Special Occasion dinner help--engagement night
Trying to decide between Acquerello, Jardiniere, Quince, Farallon and seemingly dozens of other similarly priced options. We're not die-hard "foodies" but both appreciate great food and would love something to mark the occasion.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Here's the actual menu
Chilled Maine Lobster,
Mango Sorbet, Hearts of Palm and Sauternes Gelée, Tsar Nicoulai Caviar
Brooks Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2006
* * *
Housemade Pancetta, White Asparagus and Ramp Greens, Verjus Nage
Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy, France 2006
* * *
Ragoût of Suckling Pig and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cascina Cucco Barbera d'Alba “Superiore” Piedmont, Italy 2005
* * *
Liberty Farms Duck Breast,
Foie Gras Cromesquis, Quinoa, Citrus and Lamb's Quarters
Vacheron Sancerre Rouge “Belle Dame” Loire Valley, France 2005
* * *
Dry Aged Ribeye and Glazed Shortrib,
Baby Fennel, Wild Mushroom and Carrot Gratinée, Sauce Diable
Whetstone Syrah “Guidici Family Vineyard” Sonoma Coast, California 2005
* * *
Robiola di Capra
Hazelnut, Celery and Truffle Honey
La Spinetta Moscato d'Asti “Vigneto Biancospino” Piedmont, Italy 2007
* * *
Amaretto Sabayon, Toasted Almonds and Strawberry Sorbet
Luciano Landi Lacrima di Morro d'Alba “Passito” Marches, Italy 2004
Well, I'm happy to say everything went great!
We went to Jardiniere and absolutely loved it. They had champagne flutes waiting at the table and poured complimentary glasses for us to start the meal (I have no idea what the bottle was as I'm as far from a champagne afficionado as you can be.)
We decided on the tasting menu with wine--figured it was best to put us in their hands for the evening. It was a wonderful 3 hours of food and wine--I'm doing my best to remember the courses.
1-maine lobster served over wakame salad with a dab of caviar on top (served w Reisling) this was really good but not quite as good as it looked on the menu--the lobster was a little overpowered for me
2-seared halibut with white asparagus in a beurre blanc foam sauce (served w a russian river chardonnay--very smoky and full of flavor) this was my favorite dish of the meal, absolutely outstanding--there might have also been some bacon or pancetta involved
3-potato gnocchi with suckling pig (wine pairing starts to get a little fuzzy here, I believe this came with an italian red)--this was my 2nd favorite, great contrast to the previous dish--very homey and hearty, would be perfect after a day of skiing
4-sauteed duck breast (sliced) served with a deep fried foie gras in pangko breadcrumbs (this was with a syrah)--probably my least favorite, but somehow ended up as the largest portion-I'm not a huge duck person and this was very good but too rich for my taste
*I have no idea how they did it but when you cut open the foie gras it was similar to an over easy egg, spilling out a rich sauce for the plate--fun but very rich
5-wagyu ribeye and short rib (with a burgundy) was my 3rd favorite--two preparations of outstanding beef, the ribeye was rare/med rare and the short rib was stringy like really really gourmet pot roast-the dish was served with carrots and asparagus (I think, might have been another green veggie)
6-cheese course--this flew right past don't remember much about it
7-very rich chocolate dessert with strawberries--see cheese course
sorry I don't have much more to report, it was a whirwind of gluttony but a wonderful night and the staff at Jardiniere were absolutely fantastic, I'd highly recommend them for a special night out
Acquerello and Quince (both are Italian but with a somewhat French influence, for lack of a better word) and both would be great, especially Acquerello. Great room, great food and it will be very private. Quince is less private and a little more loud than Acquerello but not out of control, and I would give the food at Quince a slight edge over Acquerello, but Acquerello to me has a better atmosphere to celebrate an engagement. I like Jardiniere but don't believe it's quite as good as Quince and Acquerello and Farallon is just not special enough.
Are you planning on popping the question at dinner? If so you may want to read this recent thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/489087
Acquerello has great food and an interesting atmosphere, but if you haven't been there, it's very stiff. May not be your cup of tea.
Jardiniere is far more celebratory. The best seats for two are, without a doubt, on the upper balcony at the rail. Somewhat private as you're not cheek-and-jowl with another table, and you've got the view of the bar and jazz combo. Request it if you can.... you'll have a good time.