These are the only good pictures I got from all of Kevin's labors for NYE...the blue cheese filled endive and the prime rib with it's slather of Bearnaise.
I would rate the night as moderately successful. The dining room was booked by Wednesday, including the 5:30 time slot (and slightly over-booked at 9PM...) and Val had 10 guests eat at the bar, so that was good. Service, for the most part, seemed to go well. Everyone having 3 courses and then dessert is a relatively tricky thing to pull off, timing wise, and I know there was at least one table where the timing could have been much better - they waited too long for the first course, which was followed too quickly by the second, which was followed by too long a wait for the third. This scenario may have been repeated in part at other tables, but this one table was mis-cued the entire meal, IMHO. There was lots of wine service, including a few bottles of champagne. Ashley ran trays, and she had the most stressful job of the night (on the floor anyway), especially in the beginning, when no one really knew how to do anything at all. She did a great job.
Food wise, I'd say we had a few hits and a few misses. The oyster chowder was not hot enough, so that when the whole poached oyster went into the bowl, it cooled it off too much. Better had the oysters been chopped up before placing them into the hot(ter) soup. The baked oysters also were reportedly not served hot enough, although the feedback on how they tasted was positive. The entrees all seemed happily consumed, except for that luscious looking prime rib, which was pronounced by a few diners as a little toothsome, and fairly bland in flavor. The sea scallops looked terrific, and while the chicken with lobster was a little on the huge side, it seemed well received. Best sellers were the baked oysters and the prime rib - figures, doesn't it? I thought the consomme was the best - cubes of raw tenderloin and a slice of foie gras met a pitcher of hot beef consomme right at the table: that looked really good. And the 7-hour lamb seemed to give diners a lot of pleasure, except for the gentleman who had to remove his own plastic wrap... Oh. My. God.
Dessert wise - pretty much a three way toss-up, with ice cream holding it's own as the fourth option. Angie didn't miss a beat with the chocolate torte, which was about as adult as a chocolate dessert could get, and the almond pear tart was perfect. My favorite was the raspberry trifle, with it's tang of fruit, melting cake and rich pudding all combined in one tall sundae glass.
Thank goodness it's over for another year! Of course we have dissected the night over and over during the course of our weekend, and of course we will do better next year!
As for our own personal "ringing in" of the New Year, we were found at my mom's house at 1 minute shy of midnight, just in time to watch that ball drop, and proceeded to drink copious amounts of champagne, eating snacks and setting off some amazing fireworks with fellow family members. It was a great way to unwind from the long, stressful week of getting ready for that one big night.
Happy New Year to all of you! We are looking forward to 2011 and whatever it will be bringing!