RW is over. Now I know that seems like a pretty obvious statement: after all Restaurant Week was officially August 11th-17th. Many restaurants, however, extended their promotions, and many critics suggested saving those restaurants for this week (or even next) in order to make Restaurant Week last. But whatever schemes various restaurateurs may have had to gin up business by lengthening their RW promotions, the excitement, the totally mobbed craziness of last week, has not carried over it seems. I say this because at my lunch Thursday afternoon at PS-7’s, right in the prime lunch hour, there were maybe 10-12 other parties eating. We actually had to wait a second for our table, but only because our hostess seemed somewhat confused by the “lunch rush” of four parties coming in at once.
Once we were seated, however, service was very good. We were pressed a little to order – though I’m not sure if that really passed the line between “attentive” and “pushy” – but once our food came, our waiter pretty much stayed out of our way (he only stopped by to clean up the table after I, during one of my more expansive hand motions, knocked over a water glass). Of course, there was no reason to be getting bad service; our waiter only had two other tables in his entire half of the restaurant.
The menu was pretty big for Restaurant Week: it isn’t the full menu, but seven apps, eight entrees and three desserts isn’t half bad. Though we had a lot of choice, in the end, we went with what had been recommended elsewhere: beer poached mussels, tuna tartare sliders, cornmeal-crusted trout, the “big hot brown” (an openfaced sandwich of turkey, bacon, tomato and mornay), the beignets dessert and the “cobbler of the day.”
On a purely technical note, I’ve managed to overcome my discomfort with taking pictures in restaurants (it always seemed somewhat rude to me). In fact, it was my friend and fellow diner who brought her camera – I was just going to use the phone – but for the first time, we have extensive photography of restaurant food.
Our appetizers came quickly; the mussels were still steamy, and the tuna was quite nicely presented (unfortunately, we scarfed it down before we remembered to get the camera out, so no picture). The tuna, little piles of chopped tartare with toasted sesame seeds piled on small rolls, was very tasty. It was cool, and the contrast of textures between the soft tuna and the slight cruch of the toasted roll made it an interesting dish. My only complaint was that sauces, which were artfully dotted and smeared on the plate, were weakly flavored (or maybe there just wasn’t enough of them); even the sriracha couldn’t impart any heat to the sliders.
The mussels were also delicious – briny, with mustard and rosemary flavors. They were, however, only the second best mussel dish I had during RW: while this overall was a stronger meal, the mussels I had at Bistro Bis were on a completely different level than these.
My trout was also a solid dish in all respects: light, flavorful, a nice contrast of textures between the flesh of the fish and the cornmeal crust. The corn-watermelon salad added sweet, summery flavor. My plus one, if you remember, had the big brown, which was the direct opposite of “light and summery” a thick piece of turkey, topped with multiple slices of bacon and covered in copious amounts of melted fontina cheese and mornay. Needless to say, she didn’t finish the whole thing, but what she ate got a very positive review.
We finished our meal with beignets and cobbler. The “cobbler of the day” was rhubarb-strawberry (specifically said that way, and not strawberry-rhubarb; the reasons for which I would learn when I bit in). It was fantastic, definately the highlight of the meal. Mostly, the cobbler had rhubarb, with that wonderful combination of sweet and sour that cooked rhubarb takes on. The filling also had strong strawberry, and interestingly, ginger flavors as well. The crust was also a little different from what you would usually see: less granola, more toasted nuts, with crushed walnuts making up the bulk of the crust. All this was topped with a scoop of very vanilla-y vanilla ice cream.
The beignets were also well done, and beautifully presented (in fact, my friend called them “to pretty to eat;” she had to look away and knock over the little tower they came presented as before she could dig in). They were really light and fluffy, which you don’t always get in beignets, and provided a nice light counterpoint to the heaviness of the “big brown,” I’m sure.
In the end, our meal at PS-7s was altogether enjoyable. While there was no single dish that was better than anything else I had during my RW tour (though the cobbler came close), I would definately recommend it again.