Dinner at Prune
It's only taken about 7 years, but I've finally eaten at Prune. Their Chicago Matchbox Bloody Mary, rife with pickled vegetable garnishes, is what initially piqued my interest. Unfortunately, they only serve Blood Marys at brunch and I was there for dinner.
DMR and I were joined at this meal by Fleck and Margie J, who by the way is celebrating her birthday today. Happy Birthday MJS!!! I hope you had good sushi! We began with a bottle of wine which I really enjoyed but now for the life of me can't recall. I though it was a 2003 J.L. Chave Offerus, but in one of the pictures below I noticed the label on which "Barrie" is clearly legible. I should really write these details down but I don't have my act together. I wasn't quite as fond of the second bottle, which I'm almost positive was a Pinot Noir.
For my starter, I ordered the pasta kerchief, which was a pasta sheet draped over a poached egg and french ham, and covered with Parmesan cheese shavings and pine nuts. I tried to make each taste a combo bite, so that the saltiness of the ham and cheese would balance out the simplicity of the pasta. I think I could eat something like this all day.
Fleck went with the sweetbreads (pardon the poor photo), something I had never tried. I was unable to resist fried paired with capers and bacon. I must say it was pretty tasty, but nothing I would ever order for myself. Sorry, but I'll never be a foodie. The consistency reminded me of croquettes from Japanese bakeries - crunchy on the outside, dense and creamy on the inside. Actually they remind me of something else too which I have on the tip of my tongue and can't quite put my finger on. This is going to bother me for days.
One of the special starters this evening was a bed of julienned radishes in a butter sauce, topped with bright orange pearls of trout roe. Margie's ears were perked first by the radishes and then the roe. If tobiko is on one end of the fish egg spectrum and ikura on the other, trout roe would be well-placed right in the middle. I tend to stay away from the huge ikura because I'm not into all that liquid that gushes out when you bite into them.
On to our mains.
Margs and I both went with the grilled whole branzino on a thin layer of lemon peppercorn oil and accompanied by a small ramekin of coarse salt. I loved the way the salt dissolved once it made contact with the warm meat of the fish. We were both very pleased with our choice.
DMR went with the special entree of the night - ginormous beef ribs braised in Asian spices. Our table was intrigued by this dish. Would you need a knife and fork or could you eat with your hands we wondered. The knife and fork won out, but I think the real winner here is DMR, who has truly learned to embrace bone-in foods in the past year or so. I doubt a year ago he would have willingly ordered ribs. Congrats, DMR!
Not pictured is Fleck's lamb shank and it's a shame because the presentation was really nice. The hunk of meat arrived at the table tied up in a parchment pouch.
We also ordered some sides to round out our meal.
To the left are mini sweet potatoes drizzled with a brown butter viniagrette. Prune loves brown butter! These were a bit disappointing because after unwrapping the skin, you were left with two small bites of sweet potato at the most. On the dish to the right are the roasted beets, along with their swiss chard-like green tops, served with aioli. I had never had beet greens before (at least knowingly, who knows what my mother served us back in the day) and really took a liking to them.
M holds up the plate of greens, sauteed in lemon juice and olive oil, served with a sprinkling of pignoli and raisins on the vine! I stayed away from that last part of the dish, although I will say raisins on the vine are pretty cool looking.
Dessert was my least favorite part of the meal. DMR and I shared a panna cotta which was served rather strangely. First off, it was a very thin and liquidy panna cotta. A milk glass didn't seem like the best choice of serving vessel. I wasn't sure what the orange slice was for. I did take the piece of vanilla bean that was resting over it and place it in the panna cotta glass.
The meal was quite satisfying, but I didn't leave the restaurant feeling overwhelmed by greatness. Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious meal and I was very happy with the friendly and attentive service as well as with the little touches, like the chunks of dark chocolate that accompany the bill and the spicy papadums when you first sit down. Maybe I was just bummed the suckling pig, which I had decided during pre-meal research would be the dish for me, wasn't available that night?
DMR just asked, "What are you writing about?" To which I replied, "Prune." His response: "When did you go to Prune?" Oh, DMR!