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Had a very nice meal tonight at Isa. Enjoyed a frisee salad with lardons,a perfectly poached egg, croutons and vinegary, carmelized shallots(?) One of the best salads I've ever had. The Prince Edward Island mussels were good but the broth was even better.....The warm, crispy bagette was made for dunking! Next was the foie gras on strawberry with rhubarb jam and balsamic syrup. Sweetbreads with wild mushrooms and a crispy potato galette was good also. Our last savory dish was a nice piece of sea bass with capers, tomatoes in a lemony brown butter sauce. For dessert we had a poached pear in apple juice with cinnamon & vanilla and a very refreshing passion fruit soup garnished with brunoise of pineapple, papaya and cantalope.
Everything is served tapas style...there are two size plates. Portions are reasonable but not huge. But the quality of the food makes up for any lack of size. We left feeling very satisfied and not at all hungry. I find that if I have food that is really well prepared and seasoned that I am more than satisfied with a tapas portion. The bonus is that you can sample more items this way. Even if I have a large entree I find that after the first three or four tastes there is a diminishing return.

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    Melanie Wong

    I had dinner here for the first time last Friday with four hungry friends. I think our waiter was somewhat in shock (but in a happy way) with how much we ordered! I lobbied hard for the frisee salad based on your recommendation and because it was sooo Burgundian, and we loved it. Very fresh and cleansing with a starter of 1990 Veuve Cliquot gold label. Sweetbreads were awesome with the 88 Raveneau "Butteaux" Chablis, made the wine better too. Our sea bass was overcooked, unfortunately, and had lost its sweetness. The steak was average but with the 87 Ch. Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (not mature yet) and 82 Ch. Talbot St. Julien (silky and at peak) on the table we needed more red meat. We ordered several repeats of the foie gras, first with the 96 Muller-Catoir Rieslaner from the Pfalz, then later with 76 Valckenburg Liebfrauenstift Trockenbeerenauslese that my friend got for $12 on EBay. Also up there with my favorites of the night were the rib lamb chops and the fresh zesty tasting ratatouille on the side was also very good. For dessert we wanted something light and tried the poached pear. While the reduction of fruit juice sauce was very delicate and natural tasting, I didn't think this pear was flavorful for such a hands off treatment and would have benefited from more sugar and additions. All in all a super evening!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      m
      Melanie Wong

      Oops! I forgot to say that we brought our own wines and paid corkage fees of $10 per bottle. And, I also forgot to mention the wine of the night, by unanimous acclaimation, the 1984 Joseph Swan Vineyards Pinot Noir. Incredibly complex nose, just starting to soften and round out on the palate.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Wow! When you go out you don't go half way! Life is good.

        1. re: gordon wing
          m
          Melanie Wong

          As we say, "No one's living better than we are!"

          The responsibilities of being a wine geek - I even brought in my box of Burgundy glasses to showcase the Pinot Noir. (g) I just didn't want anyone to think our dinner wines could be purchased from ISA's list. The restaurant's stemware were fine for the other wines

          When my friends asked me what wines they should bring to dinner, I forwarded the URL for your original post to give them an idea of the menu and preparations. Thank you!

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Now that's being prepared-bringing your Burgandy glasses to do justice to the Pinot Noir. What do you think of the Reidel line of glasses? Do they deliver as promised? They say that the matching glass will make that particular wine taste better - accentuating the nose and delivering the wine to the appropriate spot on your tongue?

            1. re: gordon wing
              m
              Melanie Wong

              Ever a Girl Scout. Riedel's are absolutely worth it. the only hassle is washing them. Not sure that I buy into the reasoning behind them but they do pan out in taste tests to my palate. Putting a wine in the "wrong" style Riedel glass can completely deaden the taste. The Burgundy glass makes the most improvement in aroma which is the most important part of those style of wines. Use this one for all Pinot Noir-based wines and for Nebbiolo (Barolo, Barbaresco, etc.). Best all round glass is the Zin/Chianti/Riesling glass.

              The traveling Burgundy glasses I use are from Rosenthal. not quite as thin, and the shape is not quite optimum. but they're a little sturdier and come 6 to a box (whereas Riedel Burgundies are in 4-packs) which makes them easier to haul around. I also like the Spiegelau Bordeaux and Burgundy glass.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Melanie,
                Thanks for sharing your opinions about various wine glasses/shapes....interesting, as always.

                1. re: gordon wing

                  A friend who's a wine retailer shared the results of her store's wine glass trials with me on Saturday. The Riedel red wine Overture was the best single all round glass (about $6-8 retail each). But she also said that she felt that the Riedel Burgundy and the Zin/Chianti/Riesling glass were the way to go to cover the entire spectrum. It was nice to have independent corroboration of my own opinion. (g)