Jean Georges

Overall taste: 7/10 | 2016 | 1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Jean Georges is a 3-michelin starred restaurant in New York as well as the most disappointing restaurant we’ve been to. We spent over $300 here (with no alcohol), and we expect the taste rating to be at least a 8/10 for this kind of price.

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

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– – – Amuse bouche

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+++ Toasted egg yolk, caviar and herbs ($69) [We felt that this was the only amazing dish. It literally tasted perfect; the salty caviar went really well with the  lightly-seasoned soft yolk and buttered toast…. but look at the price for a two-bite appetizer.]
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Sea trout & oyster tartar, chive, lemon, horseradish ($29) [Lynn liked it but Jeff found the oyster to be too fishy]
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Yellowfin tuna ribbons, avocado and spicy radish, ginger marinade ($29) [Average. The sauce was on the sour side.]
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– – – Foie Gras terrine, strawberry granola, aged balsamic ($37) [We are huge foie gras fans and this is the worst foie gras dish we’ve had. Every part of it is infused with sweet strawberry.  If you like your foie gras as a dessert, this might be for you.]
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+++ Diver scallops, caramelized cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion ($37) [This was great, and is what we expect from a 3-michelin starred restaurant. The scallops had a crispy golden crust. The caramelized cauliflower was delicious and didn’t have much of a burnt taste.]
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– – – Tenderloin of beef, heirloom carrots and fingerling potatoes, hibiscus mustard ($54) [We’re trying not to exaggerate here, but we believe most people that cook at home can make better steak than this. It’s ironic how chewy this tenderloin was and the flavour was simply not there. The steak also wasn’t meaty enough and tasted like those cheap $10 steak diners serve.]
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Salt and pepper sweetbreads, sweet chili emulsion, pea shoots, golden garlic ($29) [This was well fried, but we prefer our sweetbreads pan-fried so that we can actually taste it.]
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Chocolate – dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate ganache, passion fruit gelee, mini chocolate cake, hibiscus sorbet, crystallized rose, peanut caramel, olive oil powder, fraises des bois and macadamia nut milk ($12) [Average]
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– – – Strawberry – vanilla tapioca pudding, strawberry sorbet, enchanced strawberries, gelee and crisps ($12) [This is undoubtedly one of the prettiest desserts we’ve had, but also one of the worst in terms of taste. The so-called “enhanced strawberries” were soaked in sauces that simply do not go well with strawberries, unless black pepper strawberry is your thing.]
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Complimentary chocolate [Average]
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Complimentary desserts [Average]

Azul@88

Overall taste: 8/10 | 2017 | 88 Wharf St, Milton, MA 02186

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

We were invited here for a complimentary meal, but we remain objective in our review.

Although it’s located in Milton, it’s less than 20-minute drive away from Boston. The view is great and the restaurant has a relaxing atmosphere. Most of all, we really love their tacos! We feel that their tacos are slightly better than the ones from Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar.

