09 December 2015

Yes, it’s true. Spoon & Stable is fantastic

I almost didn’t write this review. There have been so many raves about how great Spoon & Stable is, what more is there to say?

Spoon & Stable definitely deserves the accolades. Still, there are a few highlights worth noting.

First of all, they take reservations. Yeah! Not that they’re particularly easy to get. No matter how eager we were to dine there, we weren’t going to show up at 5:30 to get a table or eat at the bar. We tried several times during the fall and finally got a table at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend.

Next, it’s a beautiful room – warm, comfortable and inviting. You enter into the bar area where you’re greeted by a bustling buzzing bar scene. We were on time for our reservation, and the hostess assured us that our table was being set – 5 minute wait at the most. One minor quibble – it’s one big open room. The dining room opens into the bar area with only a waist-high divider. Our table was in that first row adjacent to the bar. At one point, the overflowing crowd at the bar resulted in patrons leaning against the divider and actually brushing against my wife’s hair. Not a big deal, but a little annoying.

So let me get my other quibble out of the way now. The other thing is the tables seem quite close together. So, when the server was waiting on the people at the next table, his butt was right at the edge of our table.

Service, by the way, is good. Our server was well-informed about the menu, helpful with suggestions, attentive and friendly without being annoying. 20151129_022703469_iOS

We started with drinks. I ordered a Manhattan No. 2, the house variation of a classic Manhattan. This one had both rye whiskey and calvados and sherry instead of sweet vermouth. It was recognizable as a Manhattan but unusual enough to be memorable. It was, needless to day, delicious. My wife was in the mood to try something different. Our server advised us that the bartender makes a daily special cocktail. On this particular evening, it was a stylized Grasshopper. With some hesitation, she decided to order one. This variation was quite different from a classic Grasshopper. In fact, the only similarities were the shocking green color and mint flavors. She liked it. But it really should have been an after-dinner drink rather than a pre-dinner cocktail.

Now on to the food. From the ‘Garden’ section of the menu, we decided to split an order of the Roasted Carrot Salad. It was excellent. On the plate were three different kinds of carrots, roasted but still a little crisp. The dressing was a maple vinaigrette which added nice autumn tones to the dish. It wasn’t particularly large. Perhaps diners with a heartier appetite would order a second starter. The Duck & Foie Gras Terrine looked good to me. Or one of the side dishes would have been nice as an alternative.

For my entrée, I ordered braised lamb shank. I love lamb shanks, and this one was fabulous. It was not too fatty and was fork-tender. On the plate with the lamb was a medley of vegetables and beans. They were a nice accompaniment and did not detract from the lamb, which was the star. The menu says it also has preserved lemons, but I didn’t detect that flavor.

Visually, my lamb shank was appealing simply as a big chunk of meat with a bone sticking out (as you can see in the photo). My wife’s entrée, on the other hand, was a work of art (see photo below). Her dish was called ‘lightly Smoked Steelhead Trout.’ It was probably a little more rare than she had anticipated. but the flavors were amazing. The plate had a few Brussels sprouts, a rutabaga puree, and a citrus vinaigrette.

We decided not to order dessert. But not to worry. The server presented us with a box of four bite-sized sweets to nosh while paying our bill. Very nice. In terms of value, I thought our meal was quite reasonable. It wasn’t inexpensive, and the portions were moderate. You could spend more if you added dessert or more starter plates. But we were satisfied with the amount of food we ate and the price we paid.

So we definitely would go again. It probably would be for a special occasion … if we can get a reservation.

Here’s my wife’s Smoked Steelhead Trout

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