So, in the Cafe Gray post I mentioned that we had eaten at three different places on that particular day. I had originally intended to write about all three of them at that time but the description of Cafe Gray got a bit long and I decided to separate the lunch and dinner experiences. Besides, my writing had hit a wall. That wall was Urena.
Let me give you a bit of background on our evening. We had met up with a fellow Chef who we had corresponded with but never met. This was a new and very positive experience for us. The plan was to have dinner at Urena and dessert at Room 4 Dessert. Both restaurants were in their infancy, open for less than a month and generating lots of buzz. Basically, visiting the two places on the same evening was like viewing the opposite ends of a spectrum. The places and experiences could not have been more different.
I have to believe that we just hit Urena on a bad night. Frankly there isn't any way to describe our evening without making it sound like a farce. It was comedy of errors from beginning to end and the whole experience made me kind of sad. I'm not going to write a blow by blow account of what happened to us that particular evening, I'm just going to say that every aspect of our visit was disappointing from the decor to the service to the food. I could have forgiven the first two if the food had been fabulous but it wasn't even close. You may be able to chalk it up to growing pains but we will not be going back to find out.
Thankfully Room 4 Dessert was a totally different experience. The room is extremely long and narrow, evoking the feel of a new age soda fountain. Instead of egg creams and milkshakes there are funky and delicious cocktails, dessert wines and teas Instead of ice cream sundaes there are beautiful and thought provoking dessert presentations. The staff is extremely warm and friendly and there is a small library of cookbooks in the back. Guests can choose a book and peruse the artistry of other chefs while slowly savoring one of Will's creations. He and his wife are on hand at the bar to answer your questions and make you feel welcome. The place isn't fancy or exotic but it has a great vibe and a positive atmosphere. Although not everything on the menu was to our personal tastes, some of the standouts that we both agreed upon included a coconut pudding with a silky texture that was offset by freeze dried coconut powder, the apple sorbet and the cocoa pate bomb which managed to be ethereal and structured at the same time. (As we were eating Alex mentioned that he would have enjoyed some salt to pique the various elements in the dishes. Will was happy to offer an array of salts of which smoked was choosen to highlight various flavors from the coconut pudding to the caramel ice cream.)
Oh, and the cocktails are smashing. Alex had the mango planters punch while I sipped a concoction of gin, lychee and rosewater. I hesitated to order it because rosewater is an ingredient which can be heavy and overpowering, but I was rewarded but a drink that was delicate, frothy and refreshing.