Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bar Snacks & Drinks at Prospect

Prospect is the restaurant and bar located across the street from my offices.  It is one of Emil's favorite places.  Let's just say, I've visited many times.

The following is a collection of reviews over assorted visits throughout 2014 - 2015.  I was going to combine into one master post with my previous posts, but that would get far too long, so I left separate.  I'll leave all of the general descriptions out, since, you've read it all before many times.

Let me know if you have thoughts on how to best format update reviews.  Add to the original? Keep separate?  What works for you, dear readers?

Previous posts:


Domino Effect. $11.50.
"Vodka, Autumn Spice Syrup, Habañero Shrub Lemon, Apple Cider".

This was really sweet an unbalanced.  Surprising, since they normally have really well designed cocktails.

So I moved on to the Manhattan Project: Silver Oat Whiskey, Dolin Blanc Rhum Agricole, Orange Bitters ($12).  It was much better than the Domino Effect, more balanced, but still pretty alcoholic tasting.  I did really liked the cherry in it.  Not quite my thing, but a good drink.
Prospector. $12.
"Scotch, Madeira, Benedictine, Prospect Bitters, Flamed Orange."

Best drink of the night.  A really nicely balanced, signature drink for a reason.

I’d certainly consider this one again.  Goes particularly well with spiced nuts (more on that below!).
I didn't get the name of this on, but it had rum and “autumn syrup”.

It was the best drink I ever had at Prospect.  I loved the spice from the syrup.  I had one made by one bartender that was really amazing, sooo much spicing.  And then I had another made by a different bartender with much less spicing.  It also tasted more alcoholic, not nearly as balanced.  Still good, but not as mind blowing.

If it makes a return to the menu next fall, I'd certainly try it again.
Garden Variety: $12.
"Gin, Grapefruit, Radish, Lemon, Creole Bitters, Cava"

This was ... ok.  Fairly refreshing.  Good bitterness from the grapefruit.  But, just not a lot going on.  I wouldn't get it again.

I also tried the "Discovery of the New World: Reposado Tequila, Manzanilla Sherry, Cara Cara Syrup," and it failed to impress.  A bit too bitter for me.  Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for cocktails?

Bar Snacks

Warm Nuts. $4. 
When you are at a bar, you need to munch on something, right?  We started with the most basic bar snack: nuts.

They were nicely spiced (with rosemary I think?).   Served warm is always a nice touch.  The mix was pecans, cashews, and peanuts, a decent selection.   I particularly liked the pecans.

Not particularly amazing, but, good for what they were, and if I just wanted something to munch at the bar, I'd get them again.
Kabocha Squash Hummus / Olive Oil Crackers. $7.
Someone I was with ordered the hummus and crackers.  

I don't like hummus, but still tried a bite, since I love kabocha squash and hoped that would dominate the flavor.  It didn't.  Still hummus, so not for me, but the garnish of seasonally appropriate pomegranate seeds was a nice touch.

The olive oil crackers on the side were quite tasty though, I just wanted something different to dip them into.
Fries with Aioli. $6.
Whenever I visit Prospect, I'm always jealous of the fries.  They always look amazing, and so many groups seem to order them.  So I finally tried them, after many years of visiting and just drooling from a distance.

Look at these things!  Serious fries.  Thick cut.  Delivered piping hot and fresh.  Very soft and mashed potato-y inside, but crispy outside.

But ... I didn't love them.  I think it was the aioli that killed it for me.  I usually love aioli, and this was just ... mayo, really.  It had no real flavor.  It didn't add anything to the fries.  I found myself wanting ketchup (which never happens!).

On another visit, I tried the fries again when they had a special: salt and vinegar fries!  They were again thick cut, served warm.  The salt and vinegar flavor was quite successful.  But ... the aioli flavorless and not good.

Maybe I'll try them again, but sadly, this is one dish that looks much better than it has tasted.
Caesar’d Deviled Eggs with Garlic Bread Crumbs. $7.
Ok, now we are getting somewhere!  Deviled eggs!

I'm very particular about my deviled eggs.  I love deviled eggs.  When I was in college, I made them, in the dining hall, all the time.  The salad bar had whole hard boiled eggs, the sandwich bar had mayo, mustard, relish, etc, and I could always find other fun things to mix in.  So whenever I wasn't into what the dining hall was serving, I had a fallback that I adored.  Sure, my friends thought I was crazy, cracking the eggs, pulling out the yolk, mixing up my magic mix of filling, and stuffing it back in, but I didn't care.  They always made me so happy.

Anyway, I like trying interesting spins on deviled eggs, and Prospect always has some kind of deviled egg.

On this visit it was a play on a ceasar salad.  The filling was creamy, and perfectly salty, but the "caesar" nature of it wasn't too strong.  The garnish of lettuce to mimic the salad was cute though.

Fine, but I prefer my deviled eggs to be spicy, or just have something a bit more going on.
Spring Garlic Deviled Eggs: Bacon, Pickled Serrano. $7.
I tried several other variations on the deviled eggs at Prospect, and they just never really met my particular style.  I didn't order these, or even want them, but Emil did, and demanded that I try one.  He loves Prospect, and is always sad that I never find the food quite as good as he does.
The filling in these was green, which you can't really tell from this photo.  Unfortunately, I didn't taste any spring garlic.  The filling was creamy, but, just not interesting to me.  The egg was cooked fine.  The pickled serrano did give a nice pop of heat, and who doesn't love a tiny bit of bacon, but, they were just deviled eggs.  Not flavorful enough.
Duck Liver Mousse: Dates, Pickled Shallots, Brioche Soldiers.  $9
I've had mixed success with the duck liver mousse at Prospect over the years.  But, after a conversation involving foie gras, it seemed fitting to at least order the mousse (this visit was clearly during the foie gras ban).

The mousse itself was decent, creamy, not too liver-y, with a sprinkle of salt on top.  A bit more salt, perhaps on the plate for us at add on as desired, would have been appreciated, but otherwise, the mousse was fine.

The brioche soldiers sounded like a nice vessel for the mousse ... except they weren't warm.  They had been toasted at some point, but had lost their heat long before reaching us.

I love shallots and pickled things, so I liked the pickled shallots, but they didn't quite go with the mousse.  They would have been better mixed into the deviled eggs!

The only other component on the plate was two dates, cut in half.  They provided some necessary sweetness, but there were only two, and, dates don't really spread. This dish was seriously lacking some sort of fruit compote.

Overall, one of the less successful versions of this dish, but again, the mousse itself was fine, it was just everything served with it that didn't add up.
Spiced Foie Gras Torchon: Orange Marmalade, Sparkling Gelée, Chocolate Brioche. $15.
Ah, foie gras.  This review was clearly written once the ban had been taken back.

This was a decent offering.

Two types of toast, one regular brioche, one chocolate, both thick and nicely toasted.  Served warm this time.  A good foundation for the foie.

The torchon was good, quite creamy, with good strong foie flavor.

The "sparkling gelée" didn't have much flavor, but was a fun component.  The marmalade was similar, good enough, nice to have fruit and sweetness, but, not remarkable.

Overall, solid, well executed, but not particularly memorable.
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