Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another tasting menu at Herons

We enjoyed a wonderful tasting menu at Herons relatively recently, so normally I would not have gone back there so soon. When I learned, though, that the place was about to close for two months for remodeling, I knew we had to make one more visit. We did so tonight.

I'm very glad we did.

The food was even better than before.

Chef Scott Crawford and his Chef de Cuisine, whose name I am embarrassed to admit I did not catch when he came out to chat with us, created a delicious menu that blended items from their normal menus with some dishes they created for us that evening. Check it out (and sorry about the shadows; it's late, and I was in a hurry with the picture).

Every single dish was yummy. The worst was better than most food you'll get at most restaurants, and the best were top-drawer.

Stand-outs abounded. For example, the quail came in two small tender chunks that were so perfectly prepared that I thought the menu might have peaked then. The sous vide pork belly, though, topped it easily; flavorful and rich and perfectly crusted, it was a dream.

The short ribs were even better. I've never tasted short ribs as good. Period. They were rich but not overly so, flavorful, not chewy--simply amazing.

All three dessert courses--yeah, we went there--were wonderful.

I can't say enough good things about the food.

The service, though, is the gaping weakness in Herons' game. The front-of-house staff simply can't keep up with the food. A dozen or more restaurants in this area provide better service when Herons is on its game, and our service tonight was sub-par, to be kind. I sincerely hope that they use the next two months to train the staff in everything from basics--serving and removing sides, dark napkins for those with dark pants or skirts, getting the water right, silverware placement, and on and on--to those touches a great place must provide, such as knowing the menu items and not simply reading the menu text when presenting a dish.

That said, it was still a superb meal. When Herons reopens, save your money, call them, tell them I sent you, ask them to prepare a special tasting menu, and then enjoy a meal you won't forget. You'll pay a dear price, but it's worth it. These guys can cook.

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