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Guacamole – made to order, corn tortilla chips, smoky salsa ($13) [We like that it’s made to order! Jeff hates cilantro and would like the option to have guacamole without cilantro.]
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Chorizo with melted cheese – chorizo, melted oaxaca & chihuahua cheese, fresh tomatillo-serrano salsa, hand pressed corn tortillas ($12) [Jeff loves the cheese. He pretty much ate the whole thing!]
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+++ Tacos baja – beer battered fish of the day, jicama slaw, black sesame seeds, salsas fresca, cliantro garlic aioli, chipotle aioli ($8) [This is our favourite taco. The fish was fried to perfection and went so well with the accompaniments.]
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Taco de papa y champinones – potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, chile poblanos, raisins, pumpkin seed salsa ($8) [For a vegetarian taco, this was pretty good, but not something we would personally order since we L O V E meat. haha]
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+++ Guisado de puerco o carnetaco – braised beef, roasted tomatilla salsa, crispy sweet potatoes ($8) [The beef was moist, tender and meaty. We also like the crispy sweet potatoes on top!]
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Beef taco azul – deconstructed slow cooked beef brisket, jicama slaw, pickled red onions, limes, corn tortillas ($8) [This is quite similar to the taco above, but we like the combo above more.]
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+++ Tacos al pastor – grilled achiote marinated pork, pineapple, bacon, pickled red onion, soft corn tortillas, salsas fresca ($9) [This is our 2nd favourite taco after their fish taco. We don’t particularly like pineapple in savoury food but the chef managed to make it work here. The pork was also extra yummy and had the right amount of fat.]
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+++ Camarones enchipotlada – shrimps, chipotle-garlic olive oil sauce, mexican rice, black beans ($22) [The picture shown here is the sample portion, not the $22 portion. They were prepared well and were really fresh and plump!]
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Tamal – corn tamales, chipotle shredded pork, mole colorandito ($5) [We are not huge fans of Tamal in general. This reminds us a lot of an Indonesian dish called “lontong”]
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– – – Enchiladas suizas – chicken filled tortillas, creamy tomatillo sauce, chihuahua & oaxaca cheese ($18) [We found this kind of average and we both never liked chicken breast.]
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+++ Churros – cinnamon sugar, chocolate sauce ($8) [We both liked to eat it by itself instead of dipping it in the chocolate sauce. They were still warm when they served it and it was one of the better churros we had.]
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Boca negra – chocolate cake, sweet tomatillo sauce, lime custard sauce ($8) [This was good but we felt that the interior could have been more moist.]
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– – – Flan de caramelo – custard, rich caramel sauce ($8) [We didn’t really like the taste and texture of this flan.]

Click menus to enlarge.

Grotto

Overall taste: 8.25/10 | 2017 | 37 Bowdoin St, Boston, MA 02114

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

We came here during the dine out week and it was only $2 cheaper than if we were to order from their regular menu (see menus below).

We feel that their food is a little on the salty and heavy side, but still delicious and satisfying.

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+++ Focaccia (complimentary) [We never post pictures of complimentary bread but this was the best focaccia we had. The interior had a cakey texture and the exterior was like cookie! They served the same bread in Marliave but it was served cold and didn’t taste as good.]
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Piccata – mussels, lemon, capers, white wine ($10) [The mussels were extremely fresh and not overcooked. We both prefer it without lemon]
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Fonduta –  fontina cheese fondue, beef tenderloin tips, portobello mushrooms, aged balsamic, truffle oil ($10) [Lynn wasn’t a fan of it and found the cheese to be too salty but Jeff loved it.]
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+++ Carne – grilled beef tenderloin, reggiano risotto, asparagus, red wine sauce ($26) [The tenderloin was alright but their risotto and red wine sauce were *(#&*@ amazing.]
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+++ Anatra – apple stuffed duck breast, crispy leg, prosciutto, dried cherries, potato gratin, black truffle aioli, madeira ($26) [The duck leg was so moist, tender, and heavenly! We thought that the duck breast could be more rare. The potato gratin was soooo buttery.]
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Cioccolato – melting chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream ($10) [average]
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Budino – banana bread pudding, caramel ice cream, spiced walnuts ($10) [Loved the caramel ice cream. The bread pudding was so-so.]

Click menus to enlarge.

 

Marliave

Overall taste: 8.5/10 | 2017 | 10 Bosworth St, Boston, MA 02108

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

We found another great french/italian restaurant and we’re so excited to share it with everyone!

We went to Marliave on Dine Out Boston Week, but the prices listed below are based on their regular pricing. Scroll down for menus and parking options.

