Ah yes, it’s that time of year again… restaurant week begins! For my first of three reservations I decided on Radius with my boyfriend & parents. Located on the corner of High Street & Summer Street in the financial district, Radius’ chef Michael Schlow presents you with modern French cuisine in a chic & elegant setting. The main dining room is shaped in a ½ circle with tables lining the perimeter, and more seating in an intimate inner circle, complete with tables & booths. Red lighting lines the top of the wall encompassing you in a warm tone. Unfortunately, we were not really able to experience this atmosphere as we were seated in a small side room with three other tables. While this room was an open continuation of the central area, I felt a little secluded as the main décor did not extend into this room, leaving it a bit dull. I was hoping the meal would make up for the lack in atmosphere.
Bread: Before the bread was served we were brought a small tasting from the chef; in a miso soup spoon was a braised brussel sprout, tomato confit, bacon, & crispy bread. I’m not a huge brussel sprout fan, but the tomato added a nice touch. Shortly after, everyone was served their own individual roll accompanied by two plates of warm butter triangles for the table. The bread was warm & crispy, and I was surprised & delighted to learn it was sourdough!
Menu: In a rectangular leather booklet, we were presented with 2 options for the first course, 3 for the main course, and 2 for dessert. The rest of the menu was still available, but each item had an additional cost on top of the $33.10 you were paying for restaurant week. Having studied the menu the night before in anticipation, I already knew what I was ordering: cauliflower soup, lightly seared salmon, carrot cake “a la Radius”.
Presentation: I was brought a shallow bowl that contained the crispy duck, brioche croutons, & romanesco, and the cauliflower soup was poured in front of me out of a cast iron kettle. Deliciously creamy without being too rich or heavy, this was a great start to the evening. The brioche croutons & few pieces of duck added a nice touch. My salmon was presented on top of local braising greens & a pile of warm lentils. While it was cooked perfectly, the cumin vinaigrette wasn’t as strong as I was hoping, so the dish lacked that special something that would have separated it from all the other salmon dishes I’ve had in the past. Absolutely tasty, but I was expecting something more, something different. The carrot cake interested as it came disassembled, each ingredient on a different area of the plate: cake topped with long & thin carrot shavings, cream cheese frosting, warm ice cream piled on some walnuts. The cake itself was great and tasted even better with the sweeter than usual ice cream. A creative & fun way to present a dessert!
Wait Staff: Our waitress was nice & knowledgeable, and always had a smile on her face. The manager came over during our main course to make sure everything was to our liking, which it was. After the entrée, the waitress brought a crumb scraper over to clear off our tablecloth which I always enjoy (I’d love to get one of those little gadgets for my house!). There was a bit of a wait between the bread and our first course, and our dinner ended up being 2 ½ hours, which I think goes down in history as the longest meal I’ve ever had at a restaurant. I’m not necessarily complaining since I like making an event out of dining out, I just wasn’t expecting to be rolling myself out of there at 9pm.
Bathroom: To get to the restrooms you have to ascend down this beautiful wide marble(?) staircase and pass through a lounge/wine bar. Complete with a wine vault (this building use to house a bank), bar, and comfortable seating, I felt like I was in a hotel lobby. The bathroom itself was one of the larger ones I’ve seen; when you first walk in there is a small seating area with two low stools with thick cushions that are in front of a large mirror. This leads into the section with the stalls; there were at least six, and each had a small shelf for your purse. The sink countertop was like a deck floor, with narrow sections of dark wood. The sink itself was a large white bowl, raised up and placed on top of the counter. I enjoyed the spacious & modern feel.
Overall: I personally feel like atmosphere is a large part of dining out, so I felt as though I missed out on the full Radius experience by being placed in that side room. None of us were disappointed with our meals, but I think we were expecting a bit more; perhaps more originality with the salmon, maybe a larger portion of the panna cotta dessert that my father had trouble finding on his plate. It is generally an expensive spot, so I won’t be rushing back, but if I do return I’ll make sure to eat in the main dining room and perhaps I’ll have a different take. I did appreciate the bite sized after dinner treats that were brought with the check: lime meringues, raspberry gelatins, and orange biscottis.
The Perfect Bite: The cauliflower soup was absolutely the highlight of the evening. I love how it was presented and it was even more delicious than I was expecting. The pieces of duck added great texture to the smooth & creamy dish.