Friday, October 24, 2008

Sel de la Terre!

After my crazy eating day, we almost skipped dinner. We pushed our 8:30 reservations to 9:15, then canceled them altogether, considered going to a chinese restaurant or maybe staying at home, and around 9 finally decided to get dressed and at least go out for drinks. Well what do you know, we ended up at Sel de la Terre anyways! But before that we checked out the new Mandarin Oriental hotel and bar. The hotel lobby was NOT impressive at all. The one is New York is so beautiful. We used to live a block away from it and every morning on the way to the Subway (and back) I passed by it, wishing I could live there instead (although our apartment was quite nice too, I can't really complain). This was just a regular hotel lobby, but there was a line inside to get into the bar! I've decided that I'm too old to wait in lines for bars, so as hot as it looked, I was not interested. The adjacent restaurant looked super hot though, and I think it must be added to the "must-go to list." It was a little too fancy for tonight though, given that we were not celebrating anything and I already declared that I wasn't having dessert. Next time.

Sel de la Terre bar was actually hopping too, so we decided to get a table upstairs instead. My husband was quite hungry at that point (it was maybe 9:30pm?) and I was kind of ok with eating again (over 6 hours after my chocolate snack). We looked through the cocktail menu first, but nothing jumped out at me. Honestly, I didn't know what most of the stuff was. It was very pricey for Boston too - $14 for something I wasn't sure I would like was a bit much. Anyways, we decided to order a bottle of wine first and have cocktails for dessert, either there or some place else in the neighborhood.

Here is me with my first glass of wine:

I drank maybe 3 glasses with dinner. We ordered the tasting of three petits goûters which included (from left to right) the chickpea-olive oil emulsion with toasted Mediterranean spices, the eggplant-goat cheese purée with toasted black walnuts, and a selection of imported French olives. This was served with some bread and sweet butter.

I didn't taste the eggplant in the eggplant-goat cheese thing. It just tasted like a super creamy goat cheese spread and was superb! The chickpea "emulsion" didn't amaze me (some spice in there wasn't my taste) and the olives were good, but who are we kidding, olives are olives. The bread was nice and the butter was nice too, but I wasn't craving sweet butter (my husband thinks it was mixed with maple syrup - I had a tiny taste and didn't care to spend the time or calories to "investigate furthter"). Throughout the night, I had about 3 little pieces of bread, mostly with the goat cheese. I would say, it was possibly the highlight of the meal for me.

We also split the sautéed Maine crabcakes with lemon aioli, shaved artichoke, crispy Serano ham and golden raisins. The waitress went ahead and split the order into 2 plates for us, before it was served. Major brownie points for that one! Here is my half of the appetizer:

There are some artichokes and raisins hiding under that salad. The crab cake tasted very fishy, like a fish cake really, not a crab cake. It wasn't bad (or amazing for that matter), just different. I would say a creamy nice fish cake, yes. The salad was awesome though! It came with a great lemon dressing and the sweet flavors of the raisins complemented the rest of the dish very nicely. Now that I think about it, maybe that was the best part of the meal (or maybe I just didn't have enough veggies today :D)!

For my entree I couldn't decide what to order so I asked the waitress for a recommendation. She highly recommended the bacon wrapped rabbit with chanterelles, roasted shallots and confit baby Yukons and pomegranate jus, and I decided to be adventerous and ordered it. My husband was shocked! Here it is, beautifully presented:

I know this is going to sound funny, but it tasted just like chicken! Seriously, I think they could have made it with chicken and it would have tasted the same and would have been cheaper (and maybe more people would order it because I'm sure many Americans are grossed out by the idea of eating rabbits... I'm kind of grossed out too but a foodie's gotta do what a foodie's gotta do, right?). The pomegranite seeds were a really great touch! Everything was nicely cooked, was very juicy and well paired, but I wasn't wowed. In fact, the whole meal was very good, the service was good, the atmosphere was nice (very clean and relaxing) but nothing was really spectacular. We didn't have dessert (I think this may be a first in history! ok, probably not, but it's certainly a rare occasion) so we ended the meal with just finishing our bottle of wine. I will probably go back there because it was a pleasant experience, but I wouldn't be dying to go back because of a craving for something. Maybe their dessert would have wowed me, or maybe I'll be in a less critical mood next time :) Overall, we had fun and I'm glad we went out instead of being lame on a Friday night. We went home after dinner, because we were both pretty stuffed. We all know how much I ate today. My stomach really hates me right now :(

I'm leaving you with a picture of my husband's steak frites. The steak was waaay too fatty for my taste, but he loved it.

See you tomorrow with a post on tomorrow's eats...

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