUT I LIKE IT."
Okay, that's as good as I can do. I was looking forward to eating lunch at DB Bistro Moderne for Restaurant Week because as as the first expensive dining experience I've had in NYC (anywhere comparable would have occured NJ before I had a blog), I could have fun eating the food and writing something worthwhile about it. It also means that I have almost nothing to compare it to, since as you've noticed, my diet consists mainly of persimmons (the ones that make it all the way through my digestive tract), cookies, sugar, and carbs.
We were a bit late for our 11:45 AM lunch reservation due to evil medical practitioners (no offense to the non-evil medical practitioners; yer ooookay!) but we were still seated in the dining room, by the extra coveted space in front of "scary giant pictures of scary giant red flowers that might be carnivorous and would go really well in Satan's botanical garden".
[A sidenote: If I wasn't sure before, I'm pretty sure now that I'm not comfortable talking to adults, specifically of the maitre d' variety, more specifically of the tall maitre d' variety. While I usually fail at speaking skills, they get worse when I'm nervous and turn me into some unintentionally rude person who speaks too fast and doens't let the other person finish his sentences, perhaps like a nervous puppy, if the puppy were...oh, human. Whether I will ever rectify this simple rule of etiquette is unknown, but I'm thinking they won't since I'll be stuck in child-mode for the next 20 years. It's just a part of my genes.]
Scary flowers! What was I talking about? Oh yeah...food.
We started off with the complimentary bread. Ain't that pretty? Unfortunately, we only got to try one piece each. Surprisingly, I didn't dig into the bread and slather it all with butter right away, deciding instead to leave my stomach open for the real food (not that bread isn't real food, but you probably shouldn't do what I sometimes do and eat it as a meal). But the bread! MY GOD, I LOVE BREAD YET I ONLY ATE ONE PIECE (one of the two center-slices)! And it was a really good piece! I wish I could say more about it than that, but I can't. The bread was good. Obviously. If they screwed up something so simple, I'd worry. Or blame it on the Satanic flowers.
I started with this bibb lettuce salad while Kathryn ordered a yummy smelling squash soup. It was a nice shade of yellow (just imagine what a nice shade of yellow is in squash terms) and had "surprises" in (well, the garnishes on top that Kathryn stirred in). I'm sure it was more satisfying than my salad, not because my salad was bad but because it was a salad. How often do you see me feature salads in this blog? Yeeeeah. I don't hate salads, but they're not in my "top ten non-sweet foods I'd choose to eat if I could eat anything I wanted". It's probably not in my top 20. ...Well, maybe a seaweed salad would be.
So, the salad! I wouldn't want to eat a bucket of it, but it was very nice and I naturally ate it all. The easiest way for me to describe anything is to say "there was nothing wrong with it". All the ingredients--lettuce, smoked salmon, sliced heart of palm, baby asparagus (or really thin normal asparagus?), baby tomatoes, and dill--were flavorful and nothing was too overpowering or weak. The vinegarette dressing was very light but gave just enough flavor (you know, of vinegar and oil; I probably didn't need to describe that to you). I really liked the dill, even though there was maybe a total of three pieces in the whole salad. But that's why it's not a "dill" salad...wait, maybe I would like a dill salad! Do people make dill salads? Make me one.
Kathryn's spearfish (garnished with chickpeas and some kind of celery chutney, a little salad, and whatever that puddle-y sauce around it is) reminded me of tuna steak; it's a meaty fish. An unfishy fish. A fish that crosses the species barrier into POULTRY, perhaps. Anyhoo, I don't have much else to say besides that it was very tasty stuff and I wouldn't have minded eating it as my entree. Obviously, I forgot what the seasoning was exactly. "Tasty and inoffensive."
Ah HA, it's my indescribable duck raviole. The first impression I got before actually ingesting anything was of cheese. A pleasing, lightly cheesy scent wafted (oh man, don't you love that word?...okay, maybe not) into my face, which implies it went up my nose since that's a good place for smells to go. Unfortunately, I can't say much about the raviole (man, I just wanna call them "really cute dumplings") because I CANNOT INDENTIFY FLAVORS, making me wonder if I'm a nontaster, or if I'm just not familiar enough with flavors to be able to identify them. Well, whatever the flavors were (nothing easily recognizable I suppose, and nothing spicy or pungent), they well well together. The mashed duck filling (I like the word "mashed", alright?) nor the pasta skin was heavy. Once again, "there was nothing wrong with it". I guess that also means that nothing wowed me out of my pants (...I don't have an aside for this one) but the amount in the dish, the size of each REALLY CUTE DUMPLING (harhar, I said it!), and the consistency and density (I feel like there's a better word for that) of the filling all agree with me. Again, I cleaned my plate.
