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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Critiquing the Critics?

Summer 2012 Restaurant Week kicked of on Monday, so naturally, I hit up my first restaurant on Tuesday.  Lindsay had mentioned always walking by Café d’Alsace all the time but never walking in, so this seemed like the perfect time to give it a try.  The restaurant was very French: wooden banquettes, old French posters, small tile floors.  The décor, combined with the location on 88th and 2nd made it very neighborhood-y, which is always a plus for me.

Lindsay and I both started with the soft shell crab in a garlic and lemon butter sauce/broth.  Soft shell crab is one of my favorite summer treats (especially on a sandwich – yum), so it is nearly impossible for not to order it when I see it on a menu.  I thought the crab itself was cooked very well, but unfortunately it was overshadowed by the sauce, which was over-salted.  What a shame.  For the main course, Lindsay got a filet with potato gratin, and I ordered vegetable lasagna.  It was almost like deconstructed lasagna.  It wasn’t so cohesive, more like some pasta and vegetables sorta stacked on top of each other in a pool of sauce.  I will say it was nice to have meatier vegetables like thick zucchini slices and hunks of artichoke hearts and the cheesy crust on top was cheesarific.  It is rare that I think the dessert is the best course of the meal, but here it was.  Lindsay and I both wanted the strawberry crème brulée and the mille feuille with passion fruit so we got both and were not disappointed.  The crème brulée had a hint of liqueur to it that made it stand out. 

I thought the meal was good, and as an Upper East Sider with plenty of friends in the 80s, it is a good restaurant to keep in mind.  However, I have to say I am surprised to find that it was a Critics’ Pick.  It was fine, but they don’t give out those check marks to just anyone and I would not have thought this would make the cut.  Maybe I’m missing something?

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