****ED NOTE: AS OF APRIL 2009, ELEMENTS IS CLOSED.
We headed back to one of our favorite places this week-Elements. I am trying to get some new places in, but it was hubby’s birthday, and his choice, so Elements it was. And I figured since I don’t think we have been there since Chef and former owner Greg Hardesty left, it would be a good thing to check up and see how things are going.
Not too busy, but it was a Tuesday after all. We got our favorite table and were served by a very friendly and knowledgeable server. I think the wine list has changed a bit, but they had a nice Soave reasonably priced, so that is what we went with.
For a starter I had the herb gnocchi with mushrooms and roasted tomatoes with a white wine nage and sliced garlic. It was a great sized portion (i.e. not ridiculously big) and it was excellent. I really really liked it and ate every bite. At this point in the meal, I am thinking this place is still spot on. The gnocchi were super tender and light and obviously very freshly made. The mushrooms were small and tender with a taste similar to a shitake but not quite as strong. Hubby had the Tasmanian salmon starter with fresh pasta, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and although salmon isn’t my favorite fish, the pasta and accompaniments were delicious! The pasta was homemade and they should really consider a pasta appetizer or main dish—they did it very well.
For my main, I had the skirt steak with steak frites, collard greens, pickled red onions and truffle jus. It was so cold outside and this sounded nice and hearty. The server sort of seemed to be recommending the Barramundi which also sounded good—and normally at Elements I like to get the fish, but like I said the beef just sounded so good. Well, let’s just say that I should have gone for the fish. Even though I ordered the meat medium rare, it was medium at best and therefore, a bit tough. I should have sent it back, but couldn’t really delay the meal that much due to time constraints. The thing about it is, in my experience, this has always been a problem at Elements. Any time I have gotten beef there, it has always been overcooked. Not sure why. The onions and greens were pretty good, but I couldn’t really smell or taste any truffle in there (and usually my nose can smell it a mile away). But, I have learned my lesson. Stick with the fish. Hubby had swordfish and couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. It was perfectly cooked and served with basil mashed potatoes and Nicoise veggies.
We did order a dessert this time—the apple and ginger tart with “slightly fennel” ice cream and caramel sauce. It was well done. I didn’t really taste the fennel (hence the “slightly” I guess) but thought the flavors went well together—the ginger really complimented the apples.
All in all, the new chef, Neil Andrews, is keeping the “elements” of Elements the same, and up to the old high standards. They were offering two salads that were very unique and are one of my favorite things about Elements—that they put together complex salads with unusual ingredients (in this town anyway) that are different from what pretty much every other restaurant around is doing (i.e., no blue cheese wedge). They’re continuing to use lots of fresh and local ingredients in all their dishes and to serve great fresh seafood. Keep up the good work (and maybe work on the steak temps).
P.S., I hope the menu continues to be updated online—the week we went, there was nothing at all listed on the online menu for several days, but when I checked today, it was up again.
415 North Alabama Street