I had some friends in town from New York last Monday. Having enjoyed a cruise, they were only here for the day and spent the afternoon with me before heading back home. They were seeking an elegant and intimate lunch, and cocktails were in order, of course, to sail them back to the Polar Vortex in good spirits. I suggested The Cypress Room. My last dinner experience was nothing short of breathtaking. Let’s compare with lunch!
Our party of three arrived at 1 pm. Jazz vocals recalling a distant past flowed through the room, an escape from the commotion of the city. The atmosphere inside was quiet, yet warm. It was the perfect meeting place. We all chose the Prix Fixe Menu. $33 for three courses and the option to add a midcourse. It was by far the best lunch I have had in a very long time. Allow me to tell you why.
I started with a specialty cocktail, the Count Basie with: Redemption Rye, Cocchi Americano, R&W apricot, grapefruit, lemon, egg white and pistachio. I felt so regal just drinking it, in a tall glass, with the foam from the egg white brushing against my lips. A complex mixture of spirits, sure, but the Count Basie was a smooth operator, multi-dimensional and opened my palate for what was to come.
I chose the Triggerfish Crudo for my first course, with cherry peppers and blood orange. Or maybe the Crudo chose me? The tender fish was so fresh it practically leapt from the plate with just enough heat and a perfect balance of acidity. It awoke every nerve within me.
I opted for a midcourse, the marrow bones with preserved lemon, celery, garlic toast and topped with parsley. This dish is a classic on the menu since opening and offered both at lunch and dinner. The buttery marrow is best enjoyed spread on garlic toasts and kissed with a squeeze of lemon. I’ll stop at that, but I will not refrain from tasting my friends’ food. I reached over for a bite of gnocchi, prepared with calabaza, wild mushroom and herbs. Bold, yet light enough for lunch thanks to a short ingredient list coming together in harmony on the place.
My second course was the most mesmerizing: the short rib with mushroom conserva and lila onions. I added the thrice cooked fries as a side. The contrast of the rich beef, bathing in flavorful broth, shined with just a touch of the potato. With a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir, I enjoyed the decadence of dinner time without feeling overwhelmed. You’ll just have to trust me on that! Now onto dessert…
I chose another favorite, the brown butter semifreddo with compressed apple and medjool date leather. Its flavors morph as the dish melts from a tableside pour of spiced cider, each bite surpassing the last. With French macarons begging not to be forgone, we bid The Cypress Room adieu, bellies full and hearts light. It’s good to know there’s a reasonably priced lunch prix fixe menu ready to satisfy both the simple- or supplemental-minded at heart.