Vertical - Missed opportunity
We went to Vertical about a week ago for their regional menu with wine. Last month was Portugal, 4 courses for $45, $60 with wine pairings. The pictures on the website looked good and the menu read well. Many years ago I had a good meal at Eau when Tawfik was the chef.
Service at Vertical was good and they sent out an extra course, grilled octopus and potato salad, because they had run out of the amuse. $45 for what turned into 5 courses is a bargain. The problem is the food was just not great. Dishes were too simple and relied on quality ingredients which just weren't there. The soup had a confusing amount of flavours as a base, in other words I'm not sure what stock was used. The salt cod dish consisted of salt cod covered by greasy mashed potatoes and green olives, a dish which became boring after the second bite. The octopus was a victim of too many flavours, octopus doesn't need to be braised in more than a wine court bouillon. My pork and clam main course was the third dish of the night with potatoes and the pork was very tough from being overcooked and the clams and broth lacked clear flavour. This last dish would have greatly benefitted by some fresh herbs. Dessert was dry.
The first wine worked with the chestnuts in the soup, but nothing else. The other pairings didn't really work. If the wine pairings had worked well 70% of the meal and the food was better, I would be back very month to try their new menu. As things were, I wouldn't go back to Vertical. I should mention, my friends were happy with the meal and thought it was a steal.