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First: downhill alert?

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Adam Stephanides Jun 22, 2000 09:38 AM

Last night me and two companions ate at First, a place I'd last visited several years ago. The menu had changed: the suckling pig, once offered every Sunday, was no longer listed, and my impression is there were other changes. I ordered the "goat cheese souffle" (really just warmed goat cheese) and a flavorless Long Island Duck, and sampled my companions' beef carpaccio, buffalo wings, and lobster lasagna (the latter two dishes highly recommended by our waiter). Everything struck me as mediocre at best, basically overpriced bar food with pretensions. In fairness, though, my companions seemed enthusiastic.

--Adam

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    Steven Stern RE: Adam Stephanides Jun 22, 2000 12:56 PM

    I haven't been in a while, but it's very likely that it's tanked. I think Sam DeMarco has permanently decamped to Vegas to run his place in the Bellagio. A shame. The goat cheese souffle used to be this savory cheescake that was one of my favorite things.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Steven Stern
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      Adam Stephanides RE: Steven Stern Jun 22, 2000 07:14 PM

      Well, to be precise, when I said the goat cheese souffle was really "warmed goat cheese" I meant that it wasn't a real souffle--i.e. with egg whites. I didn't mean it was just a piece of goat cheese warmed up. I guess I'd basically describe it as a kind of warm goat cheese spread. So it may be, at least in conception, the dish you remember. I wouldn't describe the current version as one of my favorite things, though.

      --Adam

      1. re: Adam Stephanides
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        Steven Stern RE: Adam Stephanides Jun 23, 2000 12:14 AM

        It used to be called "Goat Cheese Cake" and it was precisely that--a silky cheesecake with a pistachio-based crust that was perfect in that ineffable way great dessert cheesecakes are. At some some point they changed the name to "Goat Cheese Souffle," and I no longer trusted it. Rightly so, by your description.

        1. re: Steven Stern
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          Micki RE: Steven Stern Jun 23, 2000 09:18 AM

          My husband and I went to First often. We noticed that something wasn't as good as usual the last 2 times we visited. We LOVE First, so we'll give it a few more trys, then we'll decide. The food just didn't have the snap it once had.

        2. re: Adam Stephanides
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          Kat Kinsman RE: Adam Stephanides Jun 27, 2000 02:18 PM

          I'm deeply chagrined. The warm goat cheese tart was one of the rare dishes of which I have a distinct sensory memory--texture, taste, contrast of tart apple and sweet, warm cheese. I've had dreams about that tart and very specific cravings.

          Booking my flight to Sam's in Vegas now.

          Kat

          1. re: Kat Kinsman
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            Savannah RE: Kat Kinsman Jun 27, 2000 05:01 PM

            I think he was only a guest chef at Sam's and coming back to First (thank goodness!).

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