Monday, May 19, 2008

Hawthorne Lane: Take TWO

Last week, I took Karen out to celebrate her birthday. Since it was a "school night", I thought that it would be nice to go somewhere interesting, fun, and low key. So, I decided to take Karen to TWO. Located in the space once occupied by the restaurant Hawthorne Lane, TWO was born out of chef/owner David Gingrass' desire to reinvent his restaurant to have a hipper and more casual atmosphere. We had the opportunity to visit Hawthorne Lane twice before it closed, the last time for its final cooking class.

While Karen had already been to TWO once before for lunch, I had not visited since our cooking class. While there were some differences in the decor, notably the wall panels and the lighting fixtures, the place still seemed to be quite similar to its previous incarnation.

Soon after we were seated, we were pleased to be presented with their starter plate of flatbread and biscuits. The flatbread was deliciously cheesy with a hint of heat and the biscuits were flaky and wonderfully buttery.

After a round of drinks (Karen ordered a mojito and I got a glass of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine), we were ready to order dinner. We started out with a decadent appetizer, slow-roasted marrow bones served with crusty bread and caramelized onions. There was the perfect amount of marrow in the order: one bone for each of us with enough marrow to spread over the toasted bread. Despite the richness of the marrow, there was just the right amount so that we didn't feel overly sated by the starter before our main courses.

Since we were both pretty hungry, we decided to order a couple of entrées which we split. The first main course was braised beef cheeks with gaufrette potatoes, maple glaze, and horseradish crème fraîche. The beef was really flavorful and fall-apart tender and went very well with the horseradish. The maple glaze was interesting, having a slight hint of port, but was perhaps a touch sweet for my taste. Nevertheless, this was an excellent dish.

Our second main dish was a pan-fried pork cutlet, which could be prepared in two different ways. We could have ordered it with broccoli rabe and lemon, but opted to have it with spicy marinara and aged provolone cheese. The huge cutlet was deliciously tender and not at all greasy. With the marinara and cheese, it was reminiscent of a veal parmesan. It was another fine dish, though given the heaviness of the marrow and beef cheeks, it would have been more prudent to go with the lemon and rabe option.

For our side, we continued with the rich food theme and ordered some truffled macaroni and cheese. I enjoyed the mac and cheese, though the truffled flavor was a bit too strong for Karen's liking. I am curious if they used real truffle oil or something that came out of a laboratory.

Though we were getting quite full, it was, after all, Karen's birthday, so we ended the meal by sharing a decadent dessert, their signature "TWO Chocolates" mousse cake. The dessert consisted of semisweet and milk chocolate mousses, devil’s food cake, and caramel rice krispies. It was wonderfully rich and delicious. Even though I'm not a dessert guy, I'd definitely order it the next time I'm there.

So, there you have it, a fabulous birthday meal. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't do anything special for Karen, as per my OpenTable request, but the food was great and the service was prompt and attentive, so we really can't complain too much.


One Food Guy said...

That truffled mac and cheese sure sounds good, but my real purpose for this comment is to let you know that you've been tagged for a meme...

Five Facts Meme

Loren said...

Thanks, Scott. I tagged a few of my fellow bloggers, so they're "it"!

Val said...

Love it. Happy new year to you, and a great 2011 to all!

Rachel said...

Your food photos are amazing! I’ve been lurking on your blog for awhile and finally thought I’d say something…. your photography is excellent.