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Chef Toby Hill now at Lyric Yarmouthport

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I've been a big fan of Toby's, both in his time at the helm of the kitchen at Pain D'Avignon, and for his very short stint at 586 Bistro in Hyannis. Three of us decided at the last minute to give Lyric a try. I had been there in September and had an impeccable meal and was surprised to learn of their new Music Room/Bar menu which featured some low priced apps and mains. We vowed to return, just never really got to it until last night.

We braved the rain, had to wait a few minutes for the valet to realize we there, and were seated in the music room after a bit of a wait at the door. Our server, who was delightful throughout, quickly took our drink order, told us of the two specials for the Saturday night, a grilled swordfish on mashed potatoes with mushrooms and calamata olives ($26) and a cream of cauliflower soup ($7), I was pleasantly surprised to see upon opening the menu, that Chef Toby Hill was their new head chef. Then the disappointment crept in. The smaller portion entrees were gone, replaced by a couple of 1/2 portion pastas. The menu had shrunk considerably with several favorite items gone. But there were a few interesting additions so it wasn't all bad.

We ordered the cauliflower soup which was outstanding, the french onion soup ($8), which was surprisingly marginal with huge doughy croutons occupying most of the bowl, and the baked oysters which are cooked with pancetta, leaks and a cream sauce. Quite yummy, briny, lightly sauced and cooked perfectly (4@$12).

I was the only one who ordered a salad ($8). Chef Toby has changed the former Bibb Salad with pear, candied walnuts, blue cheese and mustard vinaigrette, to a simple salad of bibb, fried shallots, lemon zest and white wine vinaigrette. Disappointing. Too acidic and sour while the fried shallots imparted an almost burnt flavor. It was a surprising big step down in both flavor and quality.

Onto the entrees, the flavors were there, and the expertise in preperation and quality of ingredients were all obvious, but the portions were strange. The swordfish special was a very small and thin portion on a huge mound of creamy mashed potatoes. The prime aged sirloin ($32) was again a very small cut on a huge pile of fingerling potatoes with red pepper and onions. It was cooked perfectly, but the ny strip had almost half the tail portion cut off so the portion was approx. 3" x 4" at most and of average thickness. My portion was quite small, although expected as I ordered the 1/2 portion of ricotta gnocchi with duck bolognese. This was the star of the night in my opinion.

We passed on desert. $182 plus tip for the three of us. I'm having a difficult time deciding if I'd recommend it as the experience was clearly a let-down from my previous visit. Not that it was bad mind you, just not as good as before. I'd love to hear any one's thoughts who have been recently.

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  1. I'd love to hear more recent reviews of this place under this new chef, I'm thinking of visiting on a trip to the area in April.

    1. I was at Lyric the exact same night as CCG, I believe (2/23.)
      My husband,kids, and I took my parents there for dinner (parents chose the restaurant.)
      Several of us had the French Onion soup as well, I did not try it, but they were happy. I had the sirloin tartare ($13) for a starter. There was plenty of it, and though it was fresh tasting, it was also surprisingly bland. Could have used some lemon juice for acid. My husband had the Bibb salad, and also was not impressed.
      My son had the lamb burger, which also had gruyere cheese and came with fries. He loved it, only ate half- took the rest home. Daughter had Caesar salad and baked oysters both as her entrée, she really liked both.
      Husband and father both had the sirloin ($32) I agree with CCG, small portion, one was ordered medium rare, one medium well. They were given the wrong plates and switched the plates themselves after having one bite each. My mother had the braised rib stroganoff which she really liked. I had the duck bolognese which I loved, almost had ordered the 1/2 portion and so glad I didn't because my full portion was quite small. Was I given a half by mistake?
      Dessert was a HUGE miss. Son had ice cream, fine, daughter had blood orange sorbet, fine. I ordered the Taste of Citrus to share. Probably the worst mishmash of a dessert I've ever had. The lemon cake tasted like a Sarah Lee pound cake, grapefruit jam was tart and bitter, the lemon verbena ice cream was odd, blood orange sorbet was the only saving grace. Fresh basil was scattered all over everything, which only made it worse.
      We were $300+, service was fine though got spotty as it became more busy.
      I'm not sure if I'd recommend either, though I would go back in a second if only for the duck bolognese.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dennisl

        Lol...small world. I'm pretty sure then, that you were seated at the table next to us in the music room along the wall with the padded banquette?

        Although I am happy to have my opinion validated, it's a shame that Chef Toby's abilities didn't shine through that evening. Hopefully it's just an aberration and he's trying to impress his new employer by keeping food costs down, but he's has to balance that with having people wanting to return. And like you, the only thing I'd really want to go back for was that duck bolognese gnocchi.

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          Yes, that was us. We're you a party of 3? I vaguely recall that now- and I was talking about you. (Telling my parents how I find your recs on the Cape to be spot on, so nothing bad!)

          1. re: dennisl

            Yes, I was with my DW and her older sister.

            And don't lie to your parents!!!