Now, I guess I should say up front that I wouldn't consider myself pretentious when it comes to food. I love food, and as a lover of food I realize not everyone likes their food the same way; Sweet BBQ vs Spicy BBQ, Deep Dish vs Hand Tossed, Apples vs Oranges.
I'm also a very picky eater, and I enjoy my comfort foods very much (Eggs Bene at the diner every single time we go....) but am not without a sense of culinary adventure. Tripe, Sweetbreads, Rocky Mountain oysters; had them all. But its the little things. Those little glitches or moments in a meal that bug me.
Take for example yesterdays lunch at Domonico's. The food was decent, more so the fried mozzarella appetizer I had, but what really bugged me was the giant sprigs of parsley as garnish on the plates.
Maybe I'm spoiled, maybe I'm to "New School" but hadn't we; and I say "We" as the culinary community, decided that giant sprigs of parsley made bad garnish?
Now I know its cheap, and I have no personal hate for parsley. Used right its very good. But when multiple giant leaves of parsley stand between my fork and my food I just have to hang my head in shame. Why not chop the parsley? or maybe, just maybe lightly fry a piece of basil? see..fried mozzarella/fried basil, it works! On top of that, when my Tortellini came out, all I could taste was the chopped parsley. Where was the beautiful tasting red sauce that came with my appetizer? why didn't they use the same sauce?
At least the Zabaione tasted great, If I knew any better I'd say it was the real deal. But again, giant sprig of mint. Was there mint with my berries and Zabaione? no. Just a giant sprig on top.
Domonico's was not the only offender of my haute peeves. Extremely dim lights at Republic made it near impossible to read my menu without a headache, as well as not being able to inspect the display of my food. That's half the fun to me, seeing that plate when it first arrives, eating it with my eyes and my nose before my fork or spoon even touches it.
Unfortunately Republic committed the most grievous of sins against my near insane set of rules: Portion Size. Bare with me, were headed into crazy land here folks.
Too Big. That's right, I said it. Too much.
We ordered (3 of us mind you) a large Sake to share, and Four "Small Plates" (as they were labeled on the menu). Grilled Eggplant, Chicken Skewers, Crispy Tofu, Coconut Shrimp. All of which were a good size I would think, Decent for a Tapas situation for sure.
We also ordered a noodle bowl each. This is where the offense took place. These bowls are MASSIVE. I can pack away the food, don't get me wrong. But dare I say we each could barely finish half of our bowls, say for the roommate who somehow managed to finish his whole thing. I attribute it to it being a broth, that or the hollow leg he hides so well.
After forcing as much in as we could I looked around the table. Dare I say only 70% of what came to the table was eaten. With a 2 hour train ride home, and no desire to carry it that far there would be no To-Go.
I don't want you to think ill of either of these places. There was a warmth to Domonico's and I would highly suggest their fried mozzarella, Republic had a great city feel to it and the food was good.
But the devil is in the details as they say.