New Haven Restaurant Week: Chowhounds at Foster's 11-09
Four avid CHowhounds (and two of their SOs) got together at Foster's for dinner this week.
Speaking for myself and my SO, we had a splendid time and thought our meals, and all shared food consumed, was spectacular. There was hardly a complaint.
Attending was Don Shirer, Kattyeyes, linguist, his wife, me and my SO.
The restaurant quickly became nearly full and remained that way for much of the evening. I would guess we left around 9PM and it was still quite populated. At times it was a little noisy, but most of the time you could carry on a normal conversation. Thanks, much in part to cloth clouds and cloth pillars in the room. It is effective and makes for a nice visual accent. Foster's is a nice restaurant. There is attention to detail. David Foster frequently makes the rounds and talks to customers. He is a huge man and hard to miss, even without the colorful chef's pants he wears).
We had wine glasses changed out and silverware replaced. The only thing I did not see done was a crumbing of the table. Our waitress was very professional in almost every aspect. I though her slightly overbearing when linguist was trying to decide on a white wine and she started helping him pick one with twenty questions (as if he was ignorant), when he was just debating and hesitating. He is not ignorant of wines!
Our rare blackened tuna was perfect. The herbed calamari steak was fantastic and the peanut butter and jelly cheesecake was very good. The tart appetizer was very tasty, but the pastry shell was overworked and pretty tough. That is all I can complain about. The slider appetizer I tried was vey good and the salad and pasta dishes I tasted were all very good.
To me, with the restaurant as busy as it was, they did a magnificent job taking care of us.
This was my and SO's second visit to Foster's and we will definitely be back again, soon.
Hopefully, others will chime in and add their own perspective.
56 Orange St, New Haven, CT 06510
Thanks for posting this! I also saw Frank Cohen's review of Foster's lunch menu at RestaurantsCT.com; he's got photos of the PBJ cheesecake and the wacky chef's pants. I don't usually love his reviews, but I've found his Restaurant Week reviews for Zinc, Union League and Foster's more engaging than usual . . .
My wife and I enjoyed the evening too, and were happy to be introduced to Foster's this way. As far as I can tell, New Haven restaurant week has been quite successful in getting people in to fill the tables....
It has been mentioned in the past that portions at Foster's are quite large, and this aspect of the restaurant certainly wasn't changed for the occasion. I could really only manage only one of the two giant manicotti on my plate, and after that, only half of the "s'mores crême brulée" (topped with chocolate, graham cracker crumbs and melted marshmallow: heavily touted by our server, good if not quite as yummy as she promised). I think we all agreed that these were very generous meals for $29. And looking at the menus for other places, I have to disagree with the opinion some voiced before the fact that Restaurant Week offered few bargains: unless the portions offered were really tiny (as one person did report for Heirloom), most of the menus offered looked like pretty good value to me.
Since game dishes are a specialty here, and I'm fond of game, I'm sorry I let myself be put off by the negative opinion voiced at a neighboring table about the boar chops. At our table, only Don Shirer was brave enough to swim against the tide, and I gather they were actually quite good. That's a fairly unusual thing to find on a bargain promotional menu ... I'll go back again, perhaps even for the elk, venison, yak, antelope and moose dinner next week.
The space in Foster's is generally quite pleasant. I would like to register a minor gripe, though: the silverware looks great as a place setting, but it's really impractical to eat with.
I have to agree that the silverware is lacking in ergonomics. The fact that you can hang them on your belt is not enough to overcome the awkwardness in use! ;)
Bathroom: The space for the free-standing bowl sink and container of paper towels is not adequate. I could not wash my hands without water missing the bowl sink and hitting the counter and towels. In the women's, water was dripping off the counter.
I just don't think of it as being practical for a high-use area and who wants to use soggy paper towels? I know we're here for the food, but these are relevant details. The food and restaurant in general is too good.
I'll chip in another positive review. I enjoyed the wild boar chops, which were not at all dry as rumored by a neighbor, but I was surprised to find them quite mild and not as gamey as I expected. They were accompanied by corn off-the-cob and a triangular slab of macaroni breaded and deep fried. It made an interesting variation on standard macNcheese. Those of us who had the romaine salads with craisins, nuts and vinegrette were complimentary about this appetizer, and the 3 chocolate mousse dessert with filo layers was also delicious. Peeking at my boon companions' plates between conversational gambits, the other offerings looked pretty good as well. With only one ear still working, I was bothered a bit by the noise level when the room was full, but the overall decor and the sine-wave-edged tables complimented the food. Those of us who investigated the restrooms remarked on the wooden bowls supported by a pebble-encrusted plastic shelf. Foster's standard menu looks interesting enough to merit a return visit.
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I appreciate all the details everyone is filling in. It's obvious that David is a talented and creative chef. I particularly liked the airy and light three chocolate mousse dessert with filo pastry.