Monday, January 17, 2011

Hoof & Fin

Jess’ Take

We started our 2011 year in food with Hoof & Fin. It’s a restaurant that’s been on our list for a while, and for one reason or another we just never made it. I’d heard some mixed reviews it was with guarded enthusiasm we embarked on the same location that formerly housed one of my most favorite restaurants, Gayle.

The food gods were smiling down on me this day, as I had had lunch at JG Domestic just a few hours earlier, so was still stuffed, but determined to enjoy myself nonetheless. It also meant that I would need to steer toward the ‘fin’ side of the menu. As always, I was too tempted by the octopus starter to not order it. It was served with a tomato comfit and potato croquette. The server ensured that it was braised for hours before grilled to make it tender and juicy. It was certainly juicy, but not as tender as I’d like (maybe it’s just because I’m still dreaming of the octopus from Fond). The potato croquette was delicious and a really nice accompaniment, along with a small salad. I enjoyed it, but might explore other options if I find myself there again.
The most phallic picture of octopus you've probably ever seen

For my main I went for a special, which was grilled Pacu fish ribs served with coconut rice. The server told us that this dish was going to be featured on Diners, Drive-in and Dives in an upcoming episode (apparently they serve this same dish at a little seafood shack down the shore). That tainted it a bit for me, as Guy Fieri makes my skin crawl, but once I tasted the dish I soon forgot. When they arrived they looked like pork ribs, although there were several bones to each piece. They were hearty enough to pick up and eat, but the flavor was really delicate. The coconut rice was sticky and sweet and went really well with the fish. If only this dish was served with some fried plantains, it would have been near perfection.

Pacu fish ribs
Presented with the dessert options, none that included chocolate, we decided to pass.

Hoof and Fin gets a thumbs up in my book, and a 3 out of 4 fish ribs for sure.

Wade's Take:
Before I even arrived at Hoof and Fin, I knew what I was craving that night... fish and carbs. It's a simple craving that can be fulfilled on nearly any restaurant menu, sure. But I've walked into many a restaurant with this craving and had sub-par results. Hoof and Fin met the challenge.

My appetizer was the gnocchi, draped with browned butter and sage. The gnocchi was plentiful on the plate, filling and not too dense. The brown butter was fired just right and had a nutty smell and taste.
The main course I ordered was the fish plate featuring skate. This was a great dish. The skate was pan seared and dressed with a Moroccanesque seasoning. It was sliced thin and cooked to perfection. The dish was paired with a refreshing salad with a lemon vinaigrette, and a cast iron pot filled with truffle potato gratin. The gratin's combinations of cream and cheeses was excellent. It was a well-balanced meal, to boot.
Hoof and Fin met all my cravings that night, and sincerely proved to be worth another visit.

3 out of 4 cravings.



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