Thursday, March 31, 2011

David Burke Fromagerie

David Burke Fromagerie
Final Grade: B+
                Birthday dinner, birthday dinner, where shall I feast for my birthday dinner? Something new, of course! HHHmmmm……many places come to mind that I hope to get one day, but the winner for my recent celebratory night was David Burke’s Fromagerie; an upscale, beautifully ornamented French restaurant in Rumson, NJ. Having only been to Rumson one other time in my life, I knew the attire and atmosphere we were heading into. For those of you, who are unfamiliar, get out your blazer, loafers, and shiny pumps or you might feel out of place.
                Being noted as one of the 25 top restaurants of the state by NJ Monthly, I definitely had high expectations. Not to mention, they received a Zagat rating of 25/30 for food. Me being me, I further investigated and found a mixed bag of opinions. Most compared it to Restaurant Nicholas in Middletown, another fine dining establishment in Monmouth County. Me also being me, I had to make my own opinion. Off we went, husband and I for my night out!
                We started off at the bar and took in the ambiance: impeccable and worth noting. The drinks were pricy but I expected so. The bartender offered us a chef specialty to taste. Kobe beef corn dogs with a spicy mustard was soon presented to us. Although it lacked a “corn dog crunch”, the meat was juicy and the sauce nicely spiced.
                At our cozy corner table in the upstairs dining room, we decided on the duck ravioli ($15) and pretzel-crusted crab cake ($17) as our starters. While we awaited the dishes, we enjoyed fresh pop-overs that showcased a moist inside and crispy outside. They were unreal, one of my favorite parts of the meal. The ravioli were also delicious; the filling was robust and the shitake mushrooms were perfectly cooked so that they still had a firmness to them. My crab cakes were also a hit in the flavor department, especially the poppy seed honey. The meat was very creamy yet still eluded much crab taste. The pretzel coating was salty and maintained its crunch against the filling. The problem: the meat was luke-warm.
                Dinner for myself was well executed. Prawns and scallops over risotto ($28) isn’t a terribly technical dish however. The prawns were succulent and the scallops did sport a nice sear on top. The risotto, though enjoyable, could have been creamier. The other dish, grilled filet mignon ($36) with whipped potatoes and creamed spinach, failed to excite. The meat was done to a desired temperature and seared with skill but the potatoes were room temperature and had to be sent back.
                Settling on dessert is always an event at our table but after a quick debate, the birthday girl ordered the “Kickin’ Hot” donuts ($12). Although they were not very hot, they came out in a ferris-wheel like display and were generously coated in cinnamon and sugar. Raspberry jam, chocolate sauce and salted caramel squeeze bottles came along side and made for a do-it-yourself finisher.  They were consumed quickly and left smiles on both our faces. Sadly, the cappuccino we ordered was delivered after our dessert had been cleared. Poor timing and communication among the staff it seemed.
                Looking back, it was a dinner I will never forget. The night with my husband, the ambiance, the pop-overs, and the donuts will remain in my memory bank for awhile, trust me. Other aspects of the meal will be forgotten for the better.
                Fromagerie is located on 26 Ridge Road, Rumson, NJ 07760. 
Total score 20/25
Final Grade: B+

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5
Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?

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