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Oysters – choice of oysters from Duxbury, Wellfleet, Hollands Landing & Pleasant Bay ($3 each, but $1 each between 4-6pm & 9-10pm) [As you can tell from the picture, none of the oysters was plump. One of the oysters Jeff ate had gone bad and he had to spit it out. We wouldn’t spend $3 for these oysters but $1 is pretty cheap. Just make sure to order it during the listed times.]
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+++Duck liver ravioli – sweet-n-sour onions, brown butter, capers ($12) [Omg omg omg, this was fabulous! Okay, before you order it and tell us how much you hated this, we’ve to tell you that this isn’t for everyone. However, if you like that earthy, bitter and rich taste of liver, you need to get this!]
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+++ Beef carpaccio – ribeye, arugula, aioli, reggiano, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil ($14) [We L O V E D this. Raw beef is very mild in flavour and can be easily overpowered by strong seasoning. The seasoning here was simple, which brought out the taste of the paper-thin beef. If you’ve tried making your own beef carpaccio, you’d know that $14 is a small price to pay for the amount of pounding you have to do.]
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+++ Wellington – medium rare beef tenderloin, wild mushrooms, foie gras, pastry crust, red wine sauce ($37) [Do you like croissant, beef, and foie gras? Imagine having everything in a dish! This is another amazing course from Marliave, but the foie gras portion was tiny. There was only one small spoonful in there, and Lynn ate it assuming there would be more, only to leave Jeff in misery for the rest of the night….]
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 – – – Tuna – pan seared rare, fregula, baby kale, red wine reduction ($32) [It’s not obvious from the picture, but these tuna slices were extremely thick and lacked flavour. Jeff was not a fan of this dish, but Lynn liked the fregula with red wine reduction.]
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Pudding – butterscotch, whipped cream, candied ginger  ($9) [Lynn found it to be too sweet but still enjoyable while Jeff loved it.]
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Box of truffles – house prepared premium chocolate, cocoa powder ($7) [These were good, high quality truffles. We like that they didn’t have hard chocolate shells. We both enjoyed their chocolate hazelnut but found their dark chocolate to be too bitter.]

Click menus to enlarge.

Parking: It’s impossible to find parking here. You have 3 options: (1) Uber/public transport (2) Ruth steak house valet parking for $21 (3) Kimpton Nine Zero valet parking for $28. The Marliave restaurant receptionist suggested that we use the Kimpton Nine Zero valet parking and incorrectly quoted us the price of $19.

Menton

Overall taste: 8/10 | 2017 | 354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

We feel that we’d give Menton a higher rating if we ordered from their regular menu instead of their Dine Out Boston menu. This review is based on their 2017 Dine Out Boston selection only (see menu below). We went for their 3 course menu for $35pp.

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Yellowfin tuna crudo – eggplant, za’atar, olive [What distinguishes this from other dishes is their amazing accompaniments. We loved the eggplant and the sauce around it. The seared tuna itself was kind of average.]
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– – –  Chicory salad – trufflle, parmigiano, focaccia [We love truffle and focaccia, so when this come out, we were extremely disappointed. There was barely any taste of truffle oil. The focaccia, while beautiful, wasn’t that tasty and was way too thin. We never liked spring mix but this spring mix was more bitter than usual.]
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+++ Prime beef ribeye – malt, salsify, pearl onion [Again, where is the ribeye cap?! Do people in Boston not like the best part of ribeye? Apart from that, this was our favourite dish. The beef was lightly seasoned, allowing us to enjoy the full flavour of the meat. The accompaniments were extremely enjoyable as well.]
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Cappelletti – parsnip, almond, pancetta [We like that the pasta wrap was more firm than usual. We didn’t like bacon bits around it; they were very tough and dry.]
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Apple spice cake – sultana, cinnamon, walnut [This was very average.]
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Chocolate praline tart – blood orange, hazelnut, espresso [Jeff is not a fan. He thinks that the coffee flavor was too strong. Lynn likes it since she’s a coffee fan.]
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Assorted mini macaroons  (complimentary) [Aren’t they the cutest?!]

Click to enlarge menus.

 

L’Espalier

Overall taste: 9/10 | 2017 | 774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

We really like L’Espalier and would probably go more often if it’s cheaper. We got their 3-course brunch for $65pp (served on Saturdays and Sundays). On Wednesday to Friday, they serve their 5-course lunch for $68pp and you also have the option of ordering from their a la carte menu. If you ever go, remember to take their 20% off coupon on your way out for your next visit.

