Before I continue with my post, I’d like to say that we may soon have TWO new foodbloggers! That’s a 200% increase in the amount of bloggers! Anyhow. Metropolitan Hotel. Hemispheres. Winterlicious. Soooo good.
Location: 110 Chestnut Street
Price: $35 per head for a meal
Because this place is a little extra awesome, I decided to take loads and loads of pics. Hopefully that’s alright with everyone. 🙂 First off, the general atmosphere and decor of the place!
Anyways, upon entering, we were presented with menus, glasses of water, and a bread basket soon came out filled with an assortment of different kinds of bread. Spiced, baked pita chip, two slices of baguette, a harder loaf, a bread with assorted nuts such as almonds, and a fruity one with raisins and cranberries.
I’ve got an odd theory — that is, a place that serves you complimentary bread usually ends up being an alright restaurant. I don’t know why this has held true for me, but this was a good sign of what was to come after. Even if everything we ordered came out really fast, almost as if they had pre-prepared everything. In any case, I ordered the Lobster Bisque en Croute, the Ribeye Steak, and the Banana mascarpone Beignet, while my girlfriend ordered the panna cotta, the sea bass & prawn, and the apple pie w/ cinnamon ice cream for dessert.
Since we ended up sharing everything that night, I had the pleasure of trying this panna cotta. It’s hard to explain, but it had a nice, creamy texture, and crisp vegetables such as zucchini added different textures to the otherwise soft panna cotta. The salad beneath the panna cotta was fresh and a vinegary dressing added a nice punch to the vegetables. The truffle oil did not come through for me with this dish, but the manchego cheese bequeathed a delightful cheesy saltiness to the otherwise subtle tastes of the panna cotta.
Whenever I get a puff pastry soup like this, one of my favorite things about them is always the puff pastry. It’s always crispy, buttery, and altogether delicious when mixed with creamy, flavorful soups. This lobster bisque is certainly no exception. It was rich, with a concentrated lobster flavor. Succulent morsels of lobster were inlaid about the soup along with shiitake mushrooms with the ideal amount of firmness and bounciness to their flesh as you bit into them. It was unadulterated lobster flavor — they definitely did not skimp on finding fresh ingredients. Our mains arrived soon after.
Our waiter graciously came by to cut open the ‘shell’ that the seafood had been steaming in. Because they utilized this preparation method, the fish remained moist, and the flavors remained concentrated within the fish and the shrimp. I normally don’t even like fish, but I could definitely have had this sea bass. At least, if I hadn’t had the steak (more on that later). The rice dish was surprisingly good. Its simple, mild flavoring was a good accompaniment to the fish that did not overpower it. Also, the jumbo shrimp was, for once, actually jumbo!
Totally awesome and all, but here comes the steak.
I love steak. Especially a perfectly done, medium rare ribeye steak with a delightful red wine reduction. Good steak honestly just melts in your mouth — the amount of fat in this cut of meat is perfect, and the tender meat could be cut with even a regular butterknife with no trouble. It speaks volumes about the quality of the steak’s tenderness when such a feat is possible. The root vegetables as well were flavorful, but the foie gras potato ‘donuts’ were especially cute. It was kind of like an upscale way of presenting mashed potatoes — crispy on the outside, but fluffy and flavorful on the inside because the potatoes had been mashed together with the foie gras before frittering them up.
In any case, after we had both finished our entrees, we waited in anticipation for our desserts. Here I made the distinction between a ‘sexy’ dessert and a ‘cute’ one. Let’s see if you can spot the distinction!
Now this beignet was the perfect follow up to the potato ‘donuts’ that I had earlier. I guess it looks a bit like a timbit, but man, a fresh donut just tastes out of this world! A little bit of steam came out from the beignet as I poked into it with my fork, and a layer of cinnamon sugar added additional crunch to the donut. Sadly, the rest of the dish, while good, did not match up to this beignet. Flourless chocolate cake is just not for me! Still, this was a passable dessert. However…
Yeah that’s right. This apple pie had aged cheddar on top of it! Now, my experience with pie is not extremely high, but I’ve definitely had my share. This cheddar thing was new for me, but I was glad I tried the pie. The saltiness of the cheddar creates a contrast of flavors, especially when the sweet apple filling is mixed with the extraordinarily delicious cinnamon ice cream. I didn’t even know there was cinnamon ice cream! Saltiness, warmth, sweetness, ice cold cinnamon punch. That’s a combination for success. Remember it!
Conclusion: People, I am *so* glad I did Winterlicious this year. I’ve had some hits and misses over the years, but this was just great! Going to a nice place to eat is a nice way to change things up. I hardly have any real complaints unless I want to be a really big nit-picker, and no one likes those. Let’s just say it’s worth skimping out on buying some cheap lunches or dinners for a few days and just make food at home so that you can have one of these. Food, service, ambiance… it’s all there.
Needless to say, I think we all know what I’m going to give this place. 9.5/10
PS – My two awesome food bloggers, I will be getting into contact with you shortly. Or you can pre-empt me and get into contact with me so I can get you started!