Wednesday, October 13, 2010
La Poste, First Impressions: "A"
My friend and I had dinner Tuesday at Clifton's new restaurant, La Poste, on Telford Street around the corner from the Esquire Theater in the space that housed Tink's for many years.
In a word: WOW.
What an upgrade from Tink's, and what a great thing for my 'hood. This will not only be a top-notch neighborhood restaurant, it also will become destination dining for the rest of the metro area. At least, that's what I think based on one evening of wining and dining.
To start, La Poste has Clifton's first-ever (to my knowledge) sommelier, Bryant Phillips. As soon as we sat down and opened our menus, I asked to speak with Bryant and he came right over to our table. Of the wines offered by the glass -- at least a couple dozen -- I was only familiar with one or two. (That's my kind of wine list -- I am not interested in drinking familiar wines when I go to a restaurant: turn me on to something I don't already know about!)
More good stuff: you can order by the half-glass for half the price of a full glass and try more wines. As you can see from the top photo, we sampled several wines and I look forward to getting back there soon to try more. Bryant is a true wine geek in the best sense, and he seems to have visited every obscure European or American vineyard whose unusual wines he's selected for the list. The glassware was excellent and the whole wine experience is several notches above anything in town except perhaps the most expensive fine-dining establishments, and even there I am hard pressed to think of anything as good as what Bryant and the rest of the staff have put together.
Everything else about our evening was equally wonderful, except perhaps that the kitchen was a little slow in getting our food out. A minor point though when all else was near perfect.
The space is the same as Tink's in size, with the addition of an extra dining room and wine storage where a jewelry store used to be....but the feel is much, much more elegant without being at all stuffy.
My friend ordered a scallops-with-bacon appetizer (Second photo) -- much too rich for my taste -- and said "wow" with every bite. She would have liked to lick the plate for every last drop, she said. (It's been awhile since I've fallen that much in love with a dish, though I do remember it quire vividly -- a special entree at Frontera Grill in Chicago about 2-3 years ago....)
I ordered a seasonal salad with tiny chunks of butternut squash (third photo), and then we split the chicken fricassee entree -- the photo above is of half the dish.
We passed on dessert and stopped at Graeter's nearby for a cookie instead.
The floral arrangements around the place were glorious, and I had to include a couple of photos of them, including the amazingly fragrant bouquet in the lovely ladies' room.
I can't wait to go back!