Steve gave me a gift certificate to Journeyman, but requested that I take someone else to dinner - the idea of having no control over his food did not appeal to him. I took my friend Peggi who was happy to try everything.
There were only two other tables occupied when I arrived for our reservation. I was alarmed – no restaurant should be this empty at 7pm on a Friday night. The room was also unimpressively cold and industrial and I was seated in a chair that screamed IKEA.
Dinner was an elaborate parade of tiny, precious dishes that were better described as interesting or imaginative than delicious.
There was a bread basket, with 3 types of hearty bread and soft salted butter. We also got a flaxseed chip with a yogurt dip. It was reminiscent of Chinese shrimp chips in texture.
Raw oyster encased in a smoked gelee wrapper. It was visually fascinating, like a see- through ravioli.
Sea scallop with celery and apple. The texture was firm and pleasing, with a fresh briny flavor.
Charcuterie plate with a soft boiled egg and pickled cauliflower. The 3 thin slices of coppa were unremarkable.
Hearts of palm, caperberries, cracklins and a single walnut. I, literally, can not think of anything to say about this dish.
Monkfish, escargot, and brisket. The monkfish was tasty, but it was the size of a small McNugget.
Liver agnolotti with shallots and bacon. This was my favorite course of the night – if only it was 4 times the size.
Veal with radishes, artichokes and mushrooms. It was yet another precious, tiny plate of food. It was lovely to look at, not terribly exciting to eat.
Egg nog custard. It was announced a as “pre – dessert”. The custard was served warm and it was delicious.
We were served 2 different desserts; I had a sweet potato mousse with hazelnuts and a coffee smear. I am not a big fan of sweet potato, so this dessert did not appeal to me.
Peggi’s was an olive oil cake with candied olives, apple sorbet and a tube of banana pudding. The candied olive was the strangest thing I tasted all night, but as I continued to eat, the sweet, briny, crunchy combination started to grow on me.
They also gave us a “post-dessert” of caramels, truffles, praline, madelines and homemade marshmallows. I enjoyed this small dish of treats far more than the actual dessert.
The service was excellent; they were extremely attentive and friendly. It was clear that a lot of time, energy and thought went in to each careful composed dish. I think there were some hits (the liver agnolotti) and some misses (sweet potato mousse). When the bill comes in at $240 (the meal, 2 cocktails and tip), my expectations are high and Journeyman failed to meet them.