Graham Elliot

Friday night was fancy date night. Kinda crazy that I can't remember the last time we did this. Blame it on the holidays! Husband and I created a short list of Michelin and well-reviewed restaurants that we wanted to conquer in 2011. First up...Graham Elliot.

Let's start with first impressions. Upon walking in, I was immediately struck with a sense of "urban". It was like getting accepted into the cool crowd. There was an energy in the restaurant that was fed largely by the abundance of hip waitstaff and hostesses. And, might I add that Graham has excellent taste in music. After deciding on mocktails and cocktails, we agreed that a 10-course tasting menu was the way to go. Indeed it was. Bite size entrees with an EXPLOSION of flavor. Flavor was not limited to entrees though. Husband married his entrees with their cocktail pairings which was fun because his reaction became more and more animated as new courses were placed before us.

My favorite course? #2...the caesar. Sounds generic; it was anything but. We're talking brioche infused with mascarpone cheese that oozed when your fork cut into it below a bed of fresh endive and parm completed with a perfectly smoked sardine on top. As you can see, portions are teeny but the flavor is huge.

And yes, I would go back in a heart beat. It was a culinary experience that seems hard to come by these days...more original and inventive than most yet with no pretense. Elliot makes dining fun. The kinda fun that requires you to unbutton your pants at the end of the meal. Bon appetit!