We find a lot of food (especially in the U.S.) to be either too salty or sweet to the extent that we can’t appreciate the taste of the dish. This is one of the rare places where we find food seasoned to our liking, which is why we gave it such a high rating. We generally liked all their dishes except one of the desserts (see below).

Brunch:
Amuse Bouche, Chef Jacob’s smoothe, First, Main, Dessert ($65pp. some selections require a $10 supplement)

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Flavoured butter (amuse-bouche) [The flavour was extremely subtle and it tasted like regular butter.]
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Cranberry muffin & thyme scone (amuse-bouche) [We liked both their muffin and scone. Jeff prefers the muffin while Lynn prefers the scone. We weren’t sure if the butter (above) was meant for these since they were already quite buttery.]
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Chef Jacob’s smoothie – banana, pineapple & clementine [Jeff found it a little weird while Lynn liked it. We are not sure what they put in it but Lynn tasted a cheesy flavour while Jeff tasted some sort of herb.]
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+++ Lobster bisque – maine lobster / melted leeks [It was on the sour side, but it tasted really good. Jeff’s only complaint is that there was too little lobster meat.]
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+++ Roasted hudson valley foie gras – bitter almond pancake / roasted pear ($10 supplement) [We are both big foie gras fans and we really liked everything about this dish. The pancake and pear were not overly sweet or strong and they complemented the perfectly seared foie gras really well.]
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+++ Roasted loch etive trout – spring peas / fried capers / asparagus [If you’ve never had trout, it tastes and look very similar to salmon. The trout was cooked to our preference where the middle was a little rare. It also went extremely well with their sauce.] 
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+++ Ribeye – truffled eggs / sunchoke / roasted salsify ($10 supplement) [Our favourite part of ribeye is actually the ribeye cap, but this ribeye didn’t have a cap.. Apart from that, everything tasted really good. It almost seemed like the chef made sure every single ingredient was there for a reason, and at the perfect proportion.]
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– – – Jelly donut – filled cranberry-orange jam / ricotta ice-cream [The ricotta icecream was good, but their donut was a huge disappointment. It tasted like donut that was fried and left out on the table for 2 days. The exterior was not crispy and the dough was hard. We noticed several people who also did not finish their donuts.]
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Chocolate pot de creme – shortbread cookie / vanilla ice cream [We requested to have their chai spice icecream substituted with something else. We forgot to confirm what they substitute it with but we think it’s vanilla. We have to say this is a very unique chocolate pot de creme. It was more savoury than sweet. Jeff liked it but Lynn prefers her chocolate sweet.]
 

 

Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar

Overall taste: 7.75/10 | 2017 | 412 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

This place was really crowded when we were there on Sunday for brunch. We’ve also read reviews where people had to wait 1.5 hours for seats during dinner, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time!

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+++ Brewed awakening – vanilla vodka / rumchata / kahlua / cinnamon-nutmeg cold brew ($11) [We really liked this drink and would come back just for it! It was sweet and creamy with mild coffee and alcohol flavour.]
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Sea bass ceviche – pickled papaya / roasted habanero and agave / passion fruit / salsa verde ($12) [We thought that this was too sweet and tasted very much like a dessert. Lynn liked to eat the sea bass with the salsa verde, which was savory. Jeff wasn’t a fan of it as it had cilantro.]
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+++ Tuna crudo tostada – aji amarillo leche de tigre / avocado / lime crema / pickled serrano peppers ($14) [The tuna was fresh and  had the right amount of seasoning.]
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– – – Carne asada – painted hills flank steak / chimichurri / pico / green mole / queso fresco / avocado ($12) [The steak was tough and dry. It was also too charred for our liking.]
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+++ Baja fried fish – charred jalapeno and pineapple aioli / pickled cabbage / avocado ($12) [This was great! The fish was well-fried and went really well their pickled cabbage and aioli.]
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Fried chicken and waffles – jalapeno cornbread waffle / chile maple butter sauce ($14) [Brunch only. We mainly ordered this because we’ve never had chicken and waffles.. haha. We don’t have a comparison but we think it’s pretty good. The chicken could have less batter though. This was a generous serving for $14.]
 

