Tuesday, September 6, 2011
While I really like "haute cuisine", there is something to be said for simple food prepared very well and presented nicely. I went to erwin this weekend, an American-style bistro that does a small menu of local and seasonal fare. The restaurant itself has a very homey feel to it. With a white wood paneled walls with country-styled trim, a worn hardwood floor, and simple, comfortable tables, and chairs. The waitstaff is very friendly and the dress code is casual. There isn't anything exceptionally exotic on the menu but what they do, they do well. While the normal prices are pretty good, they have an $18 prix fixe that includes a soup or salad, entree, and dessert. While the prix fixe for the night that I was there looked good, I decided to peruse the entire menu. There were many things that looked appetizing but I decided to start out with the Onion Tart. It started with a thin whole wheat crust that was surprisingly light. Carmelized onions are added as well as Danish Blue Cheese and walnuts. While all of the elements of this were very good, the whole was greater than the individual parts. It was both sweet and savory, light and flavorful. In short, I really liked it.
While I was a little torn as to what I would order for an appetizer, when I saw the menu, there really was no question as to what I was going to order for my entree. I love duck but it has been a while since I have had it. There have been several times in recent months when I have seen it on the menu but decided to order something else because it sounded good and I already knew that I would love duck. On the menu here was a confited duck leg and a basil sausage with seasonal vegetables and a cherry-pomegranate sauce. The vegetables included corn, potatoes, sweet peppers, asparagus, and scallions. The duck was very good, of course. It was very rich tender and flavorful. The basil sausage was slightly crispy and very flavorful and the vegetables were very crisp and fresh.There are ten entrees on the menu and eight desserts so there was obviously some thought put into the desserts instead of having just one or two basic selections. I was kind of torn about what I would order from the dessert menu and then the waiter threw a wrench in and added another possible selection. I finally decided on the Lemon-Goat Cheese Souffle Cake with whipped cream, strawberries and balsamic syrup. It was actually very much like a very good strawberry short cake. The cake was very light, the strawberries seemed very fresh, the balsamic actually added a sweetness to the general tanginess of the cake and the strawberries and brought the whipped cream into the taste of it and who doesn't like whipped cream.
I really liked erwin. The food on the menu is fairly standard but it is done very well. The place is comfortable and the people are friendly and I would have no problem recommending it.