Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chow List: Local Menu Items We Can't Afford

1. Beverly's Lobster Leopauldo $75.00
Description: 12 ounce Dungeness crab stuffed Australian Rock lobster tail with angel hair
pasta and a lemon-garlic caper beurre blanc.

Floating over the north end of the north end of the lake, Beverly's is like our version of Seattle's Space Needle Restaurant. It's all dazzle and flash, a gorgeous view but little substance for a lot of cash. Other notable menu highlights include the Shellfish Tower (chilled prawns, sushi scallops, fanny bay oysters, green lip mussels, Maine lobster, king crab, $54.00), the ultra fufu Charcuterie Platter (house-made prosciutto, buffalo summer sausage, quail pate with house-made mustards and pickled accompaniments, $16.00) and the extremely large sounding Rack of Elk (pan roasted chop with lingon berry-Merlot reduction and parsnip pear puree, $52.00).

2. Bonsai Bistro "The Chef's Table Experience" $75.00 per person.
Description: Our chef will prepare a marvelous selection of Pan Asian cuisine. Sit back and relax and let the Chefs do what they do best. We promise this to be an incredible epicurean adventure that will delight your party's taste buds.

Yeah, but exactly what am I getting for my 75 hard-earned bones? It changes according to the mood of the chef, I guess. The Bonsai Bistro is touristy and a little garish even, with its forced atmosphere of babbling brooks and Hagadrone servers. For single entrees, the Fire Roasted Kobe Steak (served with wasabi croquettes, asparagus and a black pepper demi-glace. $27.95) rises to the top of the spendy list but the Tempra Garlic Crab sounds like it might worth the $23.95, described in the menu as "1 pound of Alaskan king crab dipped in a garlic tempura batter then wok fried. This is very unique & different way to enjoy Crab that chef Troy discovered growing up in San Francisco. The crab is meant to be picked up by hand and basically eaten the way you would enjoy ribs. Don’t make the western mistake of asking for butter!" Actually, I think I'm going to ask for butter just to be a snot.

3. Bistro on Spruce Monthly Wine Dinners, Various Menus, $60.00 per person.
Description of Sept. 08 Wine Dinner: Poached Prawns with Scallop Mousseline, butternut Squash Bisque with Blue Crab, Shiitake Mushroom Ragout in Phyllo, Stuffed Quail,Brad Pudding, 5 varieties of local wine.

Bistro on Spruce chef Chris Mueller offers a fantastic monthly opportunity to blow some cash ion the finer things and experience products from local wineries as well as some of the most intriguing flavor combinations around. "It's not about hummingbird tongues and squid ink. It's a blend of food, friends and wine," Mueller was recently quoted as saying. I've heard nothing but raves for this place, and they've recently added a very luxurious but very reasonable breakfast menu including wraps and parfaits. Expect a full review very soon.

4. Tony's On The Lake Bistecca $38.00
Description: Grilled 16oz Rib Eye served with sliced Yukon Gold Potatoes tossed in Gorgonzola with a Chipotle Balsamic Glaze and Seasonal Vegetables.

Everyone seems to really miss the heck out of the old Tony's, back when they had abig lazy susan full of goodies like pickled herring and hot peppers on every table and spaghetti and meatballs that was the hottest dish in town. No-one I know eats there now; these days who can afford things like Speghetti Pescatore (Spaghetti Pasta with Scallops, Shrimp, Mussels, and Fish in a Tomato Vodka Sauce,$25.00. Even the Appetizers are spendy,like the Cappe Sante (Pan Seared Scallops with a spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette over Baby Spinach $18.00) and to add insult to injury, they make you pay an extra $4 to split it with a partner!

5. Cedars Floating Restaurant Rosemary Rack of Lamb $37.00
Description: A full rack of New Zealand spring lamb lightly grilled and finished in the oven to your specification, complimented with smashed Yukon gold potatoes, garlic seared green beans & finished with a sun dried cherry demi glaze.

This floating legend has had many incarnations since it was built in the late 1960's, and has always been considered "fancy" to varying degrees. Now that the Hagadone Corp. has it's bony grip on the place, it's gone quite top-end. I haven't been in years, but I hear it's mainly hype and atmosphere and the food isn't necessarily worth skywriting about. Still, if I was given free reign, I'd likely get the Seafood Parpadelle (halibut, salmon, clams, and prawns poached in white wine and garlic tossed with wide ribbon noodles in a light pesto cream, $26.00) because the combination of seafood, cream sauce and pasta makes me weep sweet tears of joy.

6. Chef In The Forest Steak & Prawns $35.95
Description: Choice of 8 oz Filet or 12 oz New York, Coconut Shrimp or Scampi Flambé

This quaint, sunny little Hauser cabin has been hiding in the woods for many years now, and they've always been consistently great without any trendy or faux gourmet pretensions. This is one place where the high ticket price is actually worth the result. I get misty even thinking about the Steak ala Oscar (8 oz. Filet topped with fresh Crab, Asparagus and Sauce BĂ©arnaise, $27.95) and the Broiled Cold Water Lobster With Drawn Butter doesn't even list a price, just "Market Price", which you know isn't going to be cheap.

7. Angelo's Ristorante Gorgonzola Port Wine Steak $34.00

Nothing here is particualrly cheap, but the Angelo's catering menu offers the most decadent wallet-busting delights including Oven Roasted Figs with Proscuitto and Gorgonzola(60 pieces for $140)and Smoked Salmon Crostini with Jalapeno Cream Cheese, Red Onions, Lemons and Citrus Caper confetti ($160) I'm just glad to know there's a place in town to get some Cioppino (sea scallops, manilla clams, large prawns and whitefish in a white wine,tomato,and fresh herb broth, $24.00). It's like a soupy fish salsa and I've been craving it since I watched Giada whip up a batch on TV a few weeks ago. Even though I'm poor, I'd go just for a glass of wine and an appetizer, namely the Fruitti di Mare, grilled prawns,scallops, and clams with dipping sauces ($16.00).

8. Le Piastre Pan Seared Alaskan Sockeye with Sweet n' Sour Sweetbreads and Green Apple $12.00

Okay, twelve dollars isn't really that bad, but consider that the idea of a tapas restaurant is that one orders series of several small plates of unusual gourmet dishes just to sample a taste of this and that and things start to add up quick. I'd be also tempted to validate the House Cured Duck Ham with Rhubarb Jam and Almond Butter Croutons $6., the Roast Duck Breast on Crustini, Pear Chutney, Pear-Cilantro Salad $12.and the Citrus Cured Albacore Tuna and Avocado with Orange-Lime Relish $9. Add drinks, and you've spent your whole Top Ramen budget for a year. Summer's gone now, but one of the main reasons this place was so popular during the past few months was the outdoor sidewalk seating.


Dogwalkmusings said...

My favorite high price spread is the Clark House. It's the best in the area.

Kevin said...

Love the Bonsai Bistro....! Chef in the forest is fantastic as well.