Friday night, Dave suggested we go out to dinner, and then proceeded to add the most delicious stipulation: "You should pick something that you really want - something I would normally veto."
Oh my! My head almost spin in circles trying to pick something he would never normally agree to. There are not many cuisines in general that my husband does not like; it's mostly that he is a stickler for the cost of food. I am trying to slowly bring him over to my side... where I have been happily brainwashed to believe that we should have to actually pay for good food. Not that only elitest, rich folk should be able to enjoy quality food - people who feel this way aren't thinking creatively enough. It's just that good quality food which is grown and delivered in the most sustainable way possible, is going to cost more - either in money or time. End long tangent here.
So Friday night, I decided that we would try a place which has been on my list for SO LONG, but has always been vetoed or suggested for "another time" because it is approx. $3-5 more per menu item than my husband is normally willing to pay: Clementine.
Their website is darling, and describes themselves as a resturant which "does fancypants comfort food with a cross-cultural twist. We change our dinner menu daily, make our own charcuterie and, in general, offer fabulous food for not so much dinero."
I would agree... even with the "not so much dinero" part.
Since they make their own charcuterie, we were sure to order the Chicken Liver Pâté w/ Rye Whiskey, Barbados Molasses & House Smoked Duck as an appetizer. YUM. It was super tasty. And it came with Luceille's Bread & Butter Pickles... which were delicious!
I ordered Roasted Quail Stuffed with Chicken, Fennel, Red Pepper & Honey Sausage with Green Cardamom Ginger Cream Over Mashed Potatoes. When it came to the table I discovered that I also get asparagus - bonus! (even though it's terribly out of season...) This was the first time I had Quail - and I think using a sausage stuffing was genius since the actual Quail has so very little meat. The cream sauce paired so nicely with the bird & stuffing... and I love cardamom, so it's hard not to like such a dish!
Dave got Char, which was house-smoked and then seared, on top of mushroom stroganoff & noodles with peas (no awesome detailed description here, since Clementine changes their menu daily and apparently they're no longer serving the Char dish). He thought it was extrememly tasty, but it was plated a lot differently than he expected, and he did wish it were a slightly larger piece of fish.
The desserts at Clementine are baked daily by chef Winston's Mother, Paige Zeigler. Even though I am not usually a fan of home-made from scratch brownies (I know, I'm weird... but why put forth such effort when the box mix is just so moist and delicious!), I ordered one since it came with fresh whipped cream and I was craving a bit of chocolate (when am I not?). It did not disappoint.
I thought portions were just right. We split & finished the appetizer, Dave finished his whole plate, and I ate almost half mine before boxing the rest. I also took home about 3/4 the brownie after having a little nibble.
Beyond the food, the service was great. On a Friday night I called at 6 and got us a 7 pm reservation. Once we were there we were seated right away.
I knew I wanted a glass of wine with my meal, but wasn't sure what kind would pair well. I asked the waitress and although she wasn't sure, she went to the bartender and brought a bottle for me to try. It was Budini Malbac... and it was a lovely choice! We even ended up picking up a bottle in the wine store later that weekend.
The only real disappointment for the both of us was the bread. We were served bread with butter as we were seated, and then the same bread came with the Pâté. It wasn't bad as a vehicle for delivering liver-y deliciousness, but to eat with the un-salted butter, it was rather bland. Thankfully, the disappointment prompted Dave to bake his ultra-awesome herby bread on Saturday, therefore saving us from a weekend without quality carbohydrates!
My advice to you: get yourself to Clementine, post haste!