Chef/owner Blake Elsinghorst earned his culinary chops in classically run kitchens in France and Italy. Now he brings a remarkable palate and international influence to the dishes he's creating at this tiny (about 24 seats) bistro at the corner of 37th and Abercorn. I just eased in for dinner recently; more on that in an upcoming report, but for now, I must go on and on about lunch! With a bed of mixed greens, dried cherries and candied pistachios, the Garden Salad with Grilled Chicken presents with a pair of decadent, baked goat cheese-topped crostini perched upon the greens. The cheese delivers nice acidity that complements a sweet, gentle dressing of honey and white truffle vinaigrette. Plump cubes of marinated chicken breast added some weight, but I learned that I would find this salad a complete and delicious lunch - even without the meat. A cocktail of champagne, Calavados and apple cider helped bring all these flavors together into one incredibly, light, refreshing and satisfying meal.
205 E. 37th St./236-8533
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Middle Eastern Cuisine, an unassuming little joint tucked into bustling Montgomery Street, quietly caters to devoted followers with favorites like gyros, souvlaki and moussaka. I favor Tikilia, an appetizer portion of baba ghanoush, hummus and tzatziki with hot wedges of pita bread. Every dish is made fresh and to order - so don't be in a rush. It's been in this spot for a decade or so, and most folks -- even foodies, have missed it. Here's your chance!
142 Montgomery St./443-0414
Boar's Head Grill & Tavern
Boar's Head Grill & Tavern occupies one of River Street's grand old warehouses -- and after more than 44 years in business, it's a landmark of its own. CIA-trained Chef and Owner Philip Branan holds court in the open kitchen and, for an old-school steak dinner, this place is hard to beat. I recently sampled the 4-ounce Filet Mignon and couldn't have been more pleased. Done to perfect medium-rare, the steak was flavorful and the side dish of garlic mashed potatoes was as tasty and comforting as you might expect. Service was attentive, the surroundings offer a nicely historic feeling. Above all, don't pass on one of the chef's award-winning desserts! I loved my Jack Daniels Chocolate Pecan Pie.
1 North Lincoln St. (at River Street)/651-9660