Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Azure by Allegretti

Atlantic City - Revel day 1, we went to Azure by Allegretti. We arrived a little late and caught the 10pm reservation.

Food: As good as AC has to offer
Service: Questionable
Decor: Excellent

I haven't been back to Atlantic City in 3 years because they have no food - not for the amount of cash people were carrying into the casinos anyway. The opening of the new Revel Hotel & Casino has changed that. They are offering 3 fine dining restaurants by well known chefs, and plenty of smaller good places offering great bites (more on that later).

We picked Azure because of the timing, and the American Cut menu looked no where close to the Marc Forgione menu in Manhattan.

Here are the dishes that I tried:

Free Range Chicken with spinach, mashed potatoes, and prosciutto wrapped figs

7/10. Skin was crispy. Maybe it was battered and fried separately? The figs were good and you can't go very wrong with spinach and mashed potatoes, but the meat (especially the white meat) could have been a little more moist and a little more flavorful. There are plenty of better chicken dishes elsewhere, but if you were in a chicken mood, it was satiating.

Branzino with Anchovy sauce (and I think I tasted some fennel in the sauce)

8/10. Branzino usually piss me off. They tend to be too dry, or the skin wouldn't be crispy enough or were so crisp that it cut me. In that sense, the fish was perfect. I kind of ignored the yukon potatoes and the ratatouille-like pile in the back. The sauce went really well with the fish! The only complaint was that there were tiny bones near the top of the fish (as in when the fish is swimming... a.k.a. dorsal) But it also helped hold the branzino together.

Whole Prawns with Basil Garlic Sauce

7/10. There was nothing wrong with these prawns, but there was nothing special about them either. They were great prawns - I really enjoyed the head. The sauce was *really* strong. If you plan on going partying afterwards, you might want to take one of those Listerine strips.

Homemade Spaghetti in Red Sauce

9/10. Nice bouncy el dente pasta - check. Sauce sticks nicely to pasta but not my throat - check. Delicious balance of sweet/tangy/salty from the tomato based sauce - check. What else can you ask for from red pasta?

Veal Ragu with Paccheri

8.5/10. My first thought was... why paccheri? I love my ragu with something more open and flowy... like pappardelle. But the sauce was intense and rich. The beans were a little strange, but the oyster mushrooms added great flavor. The richness and the saltiness of the sauce were offset well by the slightly thicker texture of the paccheri.

Since I want to end on a happy note, I will talk about the service before I talk about the bread and wine.

Maybe Atlantic City is not used to such nice restaurants. We had a clear view of the kitchen, and there were dishes sitting on the counter for a *long time*. That was pretty much the theme for the rest of the night. It took ages for someone to give us water and menus. When the menus arrived, we got 2 different versions, and they had to figure out which one was right. Then we got bread over 30 minutes after we sat down. The only thing that kept us from starving to death was the distracting starving people accidentally spilling water all over each other.

Decor: It looked a little Missoni but with more primary colors. The wavy bold bands of mosaic tile were on everything from vases to the bathroom walls. Gorgeous.

Bread and Wine:

Even the bread and olive oil were great! The bread was some kind of oat and sprouted grain, and the olive oil was nice and full-bodied. Too bad it took about 30 minutes for people to bring it...

We had a nice sparkling rose with the entrees. It was nothing special, but it was pretty

It was so late that we never got to dessert!! But what happened afterwards is for another blog...

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