Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Marty L.

Varietal

Recommended Posts

You are in the minority about Hearth's tastiness, but of course your experience is your own. I have no problem with innovation - in fact I enjoy it - but first it has to taste good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

martyL hit it on the head – promising, extensive offer of grower champagnes (pushed a little too hard and before the wines list or menus are presented), somewhat overpriced, hit or miss food but exciting desserts. I didn’t look at the wine list in great detail but the approach is more exploratory than a deep cellar with big verticals.

 

Funky and sleek bar area, mostly white, nice for a drink and seems popular, too. A number of wine flights - good pours, little name tags attached to stems. Enjoyed the Shiraz/Syrah one but the Spanish was ok. A nice white by the glass (Alto Adige perhaps?) and the Joly white recently popping by the glass around town. Prices are a bit steep. You can order from the full menu at the bar.

 

The dining room is quite different, simple yet comfortable (although large photographs of vines and grapes do not a décor make). The glass chandelier is the most elaborate element of the design. Comfortable banquettes, decently spaced tables. We were seated underneath speakers, they graciously turned down the music when asked.

 

Food - savory - needs some work (and kitchen's timing too):

 

Fuyu Persimmon roasted with yellow foot mushrooms, fresh sheep cheese and sage – eh, sounded better on paper, little flavor, forgettable, although a pretty plate

 

Baby Octopus poached in oil served with sunchokes and salsa verde – quite delicious. The long narrow plate may not be best suited for the dish – separated octopus arms were lined across the plate, which is really narrow without a border or something else to keep them from sliding. A touch tricky to eat but very good.

 

Venison – szechuan peppercorn seared loin, sheep yogurt, soy roasted quince, chestnuts – disappointingly flavorless venison, the soy quince wasn’t enough. Didn’t detect any peppercorns. Friends at nearby table also found it short on flavor

 

The cider-tobacco braised pork belly was quite good, came with a juicy roasted piece as well, baby collards and celery root puree. Very satisfying, actually.

 

A lovely mid-course of wahoo fish was sent by the kitchen, I’d go back to have more of this. I don’t remember what it came with but it was delicious.

 

The seemingly complicated desserts worked very well. I liked the Celery Root Abstract with fenugreek toffee, cherry wood ice cream, cocoa nib and yogurt – not so much a celery or wood flavor but the toffee was delicious. The Chocolate Gel was wonderful, esp. the maitake caramel – just an amazing flavor, i could get a jar of it and a spoon. Dessert presentations are quite abstract but attractively plated. Much more successful that the disappointing desserts at wd-50. I like pastry chef Jordan Kahn’s style and would like to go back to try more. A dessert tasting is available; 4 courses (?)

 

Btw, the 7-course tasting menu looked very appealing (2 are desserts) but we were not that hungry and it was pretty late. Another industry friend there that night was very impressed with his tasting and wine pairings.

 

The service was very eager and generally helpful, accommodating and attentive, if still acting a little “new.” Should grow into it with time and practice.

 

The effort is there although kitchen’s timing still needed work a couple of weeks ago – food took long but it may be better already. I hope they do well, given some time, although I do wonder whether the location will support these price points.

 

eta correct spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This new habit of dumping the chef as soon as Bruni (and others) have done their worst is irking.

 

I had been looking forward to trying Varietal, as Bruni inadvertently made it sound appealing - but chef McFarland has now gone, thus rendering the reviews somewhat moot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

typo - yellow foot

Cantharellus tubaeformis or infundibuloformis, mostly.

 

Clearly inferior to C. cibarius and cousins (real chanterelles), but not bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And Wayne Nish, no less, now head chef. Eater also rumors that the joint is on the market, anyway.

 

Swift life cycle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had seen the death watch slapped on top of Varietal.. And if it is true, its always sad to hear of someone elses misfortune.. Especially with a place that had bold aspirations...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anybody tried the Mediations in Purple dessert? New Yorker had an annotated pictorial dissection of the dish's ingredients that interested me.... incl hibiscus. :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This new habit of dumping the chef as soon as Bruni (and others) have done their worst is irking.

 

I had been looking forward to trying Varietal, as Bruni inadvertently made it sound appealing - but chef McFarland has now gone, thus rendering the reviews somewhat moot.

 

McFarland? The chef was Ed Witt. His departure follows the announced departure a few days ago of pastry chef Jordan Kahn. Kahn posted on eGullet regarding his feelings about Varietal's poor reviews and his future plans: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...0entry1387644

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kahn posted on eGullet regarding his feelings about Varietal's poor reviews and his future plans: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...0entry1387644

I think his statement raised more questions then it answered.

 

As I mentioned in a post later on the aforementioned thread, how could someone be thinking of resigning for "quite some time" when the restaurant was open a mere three months?

 

There's obviously a lot more to the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha.. yah, that does sound odd.. But he certainly is a classy guy for not going into the details..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha.. yah, that does sound odd.. But he certainly is a classy guy for not going into the details..

 

That's very true Daniel. But with something like this an individual should re-read what they write because statements made in a vacuum can make one look silly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My error: the news reports I pulled up on Varietal's chef quitting also covered Ed (McFarland)'s Lobster Bar, and my cursory glance confused the two Eds. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...