January 29, 2010

Restaurant Week: Dovetail

Rabbit Terrine Mille Feuille at Dovetail

Squid a la Plancha at Dovetail


Perfect Medium Rare Hanger Steak from Dovetail

Dovetail's Vanilla Panna Cotta w/ Clementine Soda (AMAZING)

Tea-infused icecream... Jasmine maybe?

When A.G. of Always Eating alerted me to the pre-release of the Restaurant Week Winter 2010 participants list, I attacked OpenTable with the enthusiasm that I usually reserve for Gilt Groupe's Final 70% Off Sales. Dovetail was the restaurant that I confirmed reservations for (although it will be the second that I attend, after an unplanned dinner to Nice Matin). The lovely name "Dovetail" means to join together harmoniously. Technically, it's a joinery technique found in skilled woodworking. While the dishes weren't literal translations of the name (although the Rabbit Mille Feuille did look a bit like it), the concept was beautifully expressed in the taste and surroundings that my good friend A and I so happily enjoyed.

The dining room was like a comfortable, upscale hotel lounge. We were seated in the front center of the room, separated from another table of two by a modern rectangular lamp perched atop a similarly-shaped pedestal. Our waitress, a friendly fellow blogger, handed us the menu on a leather tablet. The Restaurant Week selection was not in any part derived from the regular a la carte or tasting menus. This suggested to me that Dovetail was aiming to truly showcase their voice and talents, instead of just merely offering an affordable (bite-sized) version like many other Restaurant Week participants do.

We were first greeted with an amuse bouche of blood-red beet puree with a slice of cured salmon and topped with a light crème fraiche. Earth, water, air. Although it wasn't A's "thing," I appreciated this unique introduction to the meal. They also had AMAZING white cheddar cornbread scones. To compliment the dinner, I ordered a glass of Chianti Classico ('06) from Tuscany.

For the appetizer, I had the Rabbit Mille Feuille and A had the Squid a la Plancha. My dish was an eye-catching Jenga-esque tower of frisee, flaky filo sheet, and thin slabs of rabbit terrine. The glorious tower quickly toppled when I tried to cut through it. (Whoever took the time to painstakingly construct this feat of gastronomic engineering, I want to thank you.) The terrine was luxuriously smooth and paired well with the crisp frisee. I also tried a little bit of A's squid, which was quite tender. Overall, I would highly recommend any Dovetail patron to get the Rabbit Mille Feuille if you can.

Shortly after the appetizer, our entrees arrived. I ordered the Hanger Steak (medium rare) and A had the Seared Cod. My meat was pre-cut and glistened with savory juices. It came with a side of beef cheek lasagna, hen of the woods mushrooms and escarole. My steak beat out B's hangar steak from Nice Matin, which was very impressive to say the least. However, the beef cheek could have been a little more tender. A's seared cod came with a few green olives, fennel, chai spice, and a meyer lemon sauce. The cod itself was delicate in texture and flavor, but really came to life when mixed with the other ingredients on the plate.

After dinner, we were presented with an aloe vera gelée and rosehip palette cleanser. I enjoyed it just fine, but for A, it triggered a traumatic flavor memory (Dimatapp). 

Finally, we were wowed by the medley of desserts that landed on our table. In addition to the two that we had ordered, we were presented with a couple of others to taste. A fidgeted like a kid in a candy store while I tried to take some photos. I am glad to say that I made the right choice in my selection. The Vanilla Panna Cotta with clementine soda, and lemon grass gelée was the best out of the four. I simply loved the mandarin-infused fizz with the milky light panna cotta. A was a die-hard fan of her own Almond Bread Pudding. The rum raisin icecream and maple butterscotch syrup definitely also made that dessert a "must try."

This wasn't to say that the Black Forest Gateau cake with cherry purée and vanilla anglaise and the perfectly puffed Chocolate Soufflé with Jasmine Ice cream were forgettable. I quite liked the chocolatey cake (despite being a no-cake-after-dinner person) and soufflé. They would have been fine choices for any chocoholic. However, given the tone of the meal, the Panna Cotta tied everything together more successfully.

Somehow, we finished most of the desserts and I still had room for a trio of petit fours that consisted of a chocolate truffle, pecan sandy cookie, and dried sugar-sprinkled apricot.

Inebriated by good food, we left the warm ambiance of Dovetail and trekked through the frigid cold back to my apartment to make some brownie bites. Post-feast is probably the best time to make dessert because you're not tempted to eat all of them as soon as they're done.

For $35, this meal was a steal and definitely one of the best Restaurant Week meals that I've had in awhile. For those who appreciate wine, an extra $30 allows you to enjoy each course with a specially paired wine.

More pics can be found here.


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