And what comes next? Only the BEST PART OF THE MEAL EVERRR!
Kathryn and I got the same dessert, whose official name I don't know (the receipt descriptively labels it "Cherry"), but it's basically chocolate mousse in a chocolate crust with fresh cherry halves (not preserved or uber-sweet, thankfully) in some kind of cherry sauce accompanied by vanilla ice cream something-or-other.
I feel awful for not knowing the "real" name of this frozen accompaniment, but it seemed to be listed as an afterhought on the menu. You know the subdued italic line of text below the ALL IN CAPS title that a dish has? You're like, "Oh, it comes with the thing in italics; that's nice." It's like a bonus, but the bonus isn't supposed to overpower the main thing. Is it? IS IT? Well. This little, lovingly shaped frozen vanilla blop was easily the best part of the whole meal. I think my exact words were:
"Oh my god, I love it." [blah blah blah, repeat 10x] It truly excited me.
We were perplexed because we didn't really know what it was made of. It wasn't ice cream, but not gelato. It didn't seem like sorbet either. But certainly it was...one of those? It reminded me of something made of nut milk but I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Our spoons cut through without any effort. I wanted to savor it, but frozen things have that problem of melting, which changes it from "delicious blop" into "inedible puddle that I would lick up if that weren't so unsightly". The blop rested on a bed of what Kathryn called "chocolate soil" (or [something] soil) which we thought tasted like an Oreo, but surely wasn't. If not for the vanilla blop, the dessert probably wouldn't been more disappointing than the other dishes, but instead it was SO AWESOME.
Overall impression: definitely worth $30 to have a three-course lunch with a good friend. The food was really fast and service was...efficient, maybe a little too much. Not that I planned on lingering, but since we were late we certainly wouldn't sit around and nibble our food for hours, but I was kinda surprised when one waiter (I'm not sure how many people served us; it probably wasn't that many, but I wasn't paying attention) moved my plate away and...it seemed random. It was a subtle way of shouting, "MAKE WAY FOR THE NEXT PLATE!" Anyhoo. Food was good, but I'd be happy just eating dessert and bread.
On a random note, I went to the Green Bakery and could've sworn I bought four cookies (three for a friend, one for me), but looked in my bag (long after I had left the bakery; hey, I stuffed it in my backpack and I was in a rush) and saw three. Hm. My first thought was, "NO WAY, I definitely paid for four!" but not I'm not sure because god knows my memory isn't exactly set in stone (more like an Etch-A-Sketch). However, after thinking about it for WAY TOO LONG, I really think I paid for four. Which is odd. Maybe the clerk was out of it. I'm going back tomorrow morning to see if I can REGAIN MY LOST $2 and shall let you know the demise of my oatmeal cookie that I longed for with all my tastebuds.
On a last note, my appetite is still in it's waned state. Despite what I just said about the cookie I "lost", cookies aren't that tempting when you're not hungry. But I'll still go back for it.
EDIT (1/25/06): I just remembered something that bothered me about the restaurant; the reception desk was in the middle of the room. Kinda. There's a pathway through the front dining room that leads to a raised reception and bar area and goes further to another dining room. Is this pretty common or am I right in thinking it's somewhat awkward? In order to get seated you first walk past tables of diners. During our lunch, there was a long line of people right by us waiting to get in (well, they were inside but...you know what I mean). I'm wondering why they'd plan the orientation that way; so far I've figured that at least with the desk far from the door, people will wait inside and not huddle around the entrance, but isn't it still an odd orientation? Oor...um...someone give me other reasons.
I thought more about the lack of bread eating and remembered that when I eat bread at a restaurant (which is rare since most restaurants I go to don't serve bread) it's because I'm waiting for my actual food. How to spend the time? EAT! However, the food was quick (not too quick as though the plates were being shot at us, but I was surprised by how fast it was) so I didn't give much thought to eating the bread. Also, I wasn't that hungry...but it's bread!
Another thing: I got my cookie! I probably shouldn't have felt so weird/embarrased about it, but...I did. I mean. IT'S ONE FREAKIN' COOKIE. The guy working at the bakery this morning (same guy I saw yesterday) was nice had no problem giving me another one after I told my "I though I bought four cookies" story, which probably made me look insane/stupid/cookie monster-esque. Sadly, I found that the oatmeal cookie isn't nearly as good as the chocolate chip cookie one, but it's hard for anything to be as tasty as that. I EXPECTED PERFECTION! *sobs* Oh well, more on that later.