Thursday, December 08, 2005
Dinner at 8... and a Half
Again I found myself eating with Margy's work crew, which is always a good time. The restaurant was Brasserie 8 1/2. For some reason I was expecting a disappointing meal -- the place just seems so clever that I worried something important would get lost in all the bells and whistles.
Indeed some wrong moves were made as soon as we walked in. Let's just say we'd reserved for a party of 13 but still had to wait 35 minutes before being seated at two separate tables. And there were bits of attitude from some members of the staff, but this seems like the kind of place that wants you to feel so lucky to be there that you don't mind a bit of manhandling.
But I have to say, the food was impressive. An appetizer of grilled sardine, calamari, and fresh bacon with flageolet beans and grape tomatoes was our favorite. It was one of those times when you want to ask the server if the dish comes with free refills. The photo is Margy's Japanese bass special. If I recall correctly, that's cauliflower puree in front of the fish. I had braised short ribs (confirming my hunch about 8 1/2 being conspicuously clever, the menu told us how long they'd been braised -- 32 hours or something) with pomegranate glaze and a wonderful little nugget of fried marrow that melted in my mouth. The beef was cut into three rectangles and set atop geometrically precise cakes of potato and bacon(!), but Margy observed that the plate looked more like dessert than dinner. Anyway, it was pretty good. And the 8 1/2 french fries are among the best I've had. Yeah, we were all able to sneak a few of those in.