Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunrise, Elements and More Z's

I just want to start out saying this; the best greasy spoon type breakfast--eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast (or biscuits) that I have found is Sunrise Cafe. I go to the one on 82nd Street near Kohl's but I think there are one or two other locations. They have the hash browns I really like that are shredded and not cubed (which should be home fries, not called hash browns anyway). On a weekend morning, it may be crowded, but on one of those days when you had a light dinner or maybe drank a little too much the night before, it is the best choice I have found so far. The decor is strange to me for a breakfast place (sports, sports and more sports--did this place used to be a sports bar or what?). But it is Indiana I guess.

Ok, now I have to give a glowing review to Elements. I think this is one of the top restaurants in our fair city. I will say the first couple of times I went there maybe a year and a half to 2 years ago, I had some meals that were just ok, and some items that were really good. But the last few times I have been there in the last year, the entire experience has been amazing. The chef works with seasonal ingredients and mixes it up quite a bit. This is one of the only places in town that has salads that are different from the standards you see everywhere (anyone for a spinach salad or lettuce wedge?) and they are GREAT! I love a salad with varying flavors and textures and a little tang. This time it was watercress with pea shoots, cremini mushrooms, parmesan and truffle vinaigrette. Yum. Last time I had one with apples, pine nuts and endive and a vinaigrette that was simply amazing. I opted for a steak this time (I usually get fish here because it is always good) and it was great. It was a ribeye which can be a bit fatty for me but the mushrooms and fingerlings with it were great. It had a great red wine butter on it that wasn't too over the top. Hubby had fish--striped bass--and it was also great. I had several bites.

The other thing I like about Elements in the interior--it is not as stark and some around here and the colors are warm reds and oranges. Great art too. A very pleasant experience. FYI, our favorite table is #7 (for 2 anyway). It is on the end of the banquette but still in the middle of the restaurant. You can hear your dinner mate and still enjoy being in a restaurant with other people. Or if it isn't cold and you want maximum privacy, get the one behind the door.

Now, on a down note, we went back to Z's Oyster Bar and Steakhouse. While the food remains very good, we were there on a Saturday night and the placed was slammed which is good for them, but the service severely suffered. We started out ok, but by the end of the meal, it had gotten ridiculous. And we were seated in the bar even with a reservation which is very dark and noisy--not so good for a party trying to talk to each other (there were 6 of us) or read a menu. Again, the food was again good (except skip the "Derby Souffle'" unless you want a dessert that tastes like a shot of bourbon.) We probably would not have even gotten dessert except we had ordered in advance to get the souffle'--it was so late and we had been there so long by that point. It was very disappointing considering they assign 2 people to each table to take care of service. The owner was making the round and spoke to us a couple of times. Their business is doing well, but they really need to work out some kinks I think. I am not even going to talk too much about the food as I basically ordered the same thing to see if it was as good the second time. It mainly was, but one thing about the walu (butterfish), if you order it, I would request a piece that is from the thin end of the fillet as it seems to have much more flavor. Hubby ordered the oysters Rockefeller and was quite disappointed--the oysters were very small and there was way too much topping for such a small amount of oyster--he had to dig them out. He is convinced Sullivan's has the best Oysters Rockefeller in this city (even though I think the rest of their food is generally average). If anyone has any suggestions to this end, please let me know!

On a sad note, I hear the Glass Chimney and Deeter's is closing in April. While the decor was in desperate need of an update, the food is good. Very good. Let's just hope someone starts a new generation of a chef-owned restaurant and not another chain....