In October I visited the award winning Vie Restaurant twice – once for my aunt’s 80th birthday party and last night after attending a wake for my father’s best friend.
The food at the birthday party was terrific. Perhaps I just chose really well. The salad, gnocchi and beef with mashed potatoes and squash I had were terrific. The appetizer selection of cheeses and sausages was also superb.
But last night’s meal, which I went to with my parents and their friends wasn’t as on the mark. Part of the problem was sticker shock. We probably should have expected high prices given the awards the chef has won, but we didn’t. We probably should have figured that the grey book on the table was the drink menu, but we didn’t look at it. So we were shocked to see that the chardonnay my mother ordered was $20 and my red wine, which I didn’t love, was $16 for a glass.
The menu showed the entree prices and described the artistic offerings. The problem was each item had something that needed an explanation. Will I like “sweet potato-tofu hash”? Probably not. What is blueberry aigre doux or pickled ramp remoulade or tatsoi? It took our party a long time to order because the menu was so gourmet.
It’s not like we’re bumpkins, but none of us was up on all the trends.
After our drinks arrived we were given some bread, which was a lovely sour dough and butter. Then we got an amuse-bouche, salmon with a tomato mayonnaise.
I played it safe and ordered the shaved asian pears, mesclun, pancetta, giardiniera vinaigrette, crispy sauerkraut salad and the hamburger.
It took quite a while for our food to come. The pacing this night was off.
If I’d known my wine would be so pricey, I would not have ordered the salad, which for all the flowery description, wasn’t as good as what I can make myself. The pears sure were shaved, so much so that they didn’t add much flavor. The grilled sauerkraut sounded exotic, but tasted like just thinly julienned fried anything. The salad wasn’t bad and the portion was big enough to share, but I wasn’t blown away.
The hamburger was fine too. Not the best I’ve had, but not the worst. It was alright, but for $19, I expect wonderful. The french fries weren’t at all good. They were shorter than usual, greasier and too salty. A lot of fast food establishments do better with fries. I just ate half the burger and fewer than half the fries and the doggy bag is stored in the fridge. Typically, a good burger will be my first choice for lunch the next day, but I figured I can wait as it wasn’t spectacular. I’ll probably throw out the fries.
The other members of the party had the white fish or the black fish. They were satisfied but not blown away.
The service was fine, but nothing special. I think the waitress was tentative because she got off to a poor start by asking, “Are you celebrating anything tonight?” We let her know we’d just come from a wake. She was nice, but a bit aloof. My father asked for recommendations and hers seemed contrived.