Thursday, January 8, 2015


I dont' think we ordered well at Margaux, but at the same time, I think it is (or has become, in its short lifespan) more of a generic hotel restaurant than the fooderati initially hyped it up to be.  The main dining, despite how stately it appears on their website, is a little grandma-chic, but even that we were only able to experience after briefly attempting to sit in a prettier, annexed garden room in back, that although it is enclosed, was as empty and drafty as a December basement.  They said they could amp up the heat if we were too cold, but in the end with just the two of us sitting there, it seemed more prudent to shift camp to the main dining room instead of wasting the energy to heat up an entire empty space just for us.    Inside it was warmer temperature-wise, but the service was perfunctory at best.  A lot could've been assuaged with a slightly more welcoming and thoughtful waitstaff.

The menu consists of a good number of dishes, unfortunately for me, on this instance, a lot of of them included components that weren't particularly to my liking: for example, striped bass had caviar (I know, I know.. but  I don't), and I'm sure a lot of its $36 price tag had to do with that.  I  didn't want to order it sans caviar, and have to ask/assume a discount, so since the other fish on offer was char (another un-favorite), I went with mussels ... which honestly I don't love, either, but these were certainly nothing to write home about.  They read better than they tasted, but the thick slice of baguette in the base of the bowl soaked up most of the delicious garlic-fennel broth rather than leaving it spoonable, which would've been a nice remedy for the chill we had recently escaped.  I probably would've been better of with the chicken with Turkish Urfa Biber, in retrospect, but gut-reaction to chicken is usually as the cautious default... I
 thought mussels had more potential.  Alas.  All the other entree options are meaty or starchy: again, I didn't order well, as the grass-fed short rib braise might have proved more satisfying?  Tough to know, though, because nothing I experienced nor have read really elicits a return. Such was another entree, a risotto bolognese that was just too... everything.  It might've made a good passed app. converted into an arancini-like tidbit, but the
 impact of dense veal, rice and cheese was just deadening after a few bites.  Luckily, a side of brussels sprouts contributed a modicum of green, even if it was somewhat muted after profound roasting.  Not a huge portion, but at only $7 a necessary investment given our order.

The tables surrounding were marginally filled: there wasn't much energy in the room from other diners, and particularly none from our server.  The waitstaff on the whole is utilitarian, fulfilling their duties and not much else.  An errant busboy was the only one from whom I elicited a single smile.  Even the decor seemed a little glum; the wall abutting our table was covered with drab, chipped tiles, but whether they were part of the original foundation and thus sort of nostalgic, or just neglectfully overlooked, no one seemed to know nor care to find out.  The most appealing part of the restaurant is it charmingly mismatched porcelain and decorate votive holders- it's just a pity it wasn't touting better food.  I did
 enjoy the quince tart we took for dessert, but that might've just been in comparison to the mediocrity of the rest of our meal.  The fruit was perfectly dense and sweet, and lthough the crust a little tough underneath, it softened up nicely with the generous scoop of vanilla gelato.  Plus, the plate on which it was served was so charming.... too bad some of its charm doesn't rub off on the rest of the restaurant.

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