I have probably written on this subject before but once and a while it is so heavily reenforced that I feel it necessary to comment again.
We eat out quite a bit and it is usually with friends, this is not a strange arrangement for most of us. What sets many evenings apart are the friends that we have developed in the establishments which we patronize. By going often and making it a point to know the staff, including the chef and management, we feel, quite often, as though we are dining with friends, instead of employees. The feeling is reciprocated by our treantemnt. This was all reenforced by several experiences in the last week.
Last weekend we walked into "Nectar Restaurant" ( Mt. Lookout Square) to be greeted by Julie Francis, the owner and chef, with the words "I've fixed sweetbreads for you". Dinner decided. I started with an Heirloom salad, red and yellow tomatoes, and then was presented with a beautiful plate of perfectly sauteed sweetbreads sitting atop a melange of fresh summer vegetables, roughly chopped and simmered. al dente, in their own jucies, with the addition of a few herbs and a shot of sherry. A marvelous meal.
My only problem is that I cannot distinguish heirloom tomato's from other good field rippened species.
Again, this is not new, but at the "Oriental Wok" (Hyde Park) the chef and staff always are pleased to guide us in what is fresh and special on or off the menu. Guy Burgess, the chef, recommended the fresh halibut, stirfried with ginger, which we immediatly accepted. They have made a dish for us, several times, of Bar-B-Qued poriik strips, beansprouts and scallions and this we had to go along with a full order of perfect fried rice including chicken, pork, egg, veggies and seasoning. It almost goes without saying that we usually start our meal, at the OW, with one or two of their excellent first courses.
The other spot during the last 8 days was "Enoteca Emilia" (O'brianville) where Monica, our artist server , she produces jewlery, brought the 4 of us a hearty mixture of menu and bar items. This is another friendly place and my only negative is that I can't get them to reduce salt to a tolerable level. Maybe it's the items I order. I'll have to make better friends of their "line cooks".