Tonight we returned to Marlowe for the first time in several years, to again have the famed burger.
It was a good meal, although quite heavy. Everything we had contained cheese, bacon, browned butter, cream, or all of the above :) Overall, most things were good, but nothing blew me away. As a complete package though it worked - good apps, good burger, good dessert. I'd go back, but am not in a rush to do so, although there were several menu items I missed out on that I'm definitely interested in trying.
The restaurant was very loud. Not sure exactly what was wrong acoustically, but I think that one of my friends only heard about 10% of what I said during the meal, as he was seated furthest away. Other than that, the ambiance was typical SOMA, a little trendy, with communal tables, specials written on a paper scroll, and nice touches like coat hooks built in. Prices were very reasonable.
My biggest complaint is with the temperature of the food we received - several things arrived lukewarm. I'm not sure if the kitchen was having a hard time, or if our food was sitting in the pass and our waitress wasn't picking it up to bring it to us, but it definitely harmed the tastiness.
|Baked Oysters: "New England chowder in a shell", topped with bacon and breadcrumbs. $3 each.|
These might have been awesome, except that they were served lukewarm at best. I'm not sure if it was the fault of the kitchen or our waitress, but these were really far too cold when they reached us. In retrospect, I wish we had said something, as they were obviously wrong.
This was basically an oyster chowder, served in the shell. Flavors were good and it was creamy. The bacon was a nice salty touch. The ratio of breadcrumb was off though - way too much bread crumb.
I'd be tempted to order these again in the future to see what they are like at the proper temperature. $3 each seemed like a fine price, and I liked that you could order them individually, not forced to order a plate of 6 or whatever.
|Warm Deviled Egg: Aged provolone, pickled jalapeño & bacon. $1.50 each.|
|Twice Baked Dungeness Crab Soufflé : rock shrimp sauté, fines herbe, wine butter sauce. $13.|
Except ... this was pretty mediocre/poor. The rock shrimp and crab meat in the wine butter sauce around the souffle were much better than the souffle itself. The souffle just didn't really have anything going for it - not light and fluffy, not cheesy, not crabby, just ... not really anything.
This dish just made me want to go to Cafe Jaqueline!
|Marlowe Burger: caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, horseradish aioli & fries. $14.|
It was good, but certainly not the best burger I've had even in the past few weeks.
The bun seemed a little too big and thick for the size of the patty, I had many bites that were just bun.
The meat itself was grilled very well, it had a lovely seared crust on the outside, without cooking the inside too much (this was ordered medium-rare). It was decently juicy. The quality of the meat didn't seem great though - not particularly flavorful and some of my bites were strangely chewy, like the meat hadn't been ground consistently.
The cheddar and bacon were delicious, and I liked how much lettuce was on it as well. I didn't really get any of the caramelized onions though, which is too bad, as I tend to love them.
The fries were good, nice and crisp on the outside, decent seasoning. However, mine were fairly cold even when I first received my plate. (Actually, hmm, the burger was also not all that hot now that I think about it.) Again, not sure who the place the blame with here, but I was surprised that the fries were actually cold when I had one the moment the plate was set down in front of me.
The horseradish aioli was decent, I liked the kick from the horseradish, but the aioli itself was a little thick and flavorless.
$14 was an ok price for a burger with good components at a restaurant like this, but I have had much better cheaper burgers.
|Smoky Cauliflower Gratin: aged provolone & smoked cheddar. $9.|
Ridiculously cheesy ... I actually think there was too much cheese melted on top, but once you got past that layer, there was a really nice creamy cheesy sauce, with a complex flavor from the smoky cheddar. This was far tastier than any mac and cheese I've had in ages.
Protip: dip your fries in the cheese sauce. Yum!
Savory dish of the evening, and I'd get it again. Price was about right.
|Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Affogato with amaretto & lemon biscotti. $7.|
This was a cute play on an affogato. Except instead of ice cream, it was panna cotta.
I didn't really like it. The espresso flavor was nice, but the panna cotta was very boring. And I love panna cotta! The biscotti was actually pretty bad and flavorless, we left them unfinished. A cute idea paired with the espresso, but they just weren't good.
$7 is a good price for dessert at a restaurant in this range.
|Strawberry & Brown Butter Rhubarb Crisp, with bourbon ice cream & brown butter caramel sauce. $7.|
I knew that this would be served in a jar so I wasn't expecting a fruit crisp with ice cream on the side or anything, but I was expecting something a little more crisp like, given that it was called a "Strawberry and Brown Butter Rhubrarb Crisp". But who cares, it was delicious!
The bourbon ice cream was creamy and had a decent boozy flavor. The brown butter caramel was sweet and delicious. I only got a tiny bite with the strawberry/rhubarb component, but it was flavorful and seemed to work well.
I easily could have devoured another one of these myself. Best dish of the night, and a good price, although it was a little on the small side!
[ Originally posted Feb. 6, 2012. ]