Foodie In Training

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chalk Food + Wine Part 2

I'm so glad Cincinnati local restaurants decided to do a restaurant week. I had heard of other cities doing the same thing and always thought it was such a great idea. In Ryan' s post her said that the $25.08/person was not a really good deal, but I kind of disagree. For some of the restaurants that participated, it was not the best deal to do the tasting menu, but for many of the pricier Cincinnati restaurants, I think it's a great deal. It's a great way to experience a restaurant you might not normally go to every Saturday night for a reasonable price. And it's always good to support local restaurants.

I liked Chalk right away. I thought the atmosphere was modern with a little bit of a quirky touch. I wore my favorite red shoes and the hostess complemented me on them when we walked in and then our waitress did too. That put me in a great mood right off the bat. :) Our server was really great, she was very knowledgeable and fun and very attentive. Before I get in to the post out my meal, I want to talk about the wine I ordered. I decided on a red wine and saw on the wine list a natura carmenere. I was intrigued so I asked the server and she informed me it was a South American wine and the grapes are all organic. She said because it was organic, you could really taste all of the flavors. I decided to try the natura carmenere and it was so good! It was a really flavorful wine, not too dry. I definitely want to try and find a bottle of this next time I am at a wine store.

Ok- now about my meal. Ryan talked about our calamari appetizer and I thought it was good, I liked that it was 2 takes on calamari, but the dish wasn't really memorable compared to the rest of our dishes. The first course of my tasting menu was a potato and beet salad. The salad had fingerling potatoes chopped in small pieces, diced beets and walnuts lightly tossed in a walnut vinaigrette. On top was a little bit of lettuce and a crispy chip. There was some of the vinaigrette artfully presented on the side and a small segment of what I think was grapefruit. The potato salad was excellent, I loved the pungent flavor of the beets and the crunch of the walnuts. The vinaigrette was not heavy at all and was a nice complement to the ingredients. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to eat the little segment of grapefruit with the salad or if it was just a garnish, but it brightened up the salad when I did have a bite with the grapefruit.

Second course I chose the butter poached cod. It was served over carrots and green lentils and there was a light buttery sauce surrounding the meal. You can see in the picture that on top are some blue flecks, that is salt! I just tried doing a little research to see if I could figure out what kind of salt it is, but I am still a foodie in training, so I'm really not sure. I think it might be crystalline sea salt. Anyway, the cod was really good, wonderfully cooked and it paired well with the carrots and green lentils. The light buttery sauce was also really nice and not very heavy, which I like. The bites with the blue salt definitely had a salty kick to it, but it really enhanced the flavor of the fish.
My third course, dessert, was just pure sin in the form of a double chocolate cupcake. It looked so pretty when our server laid it in front of me I almost didn't want to eat it, but that didn't stop me from immediately taking the chocolate piece from the top and taking my first bite of rich (and I mean rich) chocolaty goodness. I'm not really a chocolate or dessert person, but this cupcake was like the mother of all cupcakes. It was a chocolate cupcake with a layer of ganache and then a 2 inch layer of chocolate mousse frosting with chocolate chips, sprinkles and the chocolate piece on top....whoa. Needless to say it was amazing and I only ate about half of it because it was so rich and I was getting full.

I would definitely go back to Chalk, I really liked the atmosphere and the back patio looked like it is probably a happening place when the weather is nice. My grade: A

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