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Sunday, February 08, 2004

Zuni, still in good form

Wow, when I agreed to dine with Mr. and Ms. Melkor last night, I had no idea that I (or more specifically my hands) would be guest starring on his so-called food blog on eGullet.

Dinner last night was most pleasant, both on account of the food and the company. I've always loved Zuni, and conversations with Mr. and, more so, Ms. Melkor have always been delightfully entertaining. And last night was just as it should be, fantastically simple and honest food in the company of good friends.

Dave took a bunch of Photos of the food and posted them the blog. I must admit mea culpa on the quail photo. I was trying to be nice by moving the dish to a better spot on the table when Dave snapped the shot so it came out all blurry. Oh well, you didn't miss much. The quail definitely tasted better than it looked (it looked pale and ever-so-slightly sickly).

The food last night was Zuni food in its usual form, though I found a dish or two slightly disappointing. The fries, oh how I love those fries, usually, but the ones last night were slightly limp. I sent one plate back, but the new plate was still not up to their usual standard. They tasted just fine, just a little bit on the oily and limp side. Too bad.

I agree with the Melkors on the polenta. I'm not a big fan of polenta anyway, unless it has gobs of extremely flavorful and dense stew on top of it, like what I've had in Northern Italy. This polenta was decidedly bland, the mascarpone and parmigiano reggiano on top barely helped.

Unlike the Melkors, I love the chicken dish. The Zuni roasted chicken is, to me, the epitome of what Zuni is all about. The best ingredients, prepared lightly with skillful hands, served with simple but extremely complimentary accompaniments. It was superb, as usual. The braised duck leg was good as well, but I preferred the chicken, especially because my companions gladly let me have all the wings. I am such a wing girl. Yum.

We drank a bottle of 1999 Hendry block 7 zinfandel with our meals. Ms.Melkor picked it out of the wine list, but not before Melkor flaunted his psychic prowess and wrote the name down on a piece of paper and handed it to me. He was right on. Aren't couples irritating?

The desserts were lovely. I adored the meyer lemon tart. I can't remember the last time I dined or lunched at Zuni without having at least one kind of tart for dessert. I so love the unbelievably crisp and tasty tart dough. I was a little less happy with the apple and cranberry crisp. They were good, but nothing spectacular. I don't really understand cranberries anyway. Perhaps it has to do with me not being American. Cranberries seem to be such a North American thing.

Melkor, that silly guy, insisted on a cappuccino after dinner. I told him I would make fun of him here, so he pre-empted it by admitting to the deed himself on his blog. Still, it didn't make it any less embarrassing, old man!


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