I've been wanting to visit Urena since it first opened and I finally made it this past Saturday. I went in knowing all the issues with its decor/atmosphere, but once the food started coming, its quite easy to forget about that stuff.
The room does have a rather generic decor that almost makes me think of a small version of a restaurant in a hotel, maybe a Marriott in some place like Scottsdale. Its dimly lit these days, so the decor kind of fades into the background. The background music was an odd greatest hits of classical music, maybe one of those time life CDs.
The food. First an amuse of butternut squash soup with truffle oil. This could have used just a touch more seasoning, but was otherwise delicious and warmimg and would have been even more perfect had it not been a 70 degree day. For an appetizer I had the goat cheese ravioli with rabbit. This was also a bit underseasoned, but the rabbit was juicy and tender and falling apart. Two of my dining companions shared a foie gras appetizer that prepared it in 3 ways. This was a beautiful looking dish that could easily be mistaken for a dessert. They said it was terrific. For my main, I had the braised short ribs with northern beans and chorizo. This was great. The fork tender ribs were perfectly cooked and seasoned. And the spicy chorizo added the perfect kick to this dish. I also took a bite of the lamb loin, which was delicious. Good things were said as well about the fish dishes.
Dessert. 3 of us shared 2 desserts. One was a chocolate torte of sorts. More like a woderfully crispy cake with some ice cream and foam and I can't remember what. The other was an apple dessert that was amazing. There was a spiced cake in there, some candied orange zest and some other stuff I also can't remember.
The service was very good. They were terrific about my wife's dietary restrictions. The waiter was one of the first to actually ask when she ordered the cheese course if they should leave off the honey and other stuff which she can't have (no sugar allowed), most places don't consider that. Our server didn't seem too knowledgable about the wine list when I asked him about a particular bottle. And its a rather short list too. But thats ok. Its clear what there going for here is not some fancy 4 star experience. So maybe the decor is kind of off and the service is great, but they aren't sommeliers and food historians. Maybe the music could use some retuning and the wine list some expanding. But the food is delicious. And if you want food this good your usually gonna pay a lot more for it. So bring some good company and forget about all that other stuff and just pay attention to who's sitting across from you and whats on the plate.