Report on Canteen and Rivoli
Canteen: Well, it's cute and they're really trying, but it's not quite there yet.
Starters:The pumpkin seed soup was creamy and delicious, but the quail with quince and lentils was a disappointment. The lump of quince puree and the quail pieces were just plopped on top of the lentils, but the flavors didn't really mesh. Also, the quail looked anemic, not nicely browned, as it should be.
Entrees: The ling cod with fennel was amazing! The crispy, vibrant, tangy almost citrusy flavor of the fennel perfectly complimented the impeccably cooked fish, with the lovely jus soaked up by the bright green chard. The fennel cod was the outstanding dish of the meal. But our other main was a flop. It was lamb, but the chunks lacked any lamb flavor what so ever, were uniformly gray (Canteen just didn't seem to know how to brown meat.), and tough. They were accompanied by sauce, vegetables and olives, in some unmemorable, arbitrary combination, and a maybe couscoue that I am happy not to recall too clearly.
Dessert: We ordered the hyped vanilla soufflé, and learned what we should have known. Vanilla soufflé is bland. The chocolate mousse-like desert was fine, but standard. Our thought was: good, finally some flavor.
Rivoli: A really lovely meal.
(We skipped the starters.)
Entrees: Lamb, the way it should be. Medium rare, browned crust, but a with a juicy pink center so tender you could cut the slices with the side of your fork. The lamby flavor nicely mingled with the pomegranate sauce. The potato pouf was meaningless, but hardly mattered, and was the only element of the meal I would quibble with. Our second entree was the butternut squash torta with chestnuts and mushrooms. The rich preparation of the sweet squash and earthy mushroom combined into just what you wanted to eat on a winter night.
Dessert: The chocolate budino was also just what I wanted, warm, melty and chocolatey. Not anything new perhaps, but I am a sucker for chocolate. The sorbets were also nice, but also standard. But Rivoli's standards are high!
Nice reports. Was that your first meal at Canteen? It seems to get mainly positive reviews, but I still haven't made it there yet. I like Rivoli too. I keep meaning to get there to try the cassoulet.
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