People always say it is easier to criticize a place than applaud it. I differ in that I think it's easier to comment when you're definitively for or against... it's the non-commital grey-area ones that are more of a struggle to write up. And so it is at Lyon. It isn't all bad, it isn't all great. It just sort of is.
We started off with a signature Salad du Bouchon, a perfectly respectable beet and haricots verts salad, novel with a lush horseradish dressing over golden and ruby beets. Unfortunately, this was the best dish all night. The much lauded truffle-infused hotdog was a very lean, too smooth (almost bologna-like) wiener which wasn't pronouncedly truffly. The chewy pretzel bun was tasty, though, and the sauerkraut and pungent, stinky mustard below were some of the best I've ever had. Ditch the dog and enjoy the pretzel and kraut, or else grab it and a nice cold beer, and don't expect anything more from it. A nice, juicy sausage would've stood in more honorably.
Quality-wise, entrees followed the dog. Skate was a little more fried than it needed to be, ending up a chewy and a tad greasy. This could have been more easily overlooked had it not arrived swathed by three reclining anchovies, brilliantly silver and skanky as all get out. I'm not a huge anchovy fan, and for three interlopers to appear unannounced as the menu gave no warning was nothing but criminal. (A straight-out lambaste! There now, wasn't that easy?) It left two bad tastes in my mouth: the taste, literally, but also the misinformation. But even as the offenders themselves were carefully removed and disposed of by an understanding waitress, their memory remained. To boot, the accompanying couscous and favas tasted a bit sour... as in rancid, not from the scant capers dispersed throughout. So too was the side of poached asparagus: woody spears past their prime that the light slick of butter couldn't even begin to mask.
A roast chicken, however, was pretty spot-on. The flesh was juicy and tender, almost as if it had been stewed rather than roasted, but the skin remained firm but pliant. A lovely array of scallions, turnips, kale and fennel absorbed some of the rich broth and green garlic jus, and I wished I had that pretzel roll back to soak up the rest. At this point, though, dessert seemed moot. While the menu offered some traditional stalwarts and innovative riffs upon them, nothing looked unmissable. Not like those prolific exit signs, which will finally be appreciated as soon as you can get your check.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
to go along with my entree. Tooth-tender cauliflower, zucchini, radishes, kale and celery tumbled in a garlicky sautee with a sprinkle of mixed baby greens atop. This was also a good foil for the signature Wiener Schnitzel, a rosy scallop of veal with an ethereally crisp and light breading. How they get that much flavor into such thinly pounded veal I know not. A perfectly fresh and tart yogurt-cucumber salad along with the traditional lingonberries balanced luxuriously rich and buttery hand-mashed potatoes for a refined version of this classic dish.
It being my birthday, dessert was a must (although generally speaking, no occasion is necessary to sample the artistry of the pastry chef), and we opted for the Fruhling, a decision based solely on its components. What arrived was a thin, chilled broth of white asparagus afloat with tidbits of crunchy raw rhubarb, pooled around a luscious strawberry sorbet and sprinkled with a dusting of dark, chocolately tasmanian pepper. While wholly alluring and refreshingly delicious, it wasn't quite what I'd had
Posted by webdebnyc at 8:43 PM
Monday, July 11, 2011
We are very full at this point, we are, and given the extremely limited dessert menu (one panna cotta, a cookie plate or cheese), it would've been thinkable to skip out. Thankfully we did not make such a poor decision. The panna cotta takes its wobbly perch atop a tender round of sponge cake, which soaks up rhubarb-sauced strawberries incrementally as it sits, steeping itself in the tangy-sweet juices of marvelously market-fresh berries. It is a superlative finish to a meal with which I really could find no memorable flaw. And it is only in retrospect that I look back to recognize the healthfulness of the repast, something that never struck me while consuming each delicious mouthful. Food like this, so satisfying and soulful, but without gluttony, just might keep fat as an adjective for the radishes, and not to its diners.
Posted by webdebnyc at 8:50 PM