Dig Inn

Overall taste: 7/10 | 2017 | 557 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

Dig Inn takes pride in buying food from local farms/suppliers, which may explain why their food is pricey. The taste of their food is above average, but we found that they’re very heavy-handed on butter, oil, and cream. Also, it would be so helpful if they had labels indicating what each dish was.

If you’re looking to support local suppliers, or looking for a place that is vegan or vegetarian friendly, this would be a place for you. However, we don’t find Dig Inn to be a healthy restaurant choice.

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Iced matcha latte ($4.67) [This was unsweetened and we requested to have it with almond milk. It’s pretty good, especially if you add a little syrup found at the counter]
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– – – Organic dark hot chocolate ($4.67) [We both hated their hot chocolate. There were spices mixed into the chocolate. We wished they told us ahead of time or indicate it in the menu.]
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Marketbowl. Protein – short ribs. Base – toasted farro w/ butternut squash & celery. Sides – upstate mac & cheese, brussel sprouts w/ maple & sriracha. Sauce – garlic tofu aioli (Total: $15.5) [Lynn really liked the short ribs. The meat was on the fatty side and was pretty greasy (which may be good or bad depending on your preference). The mac & cheese was one of the creamiest we’ve had. The 1st few bites were good, but it got sickening after a while. The brussel sprouts were charred and was pretty dry. As for the sauce, pretty sure they put lemon in it; not a fan of the sourness.]
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Marketbowl. Protein – herb grilled steak. Base – classic brown rice. Sides – broccoli w/ meyer lemon, avocado (+$1.5), eggplant. Sauce – pesto (Total price: $13.88) [The steak was chewy and a little dry. The broccoli was too burned for us; it was bitter and sour. The eggplant was good, but extremely oily. Again, their pesto sauce was too sour for us.]

Barcelona Wine Bar

Overall taste: 8/10 | 2016 | 525 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

One of our favourite restaurants in Boston! For the last 2 dishes (paella mariscos, squid ink fideos), the menu indicates “To Share. Two or more”. However, you can actually order a one-person portion.

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Chicken liver mousse – blackberry compote ($5.50) [I prefer their foie gras torchon but this is only half the price and is really good as well]
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+++Foie gras torchon – rhubard preserves ($11.50)

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+++Seared scallops – mojo de cilantro ($13.50) [We are very picky about scallops and these were perfectly seared. Lynn loved every single drop of their cilantro sauce while Jeff is an avid hater of cilantro and believes it should disappear off the face of the Earth] 
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– – – Eva’s duck egg – gem lettuce, trout roe, crispy serrano ($8.50) [we ordered this because we never had duck eggs, but it tasted just like chicken egg. definitely not worth your $8.50.]
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Grilled hanger steak – truffle vinaigrette ($11.50) [we’ve ordered this 3 times and they don’t cook it very consistently; it ranges from medium rare to medium well. make sure to inform your server how you prefer your meat]
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– – – Grilled broccolini – truffle honey, chili flakes ($7.50) [the vegetable/honey combo is weird and unappetizing to us; not a fan]

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Cod a la plancha – salsa verde ($9.50)
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Steak tartare – fingerling chips, quail egg ($8.50)
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Grilled lamp chops – eva’s greens, mint chimichurri ($15)
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Paella mariscos – shrimps, mussels, clams, squid, saffron rice ($24.50 pp)

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+++ Squid ink fideos – calamari, garilic aioli, scallions ($14.50 pp) [this is our favourite dish in the restaurant. exercise caution ordering this if you’re dining with someone you don’t want to show your black teeth to.]
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Parrillada – ny strip, chicken, pork loin, caucho ($26.50 pp) [This was alright, a bit on the greasy side. Not something we’ll order again]