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Congress

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shalom9 Jun 5, 2011 09:02 AM

Last night, for my mothers birthday, we went to Congress in the Austonian. It was one of the best meals of my life. First of all, the decor of the place is beautiful, but that is not what's really important. The food was spot on. First, we had an amuse bouche of spring pea custard and parmesan foam that was excellent. There was a perfect ratio of foam to custard, and the flavors were amazing. Next, for my first course (I should mention we went for the 3 course menu, as opposed to 7 course), I had a wild arugula salad with beets, burrata, and red grape agro dolce. The burrata was so good, and all the different flavors balanced nicely together. Before the next course came out, they brought us a little brioche roll type thing with some butter, which was very good tasting. Next, I had the white lobster bisque with fresno tomato jam, and a lobster ricotta fritter. It was very creamy and good, and there was lots of lobster chunks on the bottom, which was nice. The tomato jam was a little spicy, which was nice next to the creaminess of the soup. My mom ordered the gnocchi with oxtail this course, and it was very good, as was the seared scallop and pork belly my dad ordered. For our third course, I had carrot ravioli with carrot puree, lemongrass foam, and shiso leaves. It was my least favorite course, because I don't love lemongrass, but it was still very good. The silky texture of the carrot puree and the foam was very interesting. We then ordered a three dessert tasting, with sweet potato beignets, a chocolate terrine, and grapefruit sorbet. The sweet potato beignets were our favorites, they came with salted butter ice cream, pecan brittle, and meringue. The beignets were very delicious, and and the salted butter ice cream and pecan brittle were both very good. Surprisingly, the meringues tasted more like marshmallows than meringues, but they were still good. Next came the chocolate terrine with white chocolate, crispy gianduja, raspberry, and hazelnut, which was also excellent. Then there was the grapefruit sorbet with slices of grapefruit, campari pop rocks, and whipped honey. As I don't really like grapefruit, this wasn't my favorite, but it was still good. Finally, with the bill came a complementary watermelon granita with balsamic jam and a meringue. It was the perfect ending.
Now, not only was the food great, but the service was excellent. For example, when I got up to use the restroom, our waiter noticed, and waited until after I was back to serve the amuse. Another example is my mother, who when we were discussing dessert mentioned the fact that she didn't like meringue. When the granita came, the waiter had remembered that fact and had made sure hers came with out it. All in all, it was a lovely evening, and I highly recommend a meal at Congress.

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    m3lissa RE: shalom9 Jun 5, 2011 10:34 AM

    We were there last night too. We were seated in a very private table in the front of the restaurant. I'm not sure how we managed to end up there, but it was perfect.

    My husband and I started off with cocktails, he had a corpse reviver, I had one called the Mastizo (or something like that). It was very, very good.

    In addition to the first course dishes you had, we had the Hamachi Sashimi, Lobster Salad and Steak Tartare. The sashimi was amazing. The steak tartare, good. Lobster Salad was just ok. Maybe a tad over dressed.

    Second courses - we had all the same ones you did. Yum!

    We added the Fois Gras and meatball slider supplement. Both were excellent. They brought us a second Fois Gras supplement for the table (for the two of us to share that didn't order a 4th course). I wouldn't recommmend ordering a 4th course in the future - too much food.

    Main courses, in addition to the thumbelina carrot ravioli, we had the lamb, veal and soft shell crab. Again, all were excellent.

    We had two of the same dessert as you (we skipped the beignets). I loved grapefruit sorbet (I am a grapefruit fan). Desserts are tiny (thankfully after all that food).

    With my dessert I had a sweet rose sparkling wine that was outstanding. My father in law had en awesome Sauternes.

    All, in all, excellent meal and service.

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    1. re: m3lissa
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      shalom9 RE: m3lissa Jun 5, 2011 12:18 PM

      We actually saw you, we were right by the water station. We decided that your meatball slider looked really good! :) Actually, for the first course, my parents ordered the Sashimi and the Steak Tartare. I agree that the shashimi was better than the tartare. And for the 3rd course, we also ordered the veal and the lamb, which were both so good. Sounds like we have pretty similar pallets!

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