Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Birthday Dinner

It was the Mysterious Chinese Woman’s birthday today so I decided to take her to a restaurant in our neighborhood that we had been talking about for awhile. Saul. It is on Smith Street, also known as Restaurant Row. The address is 140 Smith Street and some of you more observant readers of this blog may realize it is right next door to Apt. 138 that I visited way back on January 30th last year.

The restaurant is named after Chef Saul Bolton and has been around since 1999, which makes it a bit of a pioneer in this area. Mr. Bolton used to work at le Bernardin and the food here is excellent. I had a delicious meal with an entrée of a lamb sampler plate. Lamb seems to be one of their specialties. The Mysterious Chinese Woman loved her smoky seafood soup but claimed her mother made better squab. Of course her equally Mysterious Mother is an excellent cook. Her pig’s feet in a ginger sauce with hardboiled eggs are to die for.

But, I digress. The décor is understated with hardwood floors, pale yellow walls with some sections of exposed brick. The ceiling is pressed tin. The wooden Venetian blinds in the front window gives this a bit of a library feel. It is a small place, only seating about 50 people. It was pretty much packed by the time we left. The bar is just a small, standing room only thing with a nice looking wooden bar back.

Bar Man At, Where Else, The Bar

The staff here was very pleasant. I ordered a bottle of excellent Alsatian Riesling thinking I was going to have fish. When the waiter announced the specials, which included the lamb, I said I should have waited and ordered a bottle of red wine. I said I would have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon when the entrée arrived. The waiter delivered it and said it was on the house because he should have told us the specials before taking my wine order. The Mysterious Chinese Woman was pleased though because she prefers white wine, and it was a very good one.

I had a cheese plate and a glass of port for dessert and for the price, $12, it was one of the best cheese plates I have ever had. Generous portions of six nice cheeses including one that was the color of a ripe tomato. I should have taken this picture before I tucked into it with such gusto.

Well Nibbled Cheese

Laurent was the waiter who took such good care of us, but the whole staff was most friendly and I can recommend Saul without hesitation. Everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Laurent The Friendly Waiter
(refers to himself as Empereur)