Martini House review
Martini House website
Directions to Martini House
Lunch: Friday - Sunday: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm.
Dinner: Sunday through Thursday 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Martini House food
My wife and I went to the Martini House in mid 2008 and decided to go for an ingredient-themed tasting menu. Hers was tomato, mine were mushrooms, and both were fairly underwhelming. Within each ingredient, the flavors weren't distinct, kind of muted, and overall, it made the ingredient theme seem a little gimmicky. Cleverer in concept than execution.
It took us almost 2 years to get around to giving it another try. We went for a 4 course tasting menu with a wine pairing, and it was superb (which is why you should give restaurants a second chance...) We had the winter tasting menu for 2010.
Of course, the amuse bouche...mousse on a puff pastry, I think. I forget what the cracker on top is made of.
First course: Terrine of foie gras with a ginger confit, white port gelee, and toasted croutons. The yellow encasing is duck or goose fat. At first, I thought it might have been wax until I stuck a piece in my mouth and it dissolved immediately. This dish was very rich and very good. The ginger mound on the left is presumably there to refresh your pallet a bit between the foie gras a la sushi. The white port gelee were a lot of fun too. Slightly sweet, melts in your mouth like the foie gras and brings some pockets of lightness to the dish. This was a pretty good sized amount of foie gras. I had to stop eating at about 2/3 through to save room for the rest of the meal.
Below is the butter poached Maine lobster with celery root purée, brussels sprouts, King Trumpets mushrooms in a lobster sauce. This dish was also fabulous. Sauce was delicious. Lobster poached perfectly and oozy celery root puree.
Third course: roasted Liberty Farms duck breast, seared scalloped potato, roasted carrots, and mustard sauce. Again, everything perfect. From the carrots to the medium rare duck breast, to the mustard sauce was excellent. This is going to sound lame, but the seared scalloped potato underneath the carrots was what really caught our attention. Crunchy sear at the surface, finely scalloped layers, well seasoned, went perfectly with the mustard. We've had good roasted duck breast at a number of places, but that potato and mustard combination was something deliciously new.
We had our choice of dessert. I went with the a dessert from the mushroom-themed tasting menu that was going on at the time. This was the candy cap mushroom panna cotta with carmelized bananas and candied bacon.The panna cotta I think is infused with essence of mushrooms but doesn't actually have any mushrooms in it. In fact, I barely tasted any mushrooms. But it was still delicious. The panna cotta was uber-smooth, and bacon just makes anything taste better. One of the best desserts we've had in while.
My wife got the chocolate brioche bread pudding with spearmint ice cream and vanilla mascarpone. Not as decadent as you'd think. Spearmint ice cream was interesting though to lighten things up.
So, like I said, it took us a while to go back after the first underwhelming experience, but it definitely won't be another 2 years before we go again because the 2nd time was one of the best tasting menu meal experiences we've had in the region.
Martini House setting and service
The Martini House has a plush interior in sort of an old-fashioned, cozy sort of way. Some tables are where you eat side by side on a long table. Others are the more traditional ones. It's almost like eating at someone's country estate lodge. Some of the decorations strike me as touch kitschy like the row of faucets that are sticking out of a beam, or the candles sitting on top of a giant branch at the top of the roof. But it's still a very pretty interior. There is an open wine cellar just below the stairs as well although we've never been down there. The kitchen is fairly open so you can see the chefs preparing everybody's food. Service was sharp as you'd expect for a restaurant in this price range.
Martini House prices
2 4-course tasting menus that were themed + wine pairing + tax/tip: $310
2 seasonal 4-course tasting menus + wine pairing + tax/tip: $293