Overtures last weekend
We went to Overtures last weekend, our first visit in a year, with great expectations and were not disappointed. The restaurant was bustling (which actually pleased us, since on our previous visit on a weeknight, we were almost alone). The atmosphere is intimate, the lighting and decor just right, a perfect place for a special occasion. Hot rolls and sweet butter preceded the appetizers, while we were enjoying our wine and considering our choices. We all opted for the $50 prix fixe and were not sorry. Two in the party had as appetizers a crab cake with lobster sauce. This was perhaps the best I've ever had. I frequently hesitate to order crab cake as an appetizer fearing that it will be too heavy -- not this one. It was very thin and we really couldn't identify any binder, perhaps a little egg, perhaps only egg white. Just wonderfully seasoned and sauced crab, that held its shape. Yum! Another in our party opted for a wild mushroom ragu and was not disappointed by the choice. Hearty and woodsy, not overwhelmed by any one seasoning, it tasted (happily) of mushrooms! The only disappointment was the veloute of crab (soup) with scotch whiskey, which tasted wonderful, but I would have prefered it hotter. Small mixed green salads with a not-sweet balsalmic vinegrette were a nice palate cleanser. For entrees, two of the party chose the Australian lamb rack; it was cooked just as ordered (medium rare) and they all but growled over the bones. An order of sliced filet with pinot noir sauce was equally appreciated, although I think I won with my order of a venison filet with green peppercorn sauce. All entrees were accompanied by a small serving of potatoes au gratin and some perfectly cooked green bean and a couple of baby carrots. Although several protested that they never ate dessert, we each managed to (desserts were included). I didn't taste the fruit tart that came with caramel ice cream, and the creme brulee was creme brulee. My husband and I shared a flourless chocolate cake and a white chocolate cheese cake (something I would normally avoid, but it didn't look like a cheese cake and he wanted both the chocolate desserts). Wow, believe it or not, this was light, delicate, absolutely delicious; I'd order it again in a second! And a wonderful contrast to the flourless chocolate cake that tasted like eating a serious piece of high quality chocolate (not at all cake-like). All in all, a wonderful meal. I often wonder why this restaurant gets no attention among Philadelphia chowhounds?
We were there last Friday (2/16) and while the overall experience was great, the food was only good. The service and ambiance were wonderful and we particularly like the fact that compared to other byo's it's quiet and tables are not close together.
Appetizers of sweetbreads and salad with a balsamic based dressing were good but the sweetbreads were a bit bland. The veal chop was cooked medium-rare as ordered, but the outer crust was not crisp and caramelized as a good chop should be. The duck was disappointing, as the skin was not crisp nor the fat rendered. We ended up simply removing all the skin and the fatty layer underneath. The duck itself was not particularly flavorful and we agreed that we've made better duck ourselves.
I forgot what the other couple ordered, but they indicated the food was good, but not great. The consensus was that the chef/owner does a fine job, but was uninspired.
We also had the flourless chocolate cake and a slice of cheesecake, both of which were quite good.
We brought a bottle of Chalk Hill Chardonnay Vineyard Select 2002 and a Ch. de Beaucastel CDP 1995. The Chalk Hill was very good and the CDP was nice, but not as good as it was a year ago. Clearly it's time to drink the last bottle remaining.
Throughout dinner, we shared wine with the waiter and when we brought out a bottle of Yalumba Museum muscat , he quickly brought four glasses for dessert wine. I had him bring a fifth, for himself. This muscat never dissapoints. He then brought a bottle of something called 42, which is a dessert wine with 42 different liqueurs blended. By the time we left, three hours had passed and we had a wonderful evening.
The next night we ate at Matyson, where the food was a definite cut above. But that's for another post.
Is this place expensive, a la carte? We'll be in Phila on a three day convention in march (at the cruise ship terminal on S.Broad St) and would love some recommendations for good food at moderate prices, preferably in that area. Want to stay away from the trendy/expensive spots.