Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Healthy Foodie does Jean-Robert's Table (Birthday Dinner)

When choosing where to go for my bday dinner, it was a no-brainer: try the most anticipated restaurant to open in Cincinnati within the past several years. Jean-Robert de Cavel is our city's most celebrated and most talented chef, and the whole local foodie world has awaited his new venture, Jean-Robert's Table. They've been up and running for at least a month, plenty of time to iron out any kinks. We were thrilled to put on some nice threads and head downtown to check it out.
The place has a beautiful interior. It feels spacious and cozy at the same time, with exposed brick arches separating the two main dining rooms and a comfortable bar with a few lounge tables along one wall. We arrived a half hour before our reservation, grabbed a table in the bar, and had a drink -- Champagne for the birthday girl and a cocktail called The Belgian (featuring Belgian ale, vodka and a few other ingredients) for my husband.
Chef walked by and we had a nice chat with him, getting his guidance on what to try from the dinner menu. Our bar server Molly also gave us some tips.
When we were seated, we selected from a moderately extensive menu of about 10 appetizers and a like number of entrees.
We liked all our dishes -- photos are above. For starters, I had a nightly special shrimp salad with watermelon and cantaloupe chunks and a rich dressing; he tried the "surf and turf" (tuna and beef) tartar.
His entree was the bacon-wrapped salmon, and I went with the skate wings. Despite the bacon wrapping, his dish actually was less rich than mine, but only because we had them leave off the cream sauce that came with his. A bottle of Calera Pinot Noir from California's Central Coast complemented our fish entrees very nicely--in fact, we loved the wine and plan to look for it retail.
Since it was my birthday, I also indulged in a lavender-honey creme brulee as dessert.
I'd have to say that the bacon-wrapped salmon was my favorite of all that we tried.
We enjoyed the evening very much, but truth be told, the food was too rich for my taste -- even as a birthday treat. Next time I will order more carefully and steer clear of a starter with a mayonnaise dressing AND an entree floating in too much oil.

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