The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Three years

Wow, has it already been three years since we got married? To celebrate the occasion, we had dinner last night at Café des Artistes, supposedly one of the most romantic dining spots in NYC. I hear that wedding proposals is not uncommon in this restaurant, whose dishes also don't come cheaply. It is also quite a historic site having opened its doors more than 90 years ago.

Indeed, there was a romantic ambience in the air - the lights were dim and the wall murals of the 'wood nymphs' (aka naked chicks) were probably meant to help the mood. Service was exceptional and attentive, as to be expected from a restaurant of this class. As you probably can tell from the name of the restaurant, Café des Artistes serve French cuisine. We ordered our drinks (a spicy tomato juice aka "virgin mary" for me and a ginger ale for Robbie) and flipped through the menu. We opted for their prix fixe (fixed price) menu: a 3-course meal for $35 (excl tax, tips etc).

Both the first course salads (Summer Salad and Watermelon and Prosciutto Salad) were nice, but nothing worth noting. The Shrimp Linguini was quite salty and almost too cheesy, and while the Tarte Flambee (with fromage blanc and sweet onion) was nice, it was not too memorable. The dessert course proved to be the best part of the dinner: Exotic Mousse Cake and an assortment of Sorbets. The mousse cake's mango, passionfruit and pineapple flavours mingled well together, and the smooth and rich texture was quite pleasant on our tongues. The sorbets were berries, pear and guava, and all three were delectably smooth and almost creamy-like with the taste and textures of the fruits they were made with.

Our bill came to $100, including tips and taxes. Our verdict? Given the restaurant's reputation (and prices), we felt that the food was its shortcoming. However, if a romantic atmosphere is what you're looking for, then Café des Artistes excel very well in that. For me, the taste of food is far more important than atmosphere, service and even cost, so this experience was unfortunately not so unforgettable. We had a lovely time though, and enjoyed a leisurely walk through Central Park after dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I thought the Watermelon and Prosciutto Salad were pretty interesting. Not to say I liked it much but the sauce they used was sort of chocolaty somehow and it went surprisingly well with the goat's cheese. If I were more accustomed to the strong mediterranean flavours I could probably enjoy it.