Just got back from first dinner at TWO, the previous Hawthorne Lane location. Figured enough time had gone by for them to work out kinks in service, etc. Not a bad meal--I was pleasantly surprised and think I will go back to try some more dishes. Went with three friends, who unfortunately are not adventurous diners, so did not get to try the delicious sounding charcuterie - including a duck liver and apple pate with fig bread, slow roasted marrow bones, and a plate of house made head cheese (props to the chef for actually printing "head cheese" on the menu). We had the following:
two friends started with the raspberry lemonade and the cilantro martini. both sounded awful to me so i didn't try them, but they were very happy.
bread plate: very nice touch-several small buttery biscuits as well as several triangles of cheesy crackers with a spicy kick. very very yummy.
appetizers: baked goat cheese, watercress, and beet salad--surprisingly pleasant combination, with grapefruit sections adding a nice tart contrast. i split this with a friend, and they brought it out divided on two plates. other two friends split the chilled asparagus and prosciutto on grilled bread with some kind of garlicky cheese spread on it. pretty good.
entrees: i had the spaghettini with sea urchin--the pasta itself was good. i should have known better than to order a dish which tries to do anything with sea urchin than serve it raw (as it should be eaten, ie sushi). the uni were deep fried so that they basically could have been any deep-fried seafood, or actually basically just the fried outer bread crumbs. but the pasta was nicely al dente with a little spicy kick from the chile and just the right amount of garlic and olive oil. i ordered just the small portion, which was just the right amount for me, as i wasn't starving, and it provided me room to eat a few of the biscuits and cheese crackers! one friend had the pan-fried trout, which didn't impress me much. wasn't bad, but really wasn't anything that you couldn't make at home. another had the mushroom agnolotti--delicious!!! they were nothing like the agnolotti i had at perbacco (the only other place i've ever had it)--they were more just very thin ravioli-like pasta stuffed with simple, delicious, flavorful mushrooms. i would definitely get this again. finally, the fourth had the ny strip steak, which i didn't get to try, but he seemed very happy with.
dessert: we all split the banana cream pie creme brulee which came with a side of banana caramel ice cream. waitress told us it would only be enough for two people, but god, it was kinda a large portion and was enough for each of us to get several bites. the creme brulee was really only a brulee in that the top had that crystally burnt topping, but the rest was more a fancy banana cream pie--with a thin crust, layered with a very light cream and then a layer of sliced bananas, finally topped with the burnt sugar topping. this was really really good, and was complimented very well by the ice cream, which was not too sweet. i was nervous to try a dessert, as i had read previous lukewarm reviews, but was glad that i did!
wine: had a bottle of the cote du rhone, eric texier, 2003. billed as being medium-bodied but was really very light. drinkable, but i would have liked something more structured and, well, medium-bodied.
all in all, bill came to $180 before tip. the room itself was beautiful, gorgeous bar, service was fine. quiet, as it was sunday night. but i really liked the serene but sorta sexy atmosphere and look forward to trying it again soon. many other things on the menu that looked great, including a lamb pastrami sandwich, all of that delicious charcuterie, and many creative pizzas!
Great report, gtchow!
Don't give up on the concept of spaghetti with sea urchin yet... I've had fantastic versions at Blue Marlin in LA, and Esca in NYC. Sea urchin was raw in both versions, though. That's disappointing that Two deep fries them. Wonder if you can ask them not to cook them.
Hope you find more adventurous eaters for your next visit <g>