The evening started out well...... The lentil soup with reindeer was perfect; spicy and al dente, and the colorful and crisp house salad had a magnificent vinaigrette and just the right amount of feta. The bread was delicate, and that is not all bad, but by no means up to the rest of the dinner; a sliced baguette from Fire Island Bakery might have made a better choice.
And then things went, well South. While I enjoy a leisurely meal, waiting the better part of an hour for the entree was a bit much, and while our waitress was wonderful, I was surprised that we were not offered complimentary beverages considering the delay. Having largely consumed our bottle of Catena Mendoza waiting for the entrees, and one of us having to drive, another bottle was out of the question. An offer of a glass on the house would have been courteous.
Finally the entrees appeared. My breast of duck was tasty, not withstanding the fact that the duck skin was under-cooked and the cold breast had completely suffocated the pastry below into a soggy puddle. It is strange that after such a delay the chef could not manage a hotter pan for the sear. For those who don't know, the duck should be cooked so that it is still quacking, which requires an insanely hot skillet to first crisp the skin side and then quickly sear the reverse. In this case, the duck had simply not been properly cooked, but even then, it might have been acceptable had the flatware been up to cutting the duck. What with the tippy table I almost toppled the wine trying to saw through the breast.
My companion had the putanesca that wasn't -- it showed up, yes, but it was, in wife's words (and she is no stranger to Italian cooking) "a fishy marinara". While she may have preferred it Neapolitan style, a seafood putanesca is a quick dish, not a reduced fish stew. She grumbled, tried to shake the sauce off the fish and pronounced the few pieces of shrimp, rockfish and salmon delicious (but for the sauce, of course.) The clams? They had been cooked for sooooo long that all one could find were exhausted empty shells.
Could it get any worse? Thankfully I had seen the Apple Cake go by earlier and, it looking like a caramel drenched bread pudding I pounced on it and a Warres; I was not disappointed. The wife tucked into a "Russian Creme", and while it was no Creme Russe it was incredibly light with just the right amount of citrus from the spare fruit garnish.
Well worth the $200 tab for food, beverage and gratuity? Sorry, no. But we will give Sacks another try.