Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day Dinner

Saturday was Valentine’s Day, which means it was my turn to be surprised by where we’d eat dinner. We plan four "special" dinners a year; I plan our anniversary and her birthday while she does Valentine’s Day and my birthday.

We ended up at Michael Smith (19th and Main). It was one of those restaurants about which I’ve always been curious; needless to say, I was excited about the opportunity to dine there.

After a brief reservation snafu (they spelled her name wrong on the computer), we were seated and presented with the menus. Our attentive server announced we had the option of ordering off the regular menu OR the prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu. After reviewing the five courses we would be served on the prix fixe, we both decided on that option. Oh, and a bottle of pinot.

They started us with a butternut squash risotto with diced apples. Great texture, really nice wintery flavor. That was followed with an arugula salad with marcona almonds and a pear vinaigrette, which was very refreshing.

Next was a grilled John Dory with crab-stuffed onions. I never used to like seafood…funny how that has changed now that I’ve tasted fresh, well-prepared fish. I’d never tried John Dory (or heard of it, for that matter) but it was delicious. I believe I’ll look for it again.

This was followed by a roasted beef tenderloin with a mushroom wine sauce and gratin potatoes. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, we had a dark chocolate/caramel tart with passion fruit gelee. It tasted even better than it sounds.
We went next door afterward to his more casual, tapas-style restaurant Extra Virgin. We just had a drink at the bar, but there was LOTS of interesting stuff coming out of that kitchen as well. It’s now on our list…

If you ever have a chance to visit Michael Smith, don’t pass it up! The food is fantastic and the service is impeccable, even on a busy night like Valentine’s Day. If you like trying interesting, new flavors with fresh ingredients, this is an excellent place.

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