Thursday, May 28, 2009

Princesses for a Day

When the clock struck 12:15, grumbling stomachs were audible throughout the office. We primped, straitened our dresses and shirts and marched out the door to arrive promptly for a 12:30 reservation at Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro. We were met with a firm handshake from the general manager, Dan, who greeted even me, the intern, by first name. It was as if a golden tiara had been placed upon our heads and our loyal citizens were lying in wait to serve us. We were treated like royalty.

After being shown to a private corner of the dining room, our first course had already been laid out: a charcuterie platter decorated with picked vegetables, hand-cut wedges of 7-8 cheese presented on a wooden board with honey and crispy bread slices drizzled with olive oil. Once our doting waitress presented each meat and cheese, noting the flavor, region, and whether or not it was to her liking, the general manager himself made us fresh Virgin Mary’s from the well-known Bloody cart. Tickled by the personal touches, we were then presented with our second course: a non-traditional Greek salad with chunks of fresh avocado, a Chinese chicken salad and a burrata and tomato Caprese-style salad. Signature fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta and served with a charred tomato sauce were given special mention. Though our stomachs were beginning to fill with creamy cheeses, chunks of chicken and smooth avocado, the next course was one to top the previous two. Fish and chips included a generous portion of lightly battered sole atop crispy French fries and tartar sauce and the Prime Dry-Aged All-Natural steak was perfectly medium-rare with a side of caramelized root vegetables (squash, carrots and radishes). The winning dish, to our taste, was the double breast of chicken surrounded by a medley of golden beets, wilted fennel and savory sauce.

Our lunch was lengthened with a mid-meal tour of the upstairs steakhouse, intimate dining room and extensive second-floor, outdoor patio. We quickly returned to our table however to be presented with sweet, white-wine sangria and dessert: fluffy chocolate and vanilla soufflés, a trio of crème brulees (caramel, chocolate, and traditional vanilla) and a poached pear atop vanilla ice cream served in an old fashioned glass. A shot of espresso and twist of lemon rind did me in (though I had probably hit my limit by the salad course.)

It was a meal to last me, if not a lifetime, then definitely the rest of the summer.

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