A brand new dish on the Wednesday prix-fixe, but not the most popular we've ever had! Maybe it was simply a lack of familiarity, because it certainly was good. And the way Kevin looks at it, now he's got a special for tonight!
Braciola is a classic Italian dish consisting of a thin layer of beef wrapped around a bread and cheese stuffing. The rolls are then braised in a tomato sauce which becomes the "gravy" for the dish. Kevin's version was filled with sausage, garlic, Parmesan cheese and parsley, based on a version he found here.
Here's picture of it, pre-plate...
...and here it is, with its tomato gravy. A solid plate of comfort food, was the remark of one diner.
The starter last night was what Kevin labeled "fried broccoli salad". I guess that would put a positive aka healthy spin on a plate of deep fried vegetables, but with such a light crust, it was not far from it. It was requested a la carte, which says something. Dessert was angel food cake with a pool of strawberry puree, a light and fruity finish.
The arrival of fall means the beginning of oyster season, which is to say oyster fritter season. Not for awhile yet, at Brooks Tavern, but we are starting to
salivate look forward to it. That fritter is one of the dishes that has to be on the menu. There are a few others like it - the lemon icebox pie has been noted as one, and the romaine salad is another. It's a true compliment when your guests rebel at the thought of a menu item being removed from rotation, even as the cooks would sometimes like a little variety. I am feeling a bit of that rebellion in my replacement of the familiar Rock Rabbit sauvignon blanc with one from New Zealand. Some are not big fans of the grapefruit style so indicative of the Marlborough region, and want their Rabbit back. Despite the controversy, I'm going to keep the Infamous Goose on for a bit, and try to entice its detractors with another choice. At least for a little while...
Our life here at BT is, of course, a major laugh riot, but one of the absolute funniest moments occurred early on Saturday night. I'm not sure my retelling will translate well, but here goes. A young, very well dressed man came into the foyer and, in greeting, announced how his father was a big fan of our place, that he spoke very highly of us and recommended that his son dine here. At his side, his wife nodded vigorously in agreement. We were pretty busy already, so I nodded back, thank you and so on, and began to get them menus and lead them to the (only) open table. No, no he said, wait, wait, we can't eat here if it is going to be so hot. I look at him in his suit jacket and tie, and look at his wife who is still nodding vigorously. I say "I'm sorry?" He then proceeded to tell me how it was way too hot in the room and they would not stay unless I turned down the thermostat. I said, sure I could turn it down a degree if it seemed too warm to them. I can't tell - I am running around and so it's going to feel warmer to me anyway. "What is is set on?" he queried. Now, mind you, I don't keep the A.C. on super low - I hate eating in cold dining rooms (see the Schaefer post) - and we rarely get any complaints. When I do, I adjust accordingly, degree by degree. I don't keep it at a temperature where I am comfortable, I keep it set where the guests are. So I ask him what did he think the thermometer was set on; he replied 74. When I told him no, it was at 77 degrees he about flipped out. Both of them are practically jumping around, protesting that No No No we can't eat here if it is that warm. Before I can make any move to further my cause, they turn around and leave.
Meanwhile, quietly standing behind them, taking in the whole scene, is a pair of regulars. I had been struggling the entire time I was "conversing" with the hot couple to not make eye contact with the next in line, for fear I would loose my composure if I did. As soon as the unhappy duo stalked out of the room, I led couple number two to the table, into a dining room that was noticeably cooler than the foyer we'd been standing in. Their first question was "What's the temperature in here?"
Thank goodness for a sense of humor, eh? I don't think I'd last very long without it.