Restaurant Week reviews: Tell us yours
Steph and I felt like ladies who lunch as we strolled into the Greenhouse restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel yesterday afternoon. That's one of the perks of Restaurant Week: it gives you a reason to pretend you lead a life full of leisurely, three-course lunches. The hostess led us back to a table in a small room just off the Greenhouse's main dining room.
The all-glass ceiling shed cool noontime light on the black-and-white tiled floor, lending the room a winter-garden feel. Servers anticipated all of our needs and desires: courses were changed seamlessly, silverware swapped without a hitch and Steph's iced tea always full. It was like dining in a Jane Austen novel.
Our dishes were good, but not quite as stunningly executed. Our picks from the very limited Restaurant Week menu included a salmon tartare appetizer that looked divine -- dressed with frisee and slivers of red grapefruit -- but it was overpowered by the rather blah creme fraiche. A large cobb salad had promise, but ended up light on flavor. I found myself digging under my rockfish for the white-bean-and-ham jumble underneath; the accoutrement was much more entertaining than the dish's main event. Highlights included roasted tomato soup and an apple crumble dessert. In both, the rich flavors of the fruit were infused in every bite.
Another day, another hotel restaurant. I booked my Tuesday lunch at J&G Steakhouse, hoping to finally see for myself what all the good buzz was about. J&G is the perfect Restaurant Week spot for someone like me. It's pricey enough that the Restaurant Week deal -- especially the $20.10 lunch -- finally makes it within my reach. Our waiter tried to draw our attention towards J&G's other prix-fixe lunch menu -- a three-course for $28 that offered a few more options than the $20.10 menu -- but I didn't fall for his diversionary upsell tactic.
I didn't leave disappointed. As my colleague Tom Sietsema has noted, the space is gorgeous. Even on a gray day like today, bright light streams in through the windows. The room is spacious with oversize, yet tasteful, burgundy couches around sleek oval tables; even though it was busy, we never felt crowded.
My date started with the tuna tartare. By now, I've seen my share of variations on this app, but the gingery broth surrounding the starter set this one apart. Peppery arugula and gentle butter lettuce played tug-of-war in my salad; the generous dressing brought the disparate elements together.
There were a few misfires. Our medium rare hanger steak arrived rare. The promise of truffle vinaigrette piqued my interest in the salmon, but the truffle taste seemed to be absent from the finished dish. But these were easily overlooked. Delicate Brussels sprouts perked up the salmon, and velvety smooth mashed potatoes were welcome accessories on our entree plates.
Cheesecake led me out on a good note, leaving J&G in mind for a special occasion to come.
-- Julia Beizer
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