Friday, July 7, 2017


When a restaurant first opens, there are generally a few hiccups, so I like to let give them a few weeks for everyone to learn their jobs and the restaurant to find it's feet.  Recently though, I went to a restaurant, Daisies, on it's opening night.  While the members had not worked together before, they all had previous restaurant experience.  The chef, in fact, had been the chef for several years at Balena.  Balena is a pretty highly rated restaurant, so the chef obviously knows what he is doing.  Daisies is located in the former Analogue space, so the layout was the same, narrow front dining room, long bar off to one side, kitchen in the middle, smaller dining room/event space in back, and a small patio behind the restaurant.  It also has a turntable on the side of the bar in the front of the restaurant.  While the layout is the same, it was painted a later color and had some vegetable paintings done by the chef's wife hanging on the walls.  The bar had a short list of local beers, wines, and cocktails.  At the time that I went, the cocktails did not yet have names.  I went with their gin cocktail, which at the time was known as the #4, but has since been named the Negroni B-Side.  It was similar to a Negroni, but it was lighter, both in color and in flavor and bitterness.  A regular Negroni uses Gin, Vermouth, and Campari in equal measure.  The B-Side uses Gin (of course), Carpano Bianco, a younger and sweeter vermouth than the Carpano Antico that is typically used, and Amaro Montenegro, a lighter flavored bitter than Campari.  While I do like bitter drinks, Negronis are generally a little much for me, this was bitter but it was lighter and I really liked it.
The food side of the menu focuses on vegetables and pasta.  There is some meat and fish thrown in for the carnivores, but it would be very easy for a vegetarian to come and enjoy a dinner here.  I started things off with some Fried Mushrooms which were served with Brunkow Cheese Curds and a Tarragon Buttermilk Vinaigrette.  I will admit that fried food is generally not going to look exceptionally pretty, but it's fried, so it tasted really good.  The mushrooms and curds both had a crunchy batter crust, but the crunch was simply on the outside.  The inside had a nice chew and tasted great.  The tarragon buttermilk vinaigrette, had a green cast and added a spicy and sour finish.
For my main course, I went with something that I had some familiarity with, the Beet Agnolotti.  The chef made it at Balena and brought it with him when he opened his new place.  At Balena, it was served with Creme Fraiche and Smoked Salmon.  At Daisies, the Creme Fraiche was there, but the salmon was switched out for Trout Roe.  It still had a salty and fishy flavor, but it was more subtle.  The bright red agnolotti, was an eyeful, but the texture and flavor were also fantastic.  It was toothsome and while it was pasta, it did have a good amount of bittersweet beet flavor.
I finished with Nancy's Kahlua Cake with Mint and Strawberries.  It looked like a Basque Cake, something that is done to wide acclaim at Balena's sister restaurant, The Bristol,that I am a huge fan of, but it did not have the crust of a Basque cake.  It was softer than a Basque Cake, and had the  bittersweet coffee flavor of Kahlua.  The strawberries added some fruity tartness and the mint added the cool fragrant flavor of mint.  It all went together well and made for a very nice finish to a nice dinner.

I really enjoyed my dinner here.  The food was very good, the staff was friendly, and while the service was not absolutely perfect, it was very good for the first day open and I will give them a pass on it.  I did miss Analogue when it closed, but with Daisies, we did get a good replacement.


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