Valentine’s Day weekend is a great time for restaurants, especially the cozier, upscale ones. And of course, being the unabashed consumer I am, I played right into it. Last Saturday, my boyfriend and I had dinner at The Kitchen Table, a new restaurant that focuses on sustainable ingredients. Their menu changes seasonally to provide us with the freshest produce. There’s even a section in the back with information about local, sustainable farms. For the rest of this review, however, I’m going to stop mentioning that aspect of the food, one reason being that I don’t really know much/pay attention to sustainability — obviously it’s good, but hey, I’m a freshman in college who hasn’t bought produce in months. I expect another three years at Yale will change that though. Anyway, on to more pictures!
Scones! Yay, food. The starter breads were delicious and came with a garlic herbed (?) butter and a maple cinnamon one; unfortunately we attacked the rolls before we could get a picture. (but they were adorable!)
First we shared the Redskin Potato, Leek and Apple Chowder with Polenta Croutons. It looked a bit like apple sauce, so I was uncertain about it, but the mix of flavors definitely works, as did the texture. I’m not really a fan of chutney-type tastes though, so this wasn’t my favorite dish. We also had a discussion about what polenta was — a kind of bread? No that’s bruschetta. Italian bacon? Panchetta. (Polenta is a sort of cornmeal, by the way. In retrospect I think I knew that.) All my summers watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network seem to have amounted to nothing.
BUT THE Pan seared Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and dates! Divine. Even providential. Time for a flashback. Earlier that day, we had been browsing Tastespotting and came across a recipe for pan roasted brussels sprouts. Upon which Max scoffed at the existence of a recipe for brussels sprouts, (“Put in pan. Add salt. ??”) and I complained about only having them once, which was the time I cooked them for my family for Thanksgiving and they looked at me funny, and how I thought brussels sprouts were bean sprouts until I was 14. Anyway, the point is that these brussels sprouts were amazing. If you don’t like them, you obviously haven’t tried them like this. I have an unnatural aversion to bacon, but it gave the sprouts such a burst of flavor (and fat!) that I may have to start making these from now on.
The main dishes actually reminded me of a Christmas dinner I had with my family when we were stranded at a lodge in the canyons of Utah earlier this winter. Every entree of overcooked meat came with the same mushy veggies on the side; I felt like I was at a dining hall again. Of course, The Kitchen Table was many a step up from that experience, but the vibe was the same.
I ordered the Grilled Free Range Chicken Accompanied by Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Winter Vegetable Medley. (I think my motto when eating out is, “When in doubt, pick the chicken.”) The meat was decent, although it lay on a sauce of some spicy chutney. (auhhhhhghgh why!) The side vegetables were nothing to write home about, and I still haven’t figured out the identity of the mysterious pale yellow/translucent thing, roughly the size and shape of an artichoke petal. The potatoes made me happy though, because potatoes always make me happy. But again, I don’t have that strong of an impression of the main entree because I was too busy savoring the brussels sprouts.
Oh yeah, and Max had the Grilled Skirt Steak with House Marinade with Cloverleaf Honey Glaze Steak from Sustainable New England Cattle Accompanied by Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Winter Vegetable Medley. Manly. Tried a piece of the steak; it was yummy, and everything else was the same. Have I mentioned the brussels sprouts?
Service was very friendly, but it was obvious that our server was very busy and gave us the wrong check at the end. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, though, it didn’t matter much. (: Next up: Basil, in which Kathy celebrates Chinese New Year with more greasy “fusion” Asian food!
The Kitchen Table is located at 128 Crown Street New Haven, At Gotham Citi CafÃ©