|Raising the bar of meat and cheesy goodness - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
The lovely people of Artisanal took great care of us that evening, especially in my cheese shellshocked state. The waitstaff are knowledgeable over the dishes and aware of preparation. The sommelier is the most charming fellow you'll be lucky to meet, and he'll steer you in the proper direction for a food/wine pairing. We were brought nibbles to sample, an amuse bouche of tempura style cheese, served up like a bouquet, sitting on skewers set in a rock salt and pink peppercorn-filled glass. Indulgent, simple, and comforting, we pulled each fried puff off the skewer and experienced the childhood joy of pulling each one apart, watching the melted cheese ooze between each pull, in between sips of bubbly sparkling wine.
|Can anyone go wrong with fried cheese? I didn't think so. - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
My mind buzzed with possibilities when I peered over the menu: meats and seafood all prepared in a French style, but dashes of modern twists -- I saw a pork belly appetizer served with a cucmber kimchi. This was Ms. R&R's second visit, so she had already experienced their lovely hangar steak and frites, along with their delightfully airy gougères, and she had nothing but buttery-good things to say about their rich and earthy escargot en croute. I pondered just getting a couple of the appetizers, but I decided to save that for a night in the bar area, having a bottle of bubbly and then snacking on things like the soft egg sardu, steak tartare, or the duck and foie gras rilletes. And definitely a charcuterie platter, as that Spanish ham was just taunting me the whole night. Let that be considered a plan of attack on my next visit!
|Diving into some diver scallops - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
This visit, we went with the diver sea scallops served with a blood orange grenobloise and cauliflower, and a chicken "under a brick" seared to crispy flat perfection with a potato puree and rich garlic jus. Nothing terribly fancy or fussy, just quality simple ingredients, prepared well, and extremely enjoyable as we snapped photos, talked food, and were reminded of the simple joys in life.
|Chicken under a brick - it's bricken good! Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Too sated to order dessert, we were still treated with a platter of sweet samples, compliments of the chef. It was the perfect end to the meal, a tray full of small bites ranging from buttery pistachio cookies, rich chocolate brownies, a light fruit jelly candy, and our favorite -- a buttery citrus petit madeleine. For a restaurant's menu too full of good choices, it was the best possible way to end the night with a sweet flourish.
|So full... couldn't have another bite.. OH! Dessert? - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I always say the sign of a good restaurant is one where you're already planning what to order next, on a near future visit. I think I have the next three orders lined up in my head, and that's not even counting the neighboring Italian-styled Artisanal Table Pizzeria and Enoteca. This was my first experience at a Terrance Brennan restaurant and I was not disappointed. I've been a fan of his work for a long time, dreamily reading about his work at Picholine and all the ways he reminds us of the complexity and joys of cheese, and just food in general. I love the attention to detail in the restaurant, from the printed paper mats on the tables to the casual bistro elegance of the interiors. The printed napkin rings even have the recipe for their signature macaroni and cheese printed on the backside. They want you to walk away from the experience with an inspiration to have your own food adventures, and I think that's a commendable thing. The enjoyment of food is as much about the camaraderie of dining mates in a restaurant as it is the experience of making the food itself in the comfort of one's own home.
|If God is in the details, the Almighty loves cheese, too. - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Happy fromagerie thanks to the people of Artisanal Brasserie. We had a lovely time and we appreciate your patience with us wacky food bloggers as we snapped away with our cameras at each dish of lovely food. I'm definitely planning another visit, as I know Ms. R & R was aiming to sample the Sunday brunch. Looking forward to hearing her report on her blog!