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Terrance Brennan @Chefs Club

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The menu is described as "small plates, meant to be shared amongst tables of friends," which sometimes seems true, but unfortunately I brought only one friend, and we ended up at the bar. More about that later. The smoked salmon rillettes absolutely must be shared, as they are obscenely rich, and very good. The shareable beau soleil oysters were terrific. The shareable fritto misto, light but a bit too salty, was composed of squid rings, shrimp tails and shrimp heads - which did not seem to be from the same type of shrimp, oddly. We also had some less shareable stuff, like this cucumber gazpacho with peekytoe crab. The crab didn't make much of an impression, but the tiny melon balls (not pictured as they are submerged) were very nice, and quite refreshing after the smoke and the fry.




A stone fruit, heirloom tomato and burrata salad was somewhat oddly garnished with seaweed, but whatever, seaweed is fine by me. The tomato puree was excellent.




The bread warrants a special mention, because it was perfect, and because it took so long to get to us. More about that later, too.




We finished with this pavlova, filled with something called "lemon diplomat." It's pastry cream, and I guess it's very tactful?




More notable than any of the food, which was overall fine, but nothing I'd order again (except for the bread, maybe) was the bizarre service. Everyone was super nice; that wasn't the problem. The intrigue began before we even arrived, when I couldn't figure out whether we'd be able to order a la carte, as opposed to prix fixe, at a table. The person on the phone said yes, but the website said no, which made me anxious (it's yes, if you're wondering). Then I started getting voice mails and text messages asking me to confirm my reservation, and then re-confirm, and then re-re-confirm, and then reminding me that I was "due at Chefs Club in thirty minutes." This might be Resy's doing, and not Chefs Club, so I'll give the restaurant a pass, but man, it was irritating.


When we arrived at around 6:45, the restaurant was nearly empty. There were a few people at the bar, one or two tables were full, there was a couple seated at the front counter. But that's it, and it's a big room. The point being, we could've been sat almost anywhere. At the back counter, a (I assume) manager was making a presentation to a clutch of (I assume) event planners about how the restaurant could do "dinner parties" for large groups. She was also offering tastings, so there were several plates of half-eaten food on the counter, along with prep containers of vegetables and such. And that's where we were seated, not amongst friends, but amongst a sales pitch and surrounded by detritus. I asked to be moved to the bar and was immediately accommodated, although our server and the (I assume) manager seemed quite puzzled by this request. There were other issues. That crazy-rich salmon was an enormous portion, nearly a pint. It was served with two business-card-sized pieces of toast, as if we were expected to, I dunno, use the toast as a conveyance for the salmon rather than eating it. I asked for more. I got two more pieces. I gave up.


The pacing of the dishes was absurdly uneven. All three appetizers came out in under ten minutes. Once those plates were cleared, we didn't see our entrees for more than half an hour. I ordered bread (since no one wanted to give me enough toast). I was told it cost $5. Fine - that salmon isn't going to eat itself. After 20ish minutes, I wondered where the bread might be. Ten minutes after THAT, we received it, along with the bartender's assurance that it would be comped. Yay. That bartender was a bright spot. Aside from making us a couple of spectacular "bartender's choice" cocktails, a "riff on an Aviation" for me, and a vodka/cucumber/something else for medium-sized H, he also did his best to stay on top of whatever the hell was going on with our food. With limited success, but at least he tried. Such a weird night! But still a decent time.

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That sounds like Anthony.


The place seems to just keep getting weirder.

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