My brother and sister-in-law gave me the greatest of gifts for my last birthday: a gift certificate for a dinner out with an additional goldmine: free babysitting! To make it all the more special, the certificate was to Clio, a restaurant that I had wanted to go to for about 10 years. However, due to the discomfort of late pregnancy and then the birth of our second son, the certificate remained unused.
Finally, though, as we began to feel more confident and comfortable with our new son, we decided to have the babysitters come last weekend. Like many parents going out for the first time, I was nervous. Would the baby take a bottle? Would he go to sleep? Would we actually get to enjoy Boston or spend hours looking for parking...and then need to leave early, racing home to our hysterical children?
As luck would have it, we found a parking spot instantaneously. And due to the excellent babysitters (again, my brother, sister-in-law and mother!), we didn't have to worry. (Confession, I did call home twice...but the baby had his first cold!)
Ultimately, it felt like a true date night. My analysis: the plates were esthetically beautiful, and each element clearly was the product of a tremendous amount of care. But overall, the parts never quite came together. Yet my husband felt differently: that the dishes were delicious and worth the expense. I wish I had brought my camera as the dishes are truly works of art, but instead the descriptions (from memory) will have to suffice.
I had 3 appetizers:
Artichoke hearts with dried, crumbled olives; apricot puree; goat cheese powder, shallots, anchovy bones and peppercorns and my favorite: baby chanterelles
Lacquered Fois Gras with strawberry puree, pureed strawberries and dried violets. I have read so much about fois gras that to the chagrin of my prior vegetarian life, I decided to try it. And, I will not need to have it again. The dish tasted of fat and sugar. While I have enjoyed pates, I could pass on this.
Cassoulet with uni and lobster and foam. Although this is a Clio classic I found it to be dominated by salt. I am also not a converted uni fan.
My husband had Kobe Beef Brisket with Fiddleheads
Financier with hazelnuts and banana miso ice cream. The financier was buttery without being too sweet. The hazelnuts provided a delicious contrast.
Milk Chocolate Mousse with white beer ice cream and tangerine sorbet. The mousse was smooth and elegant, but the covering (white chocolate?) tasted like plastic. We could have both skipped the beer ice cream.
Molten Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream and Carrot Syrup. Our favorite dish (and one of our favorites of all time!) A fabulous twist on the ubiquitous and cliched molten chocolate cake. Again, not too sweet, but incredibly flavorful.