Went to Splendido with a group of 19 last Sunday. As always it was outstanding. If anything the service has gotten even better since my last visit.
We started with some canapes.
Grilled Tunisian Octopus, Eggplant Roulade and Chive Beurre Blance
Quebec Foie Gras and Ham Hock Terrine, Pork Cheek, Kozlik's Triple Crunch Mustard
Kim Crawford, 2005 Gewurztraminer
Roasted Nova Scotia Lobster, Pressure Cooked Veal Oxtail, Preserved Lemon Salad, Parsnip Chips
Fairview Cellars, 2003 Viognier
Garlic Burgundian Wild Escargots, Carnaroli Parsley Root Risotto, Niagra Pancetta
Thirty Bench, 2005 Riesling
Duck Confit Stuffed Savoy Cabbage, Beef Consomme, Oxalis Leaf, Perigord Black Truffles
Remoissenet Pere & Fils, 1995 Pinot Noir
Boudin Noir, Wild Boar Belly, Pressure Cooked Tuscan White Beans, Quail Egg, Brioche
Grange Phillipe, 2003 Grenache/Syrah
Cuit-Sous-Vide Lamb Tenderloin, 8 Hour Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Butter Poached Gnocchi, Pearl Onions and Thyme Jus
Bodega Ca N'Estella, 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (Spain)
Grand Marnier Souffle, Chocolate Sauce
Pedro Ximenez, Cream Sherry
The dinner was virtually flawless except for the souffle being slightly undercooked.
What made this even more impressive was that none of the three main players were there. David, Yannick and Carlo were all off for various reasons. Also we were almost an hour late for our reservation.
Great job as usual.
Wow, that really is a testament to the sous chef there and the team. Very well trained. It appears there are many main players that take Sundays off. I have had a few dinners at other places when the chef is not there and the experience was not like yours. Great to know they have been able to create a successful and professional team.
I ate at Splendido as well that Sunday night and I wish I could say the same thing but I can't. Service was very, very good. Reminded me of Bouley in NYC. Food was less then stellar. We were wandering about the chef not being in the kitchen, so, this explains it to me, he was not. Halibut with porcini dust was a greasy slightly overcooked chunk of fish that was supposed to have some shaved fennel on the plate that I could not find. In between courses the waiter brought out a dish that he proudly announced as the chef's rendition of bacon and eggs. The plate looked incredibly cute and would make a nice addition to my daughter's doll's house. Tiny slice of toasted brioche, tiny slice of Italian speck, fried quail egg and a tiny mount of fried potato. The dish had absolutely no flavour and was overly oily. (I love bacon and eggs!) Appetizers were good, so was the amuse and the Grand Marnier Souffle. The souffle was not all the way cooked through for it was hard and raw in the bottom of the ramekin but the part that was eatable was very good. My wife's lobster dish was amazing except for the lobster itself which seems to have been in the freezer before it was plated. I know a little bit about lobster and this was not fresh. The gnocchi on the plate was incredible. All in all, this was a disappointment and was truly one of the lesser quality dinners we've had in a while. It was a great evening however because I was with good company and as I said before the service was truly stellar. Hopefully next time I can report better.
i ate there on a sunday night a few months back with family in town. total bill for 7 people including drinks was $1,300. my fathers and uncles lobster dishes had to be sent back to the kitchen because they were brought out cold. at $100 a head, you would think they would at least bring the lobster out warm. i agree service was good, but all in all, at the end of the night we all agreed that for that much money, it was not really worth it. i was still kinda hungry after the 3 course meal and dessert! if you have an expense card, go nuts i suppose. it kind of turned me off "fine dining" for now. i know so many other places you can go in t.o. for a great meal and not have to pay a mortgage at the end of the night. spledido is nice, but maybe cause it was sunday night and the main players were not there.
as a cook, all I have to say is that the head chefs, head sous chefs, and all the best cooks almost never work on a Sunday...so you can usually never expect a restaurant to be at its best on that day. Usually the newer cooks or trainees work Sundays, because the better cooks had already worked 10-14+ hour days on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and are too hammered and hung over to work on a Sunday...plus, most Euro style fine dining restaurants never have fresh live lobster unless you see a tank of live ones somewhere in the restaurant...otherwise, you're always getting frozen. Even if they do get it fresh and live, they will always pre-cook it and put it in the fridge/freezer. Which is why I'd only order lobster at a Chinese restaurant that specializes in live lobster and seafood.
Not so sure that you are entirely accurate re Live lobsters. Many seafood purveyors make daily and sometimes twice daily deliveries, including Sunday to their clients( Lobster Island for one) so any one who wants fresh live lobster can get it quite easily. Live lobster will survive for up to 3 days if covered with lots of wet newspaper and refigerated so there is no need to pre cook and freeze.
I don't think a chef like David Lee would leave the restaurant in the hands of apprentices, like you say. Yes, he was probably not there on a sunday but I'd be willing to bet his sous chef was there front and centre. Maybe at lesser quality spots would the trainees be on stations on sundays, but I'm sure not at Splendido. And lobster doesn't need to be cooked and frozen the minute it leaves the tank, again maybe at lesser quality places.