Dawn this morning, courtesy of the cats' breakfast time. Over our human breakfast of coffee and challah bread (or kitka, as I grew up calling) it, we realized that it is two years ago today that we met. Vince and I. I've known the cat much longer. For coffee at Newark Airport. For which Vince flew across the country, and for which I took a cab. Then I brought him home.
We had a good day today, fraught at the end, with re-entry into Manhattan traffic and bad manners, from a day far out on the North Fork for plant shopping, but that was just bad luck. The middle of the day was beautiful - I will post pictures tomorrow - and now we are going to splurge for dinner at Saul's. I hope it's good. I've eaten well there twice, but not for a long time.
9/22/2009 - How was dinner you ask?
We tossed down shot glasses of an amuse bouche of sugar snap pea soup, which was the best thing I ate all night.
I had the $35 three course prix fixe, starting with duck confit on a bed of lentils: this was a whole duck leg and thigh, on delicious lentils, with pickled okra thinly sliced on top as a garnish; the okra was flavoured strongly with coriander seeds, which made me homesick, and was a little slimy for my taste (picture strings of, as you lift the fork). The duck was excellent, though. The other choice was bacon and onion tart, which I was hard-pressed not to choose. Vince had the foie gras terrine, a very, very (small!) modest slice, with a grape (I think) jelly and toast. Excellent.
Main course for me was pork loin on a bed of green stuff, pureed, and not identified (we were told, I forgot) with fingerling potatoes and pieces of roast apple. It was cooked beautifully, still a little pink. A modest portion in a huuuuuge white bowl - very pretty.
Vince's main course was a $36 confection which perturbed me and delighted him: flank steak and short rib, the latter cooked long and to perfection and the former seared and meltingly tender. The presentation? The same pureed green stuff, then a layer of pureed yellow stuff (potato), then slices of the flank (about 4-5 small rare slices) pressed into the potato, then the small hunk of shortrib at the head, then a cippollino onion on the shortrib. It looked like a long flat fish? A flounder? Was it supposed to? It thought it awfully clunky and inelegant. Maybe it was a food joke? It tasted wonderful. It looked like it had fallen. Or been caught. Or run over.
Then Vince had my baked Alaska which looked like a sweet, quilted, padded hedgehog. Too sweet for me, but he lapped it up.
I was happy that we tried both ends of the menu, high and low. Was it worth it? - we had a wonderful time. Maybe that is the answer. Is it justified, I don't know. I would say the prix fixe is very well organized and presented, and would choose it again. My feeling is that the a la carte dishes are over-priced. I've eaten very well at other restaurants which could charge the same prices, but don't. They charge a little more than half of the $36 one. I suppose it's what the market can stand.
There is the issue of the great white bowls and plates and leatherbound menus - 4 menus: tasting, prix fixe, a la carte, wine - for each meal, and goldfish bowl sized glasses... all this costs more than a paper menu and mismatched cutlery. Saul's has a Michelin star.
Maybe I've become provincial. We'll be slumming at home for a while.