Everybody already knows finding good theatre district dining is a bit of a travail, but this one didn't really merit the trip nor the proximity. It's a bit of a hike from most of the shows, but I had really chosen this restaurant more for its profile: by description, it is doing the right thing. Very seasonal, farm-based menu, organic and local when it can be, employing full time foragers no less. I had every reason to like it. Except that I didn't.
That's not to say Print is bad, it just seemed a little lifeless. Like a print, rather than the real thing. We sidled past the hotel-busy bar to the dining room in back, which retained a hotel-ish feel, even though it was quite set back from the lobby area. Big looming bouquets softened the room somewhat, but it still felt a little corporate and dim. Our waiter provided menus, seeming friendly enough until I feel that he realized we weren't going to be a big ticket, and became dismissive ... at best. We started with a Liberty Gardens salad to share, which was a nice enough salad, with very fresh greens and cubed zucchini amplified by crumbled of bleu cheese and a toss of pinenuts.
I was happy enough just with a split salad, however, in anticipation of my entree, which really sounded delightful. A saute of Spanish bass and morels with slivered leeks on a bed of spinach sounded wonderful and was really attractive, but the morels tasted muddy and wan. The fish was deftly cooked, although I prefer skinless filets, and tiny segments of juicy orange added freshness. A special of grilled Alaskan salmon (which I have to question on the sustainability front) came on a raft of grilled asparagus and a dice of summer squash. They're definitely using all the appropriate produce here, I just wish things were a little punchier. The undeniable highlight of the evening was a moist but firm chunk of cornbread in the complimentary breadbasket. Sweet like peak-season corn but far from cloying, robustly flavored of corn, not cake. It's hard to find an excellent cornbread, and I think this one qualifies. Not as good as my mom's, but good.
Our server would never have known this; he never checked in throughout the course of the meal, and upon clearing our plates, sort of huffily offered dessert menus which we declined. It just really didn't feel like a place to sit and linger, and his dismissiveness wasn't helping the situation.
I have a feeling I experienced a bad night here. Morels on the late end of their peak probably would soon give way to better fungi, a few more plates for diversity's sake would offer a better gauge, and maybe I was too affected by our inattentive server. But every diner should be respected, especially in a hotel restaurant where hospitality is the whole point. I wouldn't throw up my arms in disgust if I had to come back here; in fact, I'm assuming there is a much better time to be had. But for now, Print's print was pretty smudged.