15 December 2012

Belated birthday lunch … served slowly

My brother Mike and I usually have lunch between our respective birthdays. His is in October; mine is November. Well, one thing lead to another, and we ended up having lunch in mid-December, coincidentally on our brother Richard’s birthday.

Mike asked me to pick the restaurant. Neither of us had eaten before at Cosmos in the Graves Hotel. So I made a reservation there for noon on a recent Friday.

When I got there, Mike had already arrived and had perused the wine list. Neither of us were going back to the office on a Friday afternoon, so we shared a bottle of wine with lunch. Mike found a personal favorite on the list and ordered it. We started chatting. Pretty soon I noticed Mike scanning the restaurant, and I realized that we’d been sitting there for at least 15 minutes, and no wine, no server to be seen.

He finally caught her attention and waved her over. She apologized for the delay, saying that they’d had trouble finding the bottle. Ok, but then she could have let us know, and maybe given us the option of ordering our lunches.

The wine finally arrived, and we started enjoying it. Unfortunately, that was just indicative of the slow serve we experienced the rest of the lunch. There were long delays between courses. In the end, it took an hour and 45 minutes for us to finish lunch, and we didn’t have dessert or coffee. That would have been too long for an average business lunch.DSC00285

The server was friendly enough. She did a nice job taking our picture, and when she didn’t like the way the first shot turned out, she took another (and another and another). She did make one other faux pas – she asked which of us was older. I’m 9 years older than Mike.

Other than the service, Cosmos was very nice for lunch. I like the décor, quite sleek and modern. And the food was very good.

We both started out with Caesar salads. They were served with a slice of French bread toasted very crisp as a crouton. The traditional anchovy was laid atop the crouton I suppose to give anchovy haters an unobtrusive way to leave it off the salad. (I relished my anchovy. I didn’t notice if Mike ate his.)

For my entrée, I ordered the daily fish special. It was steelhead salmon. It was cooked so that the skin got very crisp. When I grill salmon, the skin gets crisp like that, but this wasn’t grilled. The fish was very moist and delicate, like trout, which apparently it is. It was served with roasted Brussels sprouts (yum), roasted fingerling potatoes (also yum), and small beets (left on my plate untouched.)

(Several sources say that ‘steelhead’ are trout, not salmon. Like salmon, and unlike trout, steelhead live in salt water but return to fresh water to spawn (like salmon) whereas trout spend their whole lives in fresh water. Wikipedia says that steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species, even though rainbow trout is strictly a freshwater fish. I don’t understand how they can be the same species when they have such a significant difference. I guess that’s just a shortcoming of my biology education.

(I actually don’t care what they call it. The way it was prepared at Cosmos was good.)

Mike had Cosmos pad Thai with shrimp. It was kind of an unusual entrée to find on the menu. I don’t consider Cosmos to be a fusion restaurant, and there weren’t any other Asian dishes on the menu. Still, Mike liked it.

Overall, I liked the ambiance and food well enough to consider going back to Cosmos despite the slow service. Next time, however, I think I’d like to try it for dinner rather than lunch.

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