Monday, November 17, 2008

What better excuse to dine out than stimulating the economy? I guess to stimulate your taste buds and open up your wallet. So I have been meaning to try The Cellar for a while now and I have never really been that motivated to go. I am not a big fan of driving far for food most of the time even though my motto is "will travel for food". Of course it would have to be something worthwhile. The Cellar is participating in the Open Table Dining Stimulus this week so I had to come and give it a chance for the set price of $35 for a 3-course meal. Be sure to ask for it because they don't give you the menu.
A new place to try and a new friend to try it with! ^_^ PK and I had a hard time finding the entrance to this place. We were debating on whether to deduct a star for being so hard to find. Eventually we found a corner with some sort of stair case leading down. Hmm ponder ponder... is it really the right place? Eventually we found the right place and slowly made our way down the stairs to a wooden carved door. Inside awaits you a themed dining area. You do feel like you are in a cellar and it has a quite romantic atmosphere/ambiance.
PK and I are like soul mates! We like a lot of the same things, which could lead to issues if we only have a limited amount of the goods! lol As soon as the server mentioned that they had Seared Foie Gras we both had to have it! He also tried to sell us a dessert wine to go with the foie gras and we eventually caved. We only ordered one glass but he was kind enough to give us two glasses for the price of one. It was very sweet and was reminiscent to Ice Wine. The glasses used were so tiny and adorable with grapes etched on the side. As for the foie gras, it was atop a Buttery Toast Crisp. Below is Mashed Potatoes and surrounded by a sweet reduction with flamed Strawberries. To top everything off and add to the presentation is a criss-cross Potato Chip. The foie gras was good but not quite fatty enough and the flavors were fine but it's nothing special. I am always happy when I get to eat seared foie gras and it was a decent size.
We both chose the exact same dishes for all 3 courses. To start off we had the Silky Lobster Bisque with a dash of Armagnac. There were quite a few Lobster bits in the soup that were seasoned separately. They were very tender and flavorful. The soup was tasty, but I have had better. It didn't really pop in flavor, but the lobster inside made up for it.
For our main course, we both chose the grilled Sirloin Steak with Herbed Butter and Tomato Concassé. The steak came out nicely sliced so no steak knife was given. PK didn't think it was anything special and I am inclined to agree. It wasn't bad but it's not something that I would seek out or crave. The sauce actually seemed to be more gravy like with finely diced mushrooms and had a hint of truffle flavor. They get bonus points for reminding me or making me think about truffles but it could've been a certain type of mushroom.
They offered Chocolate or Grand Marnier Soufflé for dessert. My immediate thought is that it's a great value to have these choices for dessert. Sadly, we were let down. We both ordered the Chocolate Soufflé. They brought out the sauce first and then the soufflés. A server poked a hole with a fork and gently poured the sauce inside. I don't know if it was because they messed up or not, but it tasted like Grand Marnier. The sauce or the soufflé had an orange taste, but that is not the reason why we didn't like it. They were somewhat short in execution, texture, and flavor.
All in all the service was extremely friendly and the food was decent. The owner came and greeted us soon after we sat down, which was nice yet a little intimidating. They were very professional in service and presentation. Most of the dishes were covered with a silver traditional lid and uncovered them at the same time. There were a few sauce spots from dessert and a server brought out a napkin to cover it. We were already done with the meal but I guess our table needed to look good! ^_^ Even though we ordered from the OT menu, somehow our bill ended up being $86 per person including tax and tip. Wowzer! The seared foie gras and single wine was quite expensive. I don't know if the meal was worth that much. This is a sign that I probably won't be back when there is no dining deal because it is quite expensive without being quite good. To me it was just aiight.
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