Blue Velvet- review
saturday night 7pm with 5 women
empty when we arrived, packed when we left
sat in the back room, only 3 tables with seating for 6 each, in a large space, WHY?
there is also a second bar in that room- not used.
good looking space, and when we left, tons of people enjoying drinks outside by the pool.
decor,noise, comfort B+
our amuse bouche - a little shot glass of parsnip, radish and asian pear was SO vile smelling, I couldn't even taste it, but my friends thought it was BAD
apps- we had the crispy yogurt- delish, tastes like a fried log of goat cheese (thats a GOOD thing); warm squid salad -very tasty; butter lettuce salad- light and with fresh herbs; and the squash ravioli with rock shrimp- i would have loved this as a main- it was a GREAT combo!
mains- 3 of us ordered the New York steak, I would have liked to try the lamb, but the sauce and sides sounded disgusting. 2 had the crispy skinned ocean trout- it was pink fleshed- isn't that Steelhead?
anyway- the mains were both outstanding, I could have licked the plate of my steak.
the menu online is not the same as we had-, so I can't recall what the sauces were.
desserts- OK, we had 4 desserts and all were bad-
a deconstructed "sundae"- ice cream with an amaretto FOAM on top, a deep fried banana, a chunk of fudge, a weird marachino cherry
a white chocolate bombe- a clump of white chocolate with lime curd on the side- OK , the lime curd was tasty
a poached pear- with the MOST disgusting ice cream- pinkish and flowery, a fried pastry packet with rice pudding inside and a sauce that tasted like a combo of tamarind and date- in a BAD way
and a creme caramel served with caramel corn- that was the best, but nothing I would want to order again
the service was inattentive- the waiter was hard to get, never refilled water, etc
they did a good job of using 2 busboys to present all the diners at the same time.
But here is the reason I would NEVER go back-
one friend specifically ordered her steak medium rare and asked for it to be served HOT,
when it came, it was not hot (none of our mains were....)
she called the waiter over and told him
and he asked if it was OK if he brought it back MEDIUM !!!???!!!!????
Our experience at Blue Velvet last night was much better than yours, but still somewhat disappointing. The food was uniformly delicious, with some very innovative flavor combinations, but the execution was uneven, and a number of service issues detracted from our evening.
I arrived promptly for a 6:00pm (pre-concert) reservation to a nearly empty restaurant, yet instead of seating me, as I requested, the manager pointed me toward the bar and asked me to return once my guest had arrived. Strike one.
The wine list was interesting, with standard mark-ups of 200-300%, but printed in ridiculously small blue type on long, narrow (3x9) loose white pages, "bolted" at the top, a tedious affectation that just makes the list hard to use. We selected the Valminor Albarino, but the waiter returned to say they were sold out. Frustrating, since this wine is easily available in local wine stores. We then chose the Pasquero Elia Roero Arneis but, unlike other diners who report being upgraded at no extra charge, the management failed to extend us the same courtesy. Strike two.
For appetizers, my friend chose sashimi ($15) while I opted for the "crispy yogurt" ($11). Both plates were beautifully composed, if a bit ... spare. The yogurt, which had the texture of goat cheese, lightly breaded and fried, was a diagonally sliced rectangle, stacked on a small pool of surprisingly tasteless spinach-almond puree. The only significant flavor in the dish came from a pair of curried sultanas -- spectacular! -- scattered with a few flower petals on the plate. I didn't taste my friend's sashimi, which arrived draped across crunchy potato gaufrettes, but she said it was very good.
My friend was also pleased with her entree, King River salmon with fiddleheads ($26). Again, I didn't taste, but it looked impressive. When my entree arrived, however -- stuffed veal tenderloin with cipollini, wild mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes in a rosemary sauce ($28) -- I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was beautiful, but I felt like I was looking at it through the wrong end of binoculars: Two slices of tenderloin, each less than an inch thick. The flavors were sensational, a last hurrah of fall flavors in the face of spring, but the portion was ridiculous. I cut it into tiny morsels, and still finished it in about thirty seconds. Strike two-and-a-half.
The upside of the small entree portion was that it left plenty of room for dessert, which was what had attracted us to Blue Velvet in the first place. The reports of the beet financier, in the press and elsewhere on Chowhound, were uniformly positive, and I'm perversely attracted to innovative desserts. We selected the beet financier and the saffron-poached pear (each $8), and eagerly awaited the results.
Thud. That's the sound the financier made as it ricocheted around the plate. An authentic financier should have a crunchy crust but moist interior; this one, a flat disc about 4 inches across, was truly dessicated. The flavor was good, however. (Why are people surprised that beets are sweet? They're like carrots!) The accompaniments, however, were great: A delicious goat cheese ice cream, a smear of golden beet puree, and a spoonful of candied beet confit in which stood a few tiny microgreens.
The saffron-poached pear was gorgeous, but seriously undercooked -- nowhere near fork-tender, as it should have been. Worse, the cream-filled pastry thing that accompanied it -- a beignet? -- was tough as leather. Again, the flavors were compelling; the sweet pear deepened by the saffron, both playing off the pickled beet ice cream (I think this is what you referred to as "the MOST disgusting ice cream - pinkish and flowery"), but the execution faltered badly. Strike two-and-three-quarters.
Service, thankfully, was excellent. Our waiter was friendly, unobtrusive, and prompt when we needed him.
Final cost was $160 for two, including three courses, wine, tax & tip. I'll definitely return -- plenty more items of interest on the dessert menu -- but I won't be a regular.
Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience, but I dined there a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I have to comment that your overuse of words like "disgusting" and "bad" lead me to believe you may be a picky eater; I find it hard to believe that Blue Velvet would send out anything truly disgusting. Maybe it's not your flavor, but I think your word choices are a bit much.
I don't blame the waiter for asking if the steak would be okay medium. You wanted it reheated but didn't expect it to be cooked any further? Most restaurants serve steak warm, not piping hot, especially if it is on the rarer side. I would imagine the short walk from the kitchen to your table would decrease the meat's tempreature from hot to warm - as long as it wasn't cold I can't imagine sending it back and I find it strange that this is your one reason for never wanting to go back.
But, to each his (or her) own. I agree with breakfast - I think the service has a few kinks but overall I think the food is very good and the space is beautiful.
I happened to try it as well on saturday night - we were 4 persons for an 8:30 reservation - we did not get seated until 9:30! It was soooo loud - it was uncomfortable - the food - nothing special and the service was poor. It is a shame that such a lovely looking place has nothing else to offer - when I dine out - the food and service are paramount - looks are fleeting! I will not be returning nor recommending.
My boyfriend and I tried Blue Velvet their first weekend of service. One of the sous chefs is a friend of his from culinary school so we decided to see what they had to offer and because I am a very harsh critic they wanted my opinion to boot.
It's too bad you didn't enjoy your experience because we loved it and have been recommending it to others rather frequently. It's been a few months since we've been there but we had the tasting menu and had no complaints about the food. I was very fond of the halibut with grape course. The service still had a few kinks to work out but considering it was their first official day of service I thought they did a decent job.
I would go back if I was looking for a fine dining establishment.