4 1/2 Golden Spoons
Superb Way to Start Your Day
While we weren’t impressed with our suite at the US Grant Hotel but the Grant Grill was exceptional. We enjoyed both breakfast and lunch during our stay. The setting is elegant. The staff is warm and attentive. And the cuisine is creative, perfectly presented, and delightfully delicious.
Focusing on breakfast, I had the Pork Belly Benedict. Slices of smoked pork belly atop medallions of corn bread with a rich hollandaise sauce. Garnished with watercress and herbs, it was unique, flavorful and a symphony of taste and texture. My husband enjoyed the Summer Squash Quiche. Zucchini, corn, bacon, spinach, aged cheddar, parmesan, and shallots served in a pie wedge with a melt-in-your mouth buttery crust. Lovely. Both dishes were accompanied by the house twice-cooked potatoes. Baby Yukon golds baked, torn in half, and then flash fried. Decadent but worth the calories. What a superb way to start your day. We’ll be back….not for the hotel, but certainly for the Grant Grill!
4 1/2 Golden Spoons
On a Fantastic Roll!
Pho 533 has been a favorite of mine since Chef Chad Gardner took over the restaurant in 2015. His twist of adding a bit of French flair to traditional Vietnamese recipes results in an incredibly flavorful fare of everything from Sumptuous Banh Mi Sandwiches to Fantastic Pho Soups to Vibrant Vermicelli dishes, all served in a newly remodeled and expanded dining room and lounge complete with a “Vietnamese Roll Bar.” How fun is that! Best dishes I love include the Five Spice Pork Belly. Braised for 5 hours and served with house-made pickled Napa cabbage and daikon, topped with fried garlic and shallots, it’s an explosion of tastes and textures that will not disappoint.
Five Spice Pork Belly
The Vietnamese Crepe is spectacular too; a coconut cream delicate pancake filled with sautéed shrimp, lemongrass pork, bean sprouts, carrots and scallions. One of the best I’ve ever had….anywhere. On the roll front, the BLT Roll is a wonderful surprise that demonstrates the Chef’s creativity. Five-spiced braised pork belly, poached slipper lobster, local farm-fresh lettuce, soba noodles, pickled carrots and daikon radish with a secret Sriracha sauce. A must-order. The Lemongrass Duroc Pork Roll is also something to savor. Duroc is actually a breed of pork that is exceptionally tender, juicy and flavorful. It’s the star of this roll, matched with fresh greens, mint, pickled carrots, vermicelli noodles and crunchy won ton strips. Almost always part of my lunch or dinner here. I must admit that I was a bit nervous when Pho 533 recently closed to double the size of the restaurant which can often be a fatal mistake, but in this case the transformation was seamless and the new hip atmosphere (complete with a huge light-up Hello Kitty) just adds to the dining experience. Kudos to Chef Gardner and team (always wonderful service, I might add). You’re on a fantastic roll that I hope never ends.
5 Golden Spoons
What a find. We had heard good things about I.d., but I had no idea we were in for such a fantastic culinary adventure. We were a group of six, that arrived without reservations. Quite luckily, they were able to seat us at a high-top family style table in the bar area. Really great atmosphere with lots of energy and a full view into the kitchen. When I first looked at the menu, I must admit I was taken back by the unique categories – Snacks & Spreads, Leaves & Roots, Feathers & Tails, Fins & Shells, Sugar & Spice. I thought to myself, this could either be some sort of gimmick leading to a disappointment or an absolutely creative new twist on menu design. Luckily, it turned out to be the latter. The concept is for shared plates. So glad there were six of us so we could enjoy a lot of different dishes. We started with the Cuban Fritters. Roasted garlic, house pickles, gruyere formed into lovely round spheres garnished with crispy thin sliced ham. Perfect presentation in a charming ceramic hand-thrown pottery bowl garnished with microgreens. Upon first bite, the texture was crisp on the outside and wonderfully creamy on the inside. And the flavor….somehow the chef had managed to capture the perfect Cubano sandwich in a fritter! Outrageous. Next course, Pig Head – braised face, 10 year cheddar grits, bbq peas, crispy ears, and chard. Who does this? While it sounds a bit exotic and questionable, it was another dish prepared to perfection that was absolutely delicious. Wow. On to the Organic Chicken – asparagus, ramps, morels, fiddlehead, tarragon and quinoa. Really? Fiddlehead fern, morels, and quinoa in Delafield, Wisconsin? Another inspired dish that was the ultimate pairing of flavors and textures. The list of outrageous and outstanding culinary treats continued. Wood Grilled Octopus, Radicchio, Arugula and Fennel Flatbread, Pancetta and Artichoke, Trofie Pasta…..and more. Even the deserts were amazing. Carrot Cake-Less – cream cheese, candied walnuts, vanilla roasted pineapple, ginger and cilantro. Stunning flour-less treat. Was I dreaming? This was Michelin Star level dining. Honestly I still can’t believe the experience. It rivaled dinners I’ve had in some of the finest restaurants around the world. On top of that, dishes ranged from about $6 to $16 on average. Crazy. I had the privilege of meeting the Chef, Jonna Froelich, at the end of the meal. I couldn’t give her enough praise and you could see the passion she has for her work which shines in every plate. I’m not exaggerating when I say that dining at I.d. was one of the most memorable and delicious experiences I’ve ever had. While I live in Palm Springs, California, I will literally be flying to Delafield again, just to enjoy I.d. Incredibly delicious.
2 Golden Spoons
I’ve been to dish before and was dish-appointed. However, friends pushed me to give it another try. I decided to stop by for lunch. I sat in the bar area. Looks nice, but the high-boy tables with low back seats are really uncomfortable. Also of note, at noon, the place was empty. Hmm. I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich. The description sounded lovely. White cheddar, guacamole, zucchini, mushrooms and sprouts. $12 Served with pomme frites or a Caesar salad for an additional $2. I opted for the Caesar. The service was friendly but the delivery was slow. A little surprising considering the lack of customers and the simplicity of the dish. Took about 35 minutes. When the plate arrived, the presentation was actually quite nice. The sandwich was diagonally sliced into two halves, perfectly stacked on top of one another and secured with an embellished toothpick. The Caesar was neatly set to the side, lightly dressed and the romaine was beautifully dark and fresh. My mouth was watering. I picked up the sandwich and took my first bite, expecting something special. But…the sandwich was dry with way too many sprouts and almost no cheese!!! The raw zucchini and mushrooms were a nice touch, but again, dry and overpowering and there was almost no guacamole. This really was a misrepresented dish. More like grilled bread with a load of veg, no seasoning, and little flavor. What a disappointment. And on to the Caesar. How could such a sumptuous looking salad be so bland and flavorless? I guess the beauty of dish lies in the presentation, but I have to dish dish when it comes to timing, texture, and taste.