What to order at Absinthe?
Going for dinner soon with a group of 6 - any recommendations from recent (or not so recent) visits?
Ate there last Friday night. Both fish entrees (Skate and New Zealand Sea Bass, I believe) were very well received at our table. The pizza appetizer dissapeared very quickly, though I didn't eat any of it personally. I had the 1/2 a chilled crap which was excellent and a selection of their oysters, which were spectacular. My wife had the duck confit and loved it. Oh, and everyone enjoyed the fried chickpeas.
As noted, the drinks are remarkable; some of the best cocktails I've had anywhere.
I've had a couple of excellent coq-au-vin's in the not to distant past. Always had an enyoable time on vists here.
For years I've gone mainly for cocktails, the awesome french fries, oysters, and the cheese courses. I stuck with bar food after mainly mediocre and pricey experiences off the dinner menu. However, I recently discovered their $16 flank steak with salsa verde, which I've gone back for 3 times in the past few weeks. At dinner it comes with great onion rings, at brunch it comes with fries and salad. I think it's a great deal for how much you get and it tastes great--the salsa verde is full of cornichons and capers, it's just the right amount of fries, and you've saved dollars for more cocktails!
As I said, all the Absinthe talk put me in the mood. I haven’t been in a very long time; however, Absinthe used to be part of my "favorite restaurants" list. I went with a friend, hoping it would live up to memories. We ordered:
Chilled Dungeness crab (whole… and shared)
white truffle-scented butter and pickled sea beans
French onion soup gratinée (mine)
Caesar salad (him)
Duck confit (him)
sweet peas, baby carrots, and cipollini onions
Grilled rib-eye steak (mine)
grilled wild ramps and potato gratin
A couple rounds of Ginger Rogers
The crab, while obviously a lot of work, was quite tasty. I love truffle butter, and I think it works very well with Dungeness. We worked our way through it – as we finished, we were presented customary bowls of lemon-essence warm water to rinse our hands and an extra napkin. This dainty hand washing never feels thorough enough for me, however. :)
The French onion soup was as good as ever, and really is one of the best that I’ve had in the US. The onions are richly caramelized, the broth luscious… just enough cheese and bread, but not so much to overshadow. Yum.
My friend said the Caesar was done very well.
The mains were a bit of a let-down. My rib-eye, while cooked perfectly to my requested medium-rare, was a bit overshadowed by the mound of junk they put on top of it. The ramps and some other crunchy topper (think bacon bits, but not – I really have no idea what it was) were placed directly on top of the steak. I’m sorry, but don’t put crap on my steak. Regardless, it still was a pretty good piece of meat. The potato gratin was completely forgettable: not well seasoned and about as boring as “gratin” can be. Mind you, it really wasn’t “gratin” since it was basically a soupy mess.
My friend thought the confit was fine, though he said it also was a let down after the start of the meal.
We decided to pass on the pot de crème, my regular Absinthe dessert choice… and made our way to Bi-Rite Creamery for dessert. hehe
Service was friendly and as good as I’ve had there – thankfully no real service issues to report. Whole crab/two appetizers/two entrees/four drinks total + tax/tip = $87/person.
very pleasantly surprised by the coq au vin--really good, actually better than the one i had at jeanty at jack's, which was sadly too salty. and i really love salt. at absinthe, i also had a ricotta dumpling appetizer which i really enjoyed--very light and fluffy!