Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hollowed Chambers of Good Eats

I can't believe it took me a week to get to this post! My half dozen fans, you must have been devastated! Oh, cruel soul thy name is Joy. I did finally get to eat at a nice restaurant. Thank the lord above! I thought I was never going to see the inside of a complimentary bread basket again.
My extremely attractive, generous and genius coworker- Jane, took me and my girl J.Lo out for a late post-holiday-man-this-job-can-make-you-crazy-thanks-for-not-showing-up-with-that-Uzi lunch. She let me pick, so of course I chose Chambers Kitchen. I can't believe Jean-George has been in town for months now and I'm only just making it over there.
Just getting to the place on Thursday was a bit of a challenge. We tried to take the skyway as far as we could, but when we made it to the connection to the Institute of Arts, they have a sign posted that only students and faculty are allowed inside. Laura paid it no mind and strode in on her gorgeous Cole-Hahn boots. Trying to walk confidently I followed as we wandered around - WITH PURPOSE- looking for an elevator, stairs or some method for escape. Finally, we crammed into what was probably an elevator reserved for the handicapped, breezed out onto the streets past a glowering receptionist. God, we're awesome.
We made our way to the front of the restaurant, past really interesting decor, an open gas fireplace by the door and art deco furniture. Part of the whole thing of the place is that the developer guy that owns the hotel has a ridiculous art collection. Not only ridiculous in scope, size or known names, but just that, there's some ridiculous art in there. Take one picture of a man of some Asian persuasion in what appears to be a studio apartment with pictures of nakkid ladies on the walls, a pack of Marlboro's and a used bottle of lube next to his bed. EW! Or the photo of the hurricane lantern that's filled with cigarettes butts shot blurry like Elizabeth Taylor. What the eff is that? See? This is why I haven't been to the Walker in ages. I get it when I'm looking at something cool/weird in a local gallery or coffee shop. But thousands of dollars for an approximation of a pervert. ...that was probably the title of the work.
So, Mr. Snooty McMetrosexual guided us downstairs to our table. The room is sparse, very white and a little cold. It does give one the same feeling of clean that the people of the 20's must have picked up from the first White Castle's marketing campaign, though.
The bread basket was so good. The first one I tried had rosemary and golden raisins in it. Tender spicy sweet like the holidays and crusty like your old Ant Edna. We ordered the spinach and cheese ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce and the savory mushroom spring rolls with galangal dipping sauce for appetizers. This was also about the time that we ordered wine. I received a gorgeous glass of Pinot Noir. And I swear I'm not copying that Miles character in Sideways, but there really is something about a great Pinot. It was fruity, without being cloying, rich without heaviness and a plumey little delight in fine stemware. That was another thing I noticed. Everything in this place is gorgeous. The plates and bowls are reminiscent of Crate and Barrel, except really fancy. Again, it was all white with clean lines with soft curves. A bowl's edge would dip up on one end and fold over on the other.
The appetizers arrived and I tried not to hork them down in this basement of fine dining. Everything was wonderful and well executed. I think the pasta could have been just a bit more tender. I think maybe if it had been rolled out a little thinner, that might have done the trick. The spring rolls were sauteed in butter, woody mushrooms tucked into a crispy envelope of wrapper and fried. The galangal was a refreshing and mildly spiced green curry sauce in the most adorable dipping bowl that I have ever seen.
We all wanted the ahi tuna burger as an entree, so I thought I'd be the clever one and order something different. Idiot. I had the raw ahi tuna with wasabi pizza. I know. I can see you recoiling from here. But I thought, hey, why not try something new. Because, idiot, you don't try something new when you already know that you're not fond of one of the ingredients. It's true. I hate wasabi. No matter how many times I try it, or try to convince myself that it's good, it's not. I hate it. And there was so much of it on this thing! The entire debacle was an abhorrent combination of soggy pizza crust with a tuna carpaccio smooshing over about half a quart of what I can only guess was a wasabi mayonnaise. There was no ignoring this stuff. Oh, and the sickly texture of raw tuna on soggy pizza crust GAH! What was I thinking!? Luckily, my companions are of a considerate nature and both gave me a quarter of their sandwiches. I absolutely loved those things. From the tippy top fresh bun to the lettuce and spicy ginger flavor through the pleasant texture of the pink, fleshy middle down to the other half of fresh from the oven that day bun. The ahi tuna burger was a complete success. They also serve them with house made potato chips, the best I've had outside of my mama's kitchen. Thinly shaved potatoes fried and heavily salted. It seems to me that when most restaurants do the house made chip thing they either cut the potatoes too thick, or they scorch them into brown oblivion (Firelake, I'm looking at you!) These were better than Old Dutch. Better than Lays! And definitely better than anything I was going to whip up at home.
And then somewhere, between my greedy hovering over my friend's lunches and the revolting mess sitting in front of me, I ordered another soothing glass of wine. Oh... so soothely. Who needs working anyway? There's nothing there! Pssshh.
To the servers credit, they did take the stank pizza off the bill without me saying a word. Leisurely we took care of the check (okay JANE took care of the check, because I sure as hell can't pay for this stuff) and made our way up the stairs. About half a dozen various staff members wished us on our merry way. On the way out the door, we did decided to stop off at the bathroom. Maybe it was wine glass number two, but this place was gorgeous! It's a paean to the lavatory! Again it was very clean with white and aquamarine tiles. The stalls were each closed with a door that went all the way to the floor. They were practically sound proofed! This goes over well for me, a shy pee-er, unless fueled by more wine than should be consumed on a weekday. Even the way the sinks drain off is really cool.
Satisfied and satiated, I grinned as I walked out of the ladies room with the back of my skirt tucked into my underwear.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home