TW Food - disappointing
We've been meaning to try TW Food for a while - finally had the chance recently. Overall I was very disappointed in the food; none of the dishes were remarkable, and a couple were just plain bad. I really wanted to like this place - they are close to our neighborhood, and I like the _idea_ of what they're trying to do. But at this price point I was expecting much, much more.
Starter of sausage which, I will admit, I did not realize would be *blood* sausage until it arrived (my fault for not reading "boudin noir" closely enough) - flavors were OK, a bit spicy, texture very mealy and soft. Soup of salsify with mushrooms was severely underseasoned, and served too cold to be appetizing. Main of grouse and pigeon "tourte" was a homogenous mass of meat inside pastry with very little to offset the texture or flavors. Roast pork leg and braised pork belly were, well, simply bad. The pork leg was dry, had absolutely no flavor, and to add insult to injury was served with an inedible ring of skin and fat still attached. I can't believe anyone tasted that dish and thought it was good. At $30 an entree this place can do much better.
At least three desserts seemed to be served in a pool of creme anglaise. The poached pear (which arrived refrigerator-cold) was stuffed with a "tube" of chocolate ganche that looked too much like something my dog would leave in the backyard. Profiteroles filled with chocolate ice cream were probably the high point of the meal. I was surprised that service was so slow and inattentive for a place with only 8 tables and 2 serving staff.
I like the concepts here but it feels like they are overreaching. They could do so much better by dropping some of the pretension and just focusing on cooking good food.
We recently went to TW Food also (btw - it's in Cambridge). While our food was very tasty (I had the Monkfish) and the service was actually good (the Owner was our server), the price point for the food was very disappointing. We all thought about getting a pizza afterwards and when you're paying $30+ for entrees (and two bottles of wine at $95) we expected alot more.
We also really wanted to like this place, but the price point, lack of satisfaction and NO PARKING (drove the block many times before we found a space), just not worth the trip. Sad to say.
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Wasn't sure which of the TW Food posts to add to - I think this one does a bit better at summing up the thoughts of our table to our meal at TW Food. Other posts have pretty much captured the essence - the idea of TW Food is fantastic, the execution more spotty than really it has any right to be (give the...), prices that are a bit - or more than a bit - too high, and the service which while respectable is not about to win any awards, and given how few tables there are and the prices should really be much more consistent...
We started with the soup and oyster shooters as appetizers. The soup was carrot with scallops, perfumed with vanilla, and tasted like... vanilla. Much as most of us like vanilla, there was consensus that carrot soup should taste at least a bit like carrot. The oyster shooters had more creamy accompaniment than oyster, and unfortunately didn't taste much like, well, oysters. Not the best start, accompanied by a lack of promised refills on both bread and water.
We had 3 of the 4 entrees - monkfish, cannelloni, and beef. All were good, only the beef was outstanding.
The "scotch and cigars" dessert was, IMHO, outstanding. The balance of the tobacco flavor in the creme anglaise was perfect, the scotch syrup was fascinating and balanced, and the chocolate mousse was excellent. The profiteroles with cinnamon ice cream, well, tasted like cinnamon toast crunch cereal. Good, but probably not the desired effect.
The wines we had were on the better end of good - overall I'd prefer to see a list with at least one offering under $45, but I'm spoiled by Ten Tables' list with its options at something like $25. Sure, the cheap bottles aren't out of this world, but they give the list a bit more balance.
Overall, we weren't blown away, and probably won't be back. With such a plethora of other options, some (like the aforementioned Ten Tables) similar in spirit but with better overall execution, it's hard to justify spending that kind of money for what we received.
re: Bob Dobalina
I just got a gander at the new menu, and it really is an improvement that they're not doing a second-rate impression of the French Laundry menu now, all weirdly and inappropriately quote-happy. The brevity and simplicity of the current menu prose is much better, so much less pretentious.
I admire what they're aiming for there, and I think the execution got much smoother and more consistent after a predictably rough start (it's their first solo venture, after all). I think the prices are a bit high, but you have to consider the neighborhood and come to terms with paying a premium for all those artisanal and eco-friendly ingredients. A useful reminder to revisit; I haven't been back in some months.