Thursday, October 25, 2012

Eating Young Buck Style

I've admitted I'm no fan of restaurant week.

It's not that it's not for a good cause (it is), but it's such a crazy time for restaurants (where many of my friends work) and I just prefer not to be part of the madness-generating public.

Which is not to say that I don't like a good deal (I do), even during restaurant week.

Enter 2113.

After a leisurely happy hour on my balcony savoring Borsao Garnacha and the exquisite late October weather, we made a bee line for 2113 and their Wednesday wine 'n dine night.

Unlike a lot of the "cheap date" nights, this one isn't only pasta or foisting a dessert of stale bread (pudding) on you.

Walking in to great music and a half full bar, we decided to take further advantage of the pre-Sandy weather and eat outside on the patio.

The last time we'd tried the patio, there's been no music, but a simple request resulted in a promise of music there.

We took seats on the banquette that lines the wall, amid two dwarf trees that made us feel like we were in a conservatory.

The music was a terrific change from all the innocuous indie music I've been hearing in restaurants lately: kind of lounge-y, sometimes with a good beat and other times just sort of smooth and mellow.

In other words, perfect.

The mild, cloudy night sky was above us and we settled in for a cheap meal par excellence.

Wine is part of the deal (unlike restaurant week), so we chose a bottle of Rockbridge Pinot Noir, a velvety Virginian that was as soft as the night air around us.

For a mere $35 (not the $50.24 of restaurant week, not to mention wine included) you also get to choose two first courses and one main course, all served family style.

My date and I may not be a family, but our appetites could play one on TV.

Sea scallop crudo was thinly sliced scallops with radish slices, fennel pollen, olive oil and lemon.

The fennel and lemon played off each other beautifully with the sweetness of the pollen being cut by the astringency of the lemon.

Next up we got the blistered dates despite having had them before. They're just that good.

Medjool dates with almonds, herbs and lardon sat atop greens with buttermilk dressing.

The thick pieces of lardon brought the salty to the obscenely sweet and rich dates for a match made in heaven.

We may not be one of those, either, but at least we have music and laughter.

Choosing our main course was more problematic.

Although one of the offerings was house made fresh pasta, I am reluctant to eat pasta after having had several sublime varieties so recently in Italy.

I thought the moules frites sounded like just the thing (especially with the fries cooked in beef fat) but my date was feeling fowl.

So on our second date night at 2113, we got the exact same entree we'd gotten the first time we'd done the wine 'n dine night there: herb-roasted half chicken.

The half bird that arrived on the platter was enormous, the skin was crispy and crusted with thyme and it was surrounded by vegetables like carrots and brussels sprouts in an herb butter.

Like last time, we tore into it, first leg and then breast, pulling off skin to eat with my fingers and appreciating how perfectly cooked the veggies were.

And just like last time, we couldn't finish the half a yard bird that had been set in front of us.

It's going to make someone a great lunch tomorrow.

I'd read somewhere that Chef Aaron Hoskins was leaving 2113 at the end of the month so I couldn't resist asking for the story.

Seems Aaron is eager for the next step in his career, hoping to have his own place, of course.

2113 is hoping to replace him with another young buck looking to use 2113 as a stepping stone to his future.

In fact, they foresee an arc of young bucks, each putting in a year before moving on to his or her next dream job.

I know I've loved the food since Aaron's been cooking at 2113, but I will also look forward to seeing what the next young Turk can do in that grooviest of spaces.

The way I see it, the music is distinctive, the place has not a single TV screen, and the space is a conversationalist's dream.

As long as the food coming out of the kitchen continues to impress like it has the last four or five times I've been there, I'm okay with whatever young buck is in the kitchen.

Just one piece of advice, guys: Keep wine 'n dine night.

It's like restaurant week year round, only light years better (and I can still send a check to the food bank).

And I don't have to go anywhere near the madness. Score!


  1. K.

    you're spoiled....


  2. cw,

    You're probably right, but after nearly three years of doing everything alone, I'm okay with that.

    Or did you mean something else entirely?

  3. being OK is a good thing...


  4. And being okay and spoiled is even better! Thanks again for the kind words.