Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Ah, Restaurant Week...

I chose this Upper West Side fine dining establishment because a) reservations were available for reasonable times, b) the online menu offered a chance Superfly could get something vegetarian (with the blobs and smears of who-knows-what on plates around town, he fears eating what he thinks is yak ear, or something), and I, who lives for haute cuisine, hadn't been there before.

Beat Superfly there by a few minutes, so after alerting the staff to my presence, I cooled my heels in the lobby, listening to servers talk about a recent karaoke party. A group of grandmas came in and huffed about, shedding layers of hideous coats and barking at one another. One had the affrontery to ask for my chair. No sight of Superfly and our reserved time ticking away, I asked to wait at a table.

The interior of Compass is rather nondescript. A rectangular dining area, lots of wood and recessed lighting, boring art. Due to its proximity to Lincoln Center, it caters to theatre goers. Judging from the crowd present last night, probably those from Ohio. From our vantage point on a raised seating level we could watch patient servers explain reductions and confits to bewildered guests.

Excellent wine list, our server knew his wine and made fabulous recommendations. Each menu item offered a wine pairing, and I noticed on the way out that Compass received Best Wine Cellar awards from Wine Spectator, three years running. Neat!

Superfly finally arrived in all his handsome glory and we settled in for a feast. Well, I did. He's a man of simple tastes when it comes to food and is wary of plates looking more like art than food. Because we are creatures of habit, he had Chardonnay and I had Zinfandel. Both were sublime. Marco, our friendly server who looked like he might stuff his starched shirt and bowtie into a leather backpack and ride his Chopper home after work, brought the Amuse course, not hesitating before explaining what that meant.

The crisp, fennel did indeed amuse our palates. We opted to order from the prix fixe Restaurant Menu, although the rest of the menu looked amazing. My butternut squash soup was so good, I totally sopped it up with the fancy bread. Superfly was less enthused with his Cured Salmon Salad, the consistency of the fish was somewhere between sushi and lox, the fleshiness of it didn't sit well with him. It helped to eat the fish with the accompanying watercress and brussel sprout, but I didn't care for the fish, either.

My main course was brisket, one of my favorites. Me and my palate were amused to see the wee perfect squares of brisket, drizzled with a gravy reduction and matched with fantastic grits and some spicy mustard vegetables. Never has brisket been so tender, so fancy!

My main Superfly was picking away at his skate, he didn't like this fish, either. Said it had a strange consistency. He should have ordered the salmon teriyaki, we agreed.

However! We both chose the chocolate dessert offering, and neither could complain, both so busy jamming it down our gullets. Basically, we're talking a haute cuisine Devil Dog. It was freaking awesome.

All in all, dinner at Compass was a lovely experience. Superfly's experience was less so, but he always scarfs down what I cook him, so he stays.

Compass restaurant is 203 70th Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan.

I'll rate Compass 2 1/2 stars. After all, it's no Daniel!


Blogger Buffy said...

Did you say grits?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Trouble said...

Honey, these in no way resembled the grits with which you are familiar.

Their take on the Southern mainstay was a ethereal cloud of sweet, buttery yum.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Leave It To Cleavage said...

Sounds delightful. I can't believe someone would ask you to give up your chair. We're going to the Cheesecake factory this weekend, woo hoo. You should be a restaurant critic.

5:30 PM  

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