With holidays approaching, out-of-town guests will be arriving on your doorstep and the pressure will be on to entertain. Even without guests, holidays often mean a special night out with friends, your spouse -- or your boss!
I'll toss in some fine dining locations in the coming weeks -- all are excellent choices for special evenings on the town.
The cozy, intimate little bistro only seats 34 diners downstairs -- and only recently added a striking black-and-white themed upstairs area that can squeeze in another 18 or so. I've beat the drum for Chef Patrick McNamara since he opened nearly two years ago. In that time, I've found absolute consistency of the food, service and variety. Chef Pat is the master of creating stunningly beautiful little plates that are culinary canvases. A bite of this, a spoon of that, a splash of exotic finishing oil, a dollop of sensory-tapping reduction; each plate presents like those pictures you see in expensive cookbooks -- only you get to eat these! What to look for on the menu? Anything braised -- from pork cheeks to lamb shank. In particular, Chef Pat has a way with the hoofed beasts: He can turn an ornery cut of lamb into a melt-in-your-mouth, butter tender delicacy. Throw in cauliflower puree, sweet corn succotash and rich, savory pan juices and you've got the makings of a perfect meal. Fish lovers take note: Seared Diver scallops are textbook encrusted on the exterior, and plump, white and moist on the inside. Grouper portions perch atop earthy, rich risotto encircled by decadent buerre blanc. The food is complex in flavor and construction, intricate in presentation and stands without peer in imagination. The wine list is beautifully matched to the menu, thanks to Chef's wife, Jenny, who oversees front-of-house operations, wine list choices and commands a huge repertoire of exotic cocktails. Five to seven course dinners are perfectly portioned and nicely paced. A typical appetizer, entree and dessert meal will be sized appropriately -- you never leave hungry or overly full from Noble Fare.
321 Jefferson St./443-3210
As we approach Thanksgiving, I begin to get ahead of the curve and crave the flavors of this traditional bountiful meal.
I'm hankering for a No. 9. On one hand, Roly Poly is one of a number of wrap/sub/pita joints -- but I'm yet to see anything like a No. 9 anywhere else. What is a No. 9? Also known as the Thanksgiving wrap, good ol' No. 9 contains turkey breast, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, onion, lettuce and fresh basil mayo. It's the entire set of Thanksgiving flavors tightly rolled in a wrap. Honestly, I think it's best minus the onion -- which is sometimes too spicy for the delicate turkey breast. Choose a wheat wrap and the sandwich goes under 280 calories; leave off the mayo and pick up another few points.
It's a satisfying light lunch and a fitting prelude to Turkey day!
114 Barnard St./233-8222