423 Textures and Flavors
A Vintage repast
Our friendly server, Landon, quickly brought water and took our drink orders: a Bourberry Old Fashioned ($11) and an Aston Martin ($11). Minutes later, we exchanged our food order for the cocktails. The Aston Martin was a much more feminine-looking drink than the name implied—a martini glass of pink liquid with five blueberries floating on top. It was candy-like in flavor, but light and with an appropriate balance of sweet and tart. The Bourberry, jazzed up with St. Germain and muddled blackberries, was … too jazzed up. There was so much going on in the glass (a lot of ice and berries and orange) that the foundation—whiskey and water—was sort of lost. I'm not a dumb kid anymore, and if I'm going to order a libation with good whiskey, I certainly want to be able to taste it. I ordered another shot of Woodford Reserve ($10), and upon receiving it, dumped it into the lowball glass along with some water and a twist of lemon. Way better.
The smoked Blue Point oysters with lemon caviar, wasabi crème fraîche, mignonette sauce and arugula slush were tasty though mildly confusing. The lemon caviar had a fun, zesty snap, and all the toppings blended well—particularly, though surprisingly, with a sip of the Aston Martin—but the choice to serve the shellfish at room temperature was disconcerting. The lobster bisque was nice, and the asparagus was heavy since the mango-habañero beurre blanc sauce that it came with wasn't tangy enough to balance the hefty fried tempura coating.
The smoked Blue Point oysters with lemon caviar, wasabi crème fraîche, mignonette sauce and arugula slush were tasty though mildly confusing. The lemon caviar had a fun, zesty snap, and all the toppings blended well—particularly, though surprisingly, with a sip of the Aston Martin—but the choice to serve the shellfish at room temperature was disconcerting.
Soon the entrees arrived, beautifully arranged on shining white dishes that stood out against the black tablecloth. Four fat scallops ringed a demisphere of lobster mashed potatoes topped with sautéed asparagus and a creamy lemon béarnaise sauce. I ripped my gaze away to peek at my companion's meal: a large, dark hunk of meat with a whole roasted green chile, mashed potatoes, a red chile demi-glace, and roasted asparagus and carrots. We dug in. The mollusks had a nice sear on the outside and were soft on the inside; they were peppery and buttery. The potatoes didn't have that silky, creamy texture that I was hoping for, but they did have generous pieces of lobster mixed in. The asparagus was magnificent with the lemon béarnaise.
Pilfered bites from the nearby dish revealed the braised beef to be oh so tender. The meat itself wasn't really seasoned with anything other than salt, but the demi-glace and roasted green chile solved that. As we requested our bill, we also ordered the crème brûlée ($9) garnished with sweet whipped cream and fresh berries. It arrived quickly—cool crème speckled with miniscule black vanilla beans and topped with a warm, caramelized sugar shell. I cracked the top. The crème was less viscous than expected, but fantastically and paradoxically light yet rich. The berries pushed the whole thing over the edge and into heaven. From the unobtrusive yet helpful service to the savory and satisfying cuisine, this classy place is a good vintage.
8000 Paseo Del Norte NE