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The European

For a bar and restaurant to execute this well (if not as fast as one might hope) on a soft open is a great sign.

Starting with the Parisienne gnocchi covered in Camembert the only complaint might be for a funkier cheese but the texture of the gnocchi was great. Portion size was good (in a practical sense) but seemed small for the price.

Quality prawns came with an assortment of accompaniments including an interesting yuzu mignonette and a horseradish salt that could have been more punchy.

The pork jowl bacon was like a marriage of bacon, lardo, and prosciutto: hot and savory waiting to be heaped with bright ricotta on delicious pita. You can almost hear your heart begging you to look away.

The burger’s bun could be firmer (perhaps simply more toasted) but the Vegemite butter and vidalia onions kept me me coming back for bites even after I finished the great fries, dipping them in the Hollandaise-topped egg presented in its shell.

Adam, Sarah, and the rest of the bar crew serve an impressive lineup of new cocktails and quality versions of standbys. There are a number of lower-alcohol aperitif cocktails that all escape the too-sweet and uninteresting fate to which most lighter options fall. The menu is helpfully divided by style and presentation, moving on from the lighter options to rocks, ups, downs, and spiritous options. Among them is the Can Can, my favorite of the night, with an initial dramatic note of lavender that soon settles into a dangerously drinkable combination of whiskey, maple, and bitters. Whatever you may think lies outside your normal preferences I urge you to give these drinks a try. A drink with strawberry wasn’t at all too sweet. A drink with vodka managed character. A drink made with Sauternes was unmistakably a cocktail without losing the character of the wine.

I have no doubt my rating is destined to rise as the service is polished to match the excellent fare. Come now before you’ll never get a seat.

(Crossposted to Yelp.)

White Wine What?

“You know what this would be good with? Campari.”
“Like a kir royale. It’s getting a cherry, if that’s OK with you.”
“Now it needs a rock.”
“It’s missing something, a little heat. Maybe vodka. Or gin!”
“Yeah, gin.”
“Hm, now that I look in the liquor cabinet, how about rum? Smelling them together makes me think this is a good idea.”
“Ok, go for it.”

Surprisingly tasty. Surprisingly beautiful.

1 gl sauvignon blanc
1 Luxardo cherry
Campari to taste (just enough to taste it clearly)
big rock
rum to taste, maybe ½ oz. (I used Mt Gay)

Hannah’s Betrayal

a.k.a “Hannah’s Sorrow” or “Hannah’s Woe,” Rosy named this after Mia Farrow’s character in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Why? It has at least one scene set in Central Park in the fall and I thought the name had to evoke Manhattan in the autumn.

2 oz bourbon (e.g. 1½ oz Rendezvous, ½ oz Four Roses)
½ oz allspice dram
splash Gran Classico
splash Carpano Antica

stir over ice, strain over a big rock

Perfect Perfect Manhattan

The title isn’t a typo, this may be the perfect Perfect Manhattan. At least it would be if I’d remembered what “Perfect Manhattan” actually meant: I thought it referred to the 2-1-2 bourbon-vermouth-Angostura recipe (212 being the area code for Manhattan) but apparently it refers to the 1 being ½ sweet and ½ dry vermouth. Regardless, this is the best 2-1-2 Manhattan I’ve ever had, and it’s a 100% Rocho production. This is also when I found out she’d quietly started drinking my Rendezvous — I’d though it safe since she initially expressed a strong preference for bourbon, but much like her taste in beer her taste for rye (or at least for rye Manhattans) is evolving.

2 oz Rendezvous Rye
1 oz Carpano Antica
2 d Angostura Bitters

Stir on ice, strain over a big rock.

Maitiki

Getting a bottle of allspice dram was exciting. What could we do with it? We don’t have anything like a full bar so it’s hard to just look up “tiki drink” and be able to make what you find. There’s a lot of interpretation and experimentation.

The name is atrocious but the drink delicious. I welcome suggestions for a better name, since this one is just a stupid pun on “my tiki drink” and “mai-tai” though it has nothing to do with a mai-tai.

2 oz Mt Gay Rum
¾ oz allspice dram
¼ oz Carpano Antica
⅛ oz agave nectar
½ Meyer lemon

Combine (squeeze and include lemon) in shaker. Serve over crushed ice.