***As of June 5, 2011, Euphoria is closed as a restaurant and is only open for private events. The chef has also left the restaurant.****
How much does service play into what a good meal is for you? Unfortunately, my boundary lines were put to the test the other night at Euphoria. I have been excited to go back since I went last winter to try the new menu (new Chef) at Euphoria. It was an unseasonably mild night and the perfect one for the patio. We were with friends who had also enjoyed a very good meal awhile back at Euphoria and were looking forward to a return visit.
The menu was quite interesting, and I enjoy that it is not the same menu you see everywhere—there is creativity going into the planning. I started with the scallops that were being served with duck confit, sour cherries, arugula and walnuts. First of all, I just liked the sound of all these things—you can tell there will be a good mix of textures and flavors. The 2 scallops (which in my mind is a proper appetizer portion) were well seared, but not overdone in the middle and served with the other items. My favorite thing with the rich, buttery scallops was the sour cherries. Unfortunately there were only 3 of the little cherries and I would have liked one with every bite. They added a real tartness that I really liked with the scallops and walnuts. There were only a few little pieces of the duck on the plate, and honestly, I didn’t think they added that much.
Hubby had a fairly simple salad of greens and grilled veggies—asparagus, squash and radishes with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was good, and the veggies had a nice grilled flavor, but it was nothing overly exciting. One of our friends had the smoked salmon appetizer which was quite tasty and interesting. There were little pieces of the salmon topped with matchsticks of jicama in a coriander crème and pickled pearl onion on the side. There were also a few pieces of fried rice (as in deep fried crunchy rice) and watercress scattered throughout. I liked this unique take on smoked salmon. It was one of the favorites at the table.
For my main dish, I had the halibut with golden beet and snap pea salad with watercress and pine nut vinaigrette. The fish was well cooked—very tender and moist, and my first bite was great—I had a bit of the salad and vinaigrette and could really taste the vinaigrette. Unfortunately, I must have gotten most of it in that first bite because I couldn’t taste the vinaigrette much after that and I really missed it. Again, much like the scallops, the flavors were well thought out and good, I just felt like there wasn’t quite enough of the seasoning aspect of the dishes.
Hubby had the Barramundi with parsley pesto and smashed potatoes, pancetta and green beans. Again, the fish was cooked really well and was exceptionally tender and moist. The pesto was nice as well. Hubby seemed to enjoy it but someone else at our table that had it was not as impressed. Also pictured is the pork dish offered this night—I took a picture because it was so pretty but I never actually tasted it. It was pork tenderloin with raisin glaze, feta and fingerlings.
We had a nice cheese plate for dessert which was tasty—we sampled all five of the cheese they were offering. I think they push cheese plates as an appetizer course though (our waiter did) because half of the crackers served were black pepper flavored. I know I have said this before, but I don’t really like heavily seasoned crackers with cheese because you really start to lose the flavor nuances in the cheese.
The food was all good—not quite as good as the last time we were there, but still very good. The real bummer of the night though was the service. When we got there, it was not yet crowded, although the bar was closed for a private event. At first our server was quite attentive to us and we were generally served our drinks fairly promptly. However, as we were talking and looking over the menu, we did not order immediately. The patio began to fill up quickly and when we left there was not an empty table. I am not sure, but my guess would be that maybe they were not expecting such a crowd and were not staffed for it. We had a hard time getting attention when we needed it—we waited for flatware for quite a bit after our entrées were served, were never given bread until we asked for it in the middle of the meal (although others were) and when we ordered a couple of glasses of wine with dessert, it took a very long time to get them (and only after quite a delay when our first selection was not available). There were long delays between courses and if we had not been enjoying our conversation with our friends so much, it would have likely ruined the meal.
Euphoria is notorious with its service issues. The food has always been good and I like the interior and patio. But I am almost to my breaking point with the service there. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have eaten there lately about what you have found while dining there. I am not sure exactly what is going on, but I would love to see the service match up to the quality of food that has always been served there.
337 West 11th Street