Restaurant week brought me in to this tiny little restaurant. What a gem it turned out to be!
The bad, there was an error and our reservation had not been put in the book. The chef came out personally to apologize for the mix-up and he came to the table again toward the end of the meal to apologize again. They were all very chagrined at the oversight and really tried (and succeeded) in making it up to us.
The pleasant surprise, Sunday and Monday are half price wine bottle nights! Any bottle they sell by the glass, you get for half price on those nights and they have some very lovely wines.
The beautiful, the food was worth the trip and it made the wait not so bad. I started with the arugula salad with candy cane beets. Chef Rusconi has sourced some awesome blue cheese that he used in this salad; divine! N had the cauliflower soup which he said was okay and better than he thought it would be; he did note that it really did need the pancetta. The others all had the shrimp and linguica grits; all five of them declared it to be excellent. H was very pleased with the texture and sweetness that fresh corn added to the grits.
The main courses did not disappoint. I had the braised short rib with roasted garlic spaetzle. The meat literally fell apart at the touch of the fork and was accompanied by a rich intensely flavored jus which the perfectly cooked spaetzle sopped up. The jus took away any hint of dryness in the rib. J enjoyed the salmon which was cooked perfectly with a crispy skin and moist interior. Both N and P said the beef medallions were excellent while T and S enjoyed the green chile pork. S would have preferred corn tortillas and one of them said he thought there needed to be one more tortilla.
We were informed shortly after ordering that they were out of one of the desserts on offer for restaurant week (berry and dark chocolate empanada). So several of us changed our order to the apple and coconut budino instead. Someone chose the banana cake brulee. I was teasing the chef about making it up to me for our lost reservation by giving me a rain check for the dessert they were out of. Much to my surprise he offered me (after I told him it was about the chocolate) the chocolate bread pudding. It was a huge portion and really really good. I have never had a chocolate bread pudding that I liked before; this was great, the chocolate infused the bread rather than surrounding it and it was not too sweet. It was so big that everyone got some of it and all said they liked it. I sampled the budino and was pleasantly surprised by the toned down level of sweetness there too, the coconut with the granny smith apples was a great taste combination. I do not recall comments about the brulee, probably because I was so wrapped up in my astounding bread pudding.
Iced tea was excellent and there were sufficient beer choices. Service was outstanding. I will most definitely return (I have my eye on a bison sirloin.) and hope that Chef Rusconi chooses to open a restaurant closer to me soon.