The Elm with a party of four
Food this good can renew anyone's faith in innovative cooking. What we had from the small menu, seven of the twelve offerings were dishes that ranged from really fine to superb, each taking a leap away from the expected. The one complaint I have (leaving out a just weird clunky amuse which made you wonder if Grey Papaya would have been a better choice for the evening) concerns the portion sizes, which are small to tiny. Here the kitchen is at victim of their own successes.
The Asparagus Salad, a small to modest portion, was just so fine and full of unexpected notes that four orders for the table would have been in just enough. It could be a lesson in shake up and smile cooking and fine eats at once.
Fluke w/ Green Mango, Fava Bean Chutney was as bracing as it was miniscule. I would have wanted at least a tapas size monkey dish again fine, fine food.
The 'Fish and Chips' had was a nice crisp, spiced, fried, moist fish but only paper thin veggie chips. I'd like to try this again, as it was less showy than the other first courses and might have required more attention.
Salt Cod w/Gnocchetti Sardi and rabe - lush and full flavored with a cream or cream like sauce. There are great starter preparations that fall into the a bit goes a long way category, but this could have been a main.
With the above courses we had a bottle of 2011 Vouvary sec, Le Mont from Huet, one of my favorite food whites. The next three dishes were accompanied by the 2009 Les Tourelles de Longueville, the second wine from Pichon Baron.0
The second course dishes were duck, short rib, and 'lobster cassoulet', the last denoted as a share item on the menu. As with the starters these selections emphasized complex and novel flavor blends yielding lots of satisfaction. If I had to eliminate one dish it would be the short rib, but it this is fast company.
Desserts were more variable in appeal from quite nice to marvelous. The Panna Cotta was the star light and full of citrus, spice, and floral flavors, a good praline tube thing, and Popcorn Mille-feuille (what would we do without kale and popcorn) was superior.