We got off to a bad start. Not just a bad start—an I’m never going to speak to you again and hope you go down in flames start. Seriously, I was beyond unhappy. But, after a couple weeks without any contact, I thought I’d try again, just one more time.
Thank goodness I did.
Our story begins, as stories are wont to begin, during Restaurant Week. At about 6:33 pm on the Tuesday of Restaurant Week, actually, about 18 minutes after our reservation. (Our excuse for being late? Babysitting problems, of course.) We were told when we arrived that they could only hold our table for 15 minutes, but we were welcome to eat at the bar if we wanted. We stared at the menu for another 15 minutes at the bar before deciding that we were too angry to enjoy the food. (We ended up at 100 King, an excellent French Bistro with remarkably friendly service and very, very good food.)
But my bus takes me by Farrah Olivia by Moreau every morning and evening, and how could I pass up an African-French-American meal? So when our neighbor volunteered to watch Jane the Thursday before Valentine’s Day, we decided to celebrate love a week early and give Farrah a second chance.
The service is impeccably polite, from the maitre d’ to the server to the buser. The dining room is classic, if small—it’s roughly the size of a
New York restaurant, but with half the tables (I didn’t count, but Jamie thinks there were about 20).
The meal started with bread—a white and a raisin—with four types of spreads: a mayonnaise with an aftertaste of horseradish, an excellent butter, a sundried tomato spread, and something green that looked like pesto, but was a good deal earthier. The mayonnaise was the best of the four, but the butter was also beyond belief.
For the evening’s amuse bouche, the chef sent a sip of curried clam chowder. The chowder was creamy and smooth, and whetted our desire for more.
Jamie was intrigued by the concept of bacon powder, so she ordered scallops dusted with same; I had the blackeyed pea fritters with fried tomatoes and tail pepper honey. Sure enough, Jamie’s scallops came with a pile of red dust, and I had three balls of blackeyed pea fritters. The appetizers presaged the meal to follow in three major ways:
(1) the food was amazing (keep this in mind—you don’t want to hear me use superlatives to describe each dish, so I’m using it here);
(2) he enjoys both sweet and savory powders in addition to the artistically smeared sauces on each plate (and we did too); and
(3) every dish (except, thankfully, dessert) balanced sweet and savory aspects.
For example, my white tuna (which turns out, probably, to be escolar) came with “citrus caramel,” a sweet citrusy flan that perfectly complemented the fish, as well as a slightly sweet, slightly peppery crème anglaise. (And Jamie’s lamb was perfect, a far cry from the not-bad lamb stir-fry I’d prepared a couple days earlier.)
The only note that wasn’t perfect the whole evening was Jamie’s dessert—the pineapple cake was merely very good, largely because it is not pineapple season, and the fruit, in spite of being grilled, could have been slightly sweeter.
The real surprise of the evening, though, was the cheese course. I never get cheese, but Jamie convinced me (as I drooled), and we had Virginia sheep’s-milk cheese. Wow. A hard, but creamy and smooth, chees, with bread, granola, grapes, and a caramel sauce. If every cheese course is like Farrah Olivia’s
Piedmont, I may be done with dessert.