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Sunday April 20, 2014
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Vellum

 

continued

Among the larger plates, the agnolotti, tender dumplings filled with sweet potato and chestnuts and garnished with dried plums, amaretti crumbs, and savory fried sage leaves, proved another successful combination. Fisherman's stew paired crispy sauteed fish fillets with an intensely perfumed shrimp broth. A slight smear of aioli smudged the bowl's rim; I wished for a solid dollop of the garlicky mayonnaise. Garnishes of irresistible fried brussels sprout leaves and satiny, pressed eggplant highlighted the plate of slow-cooked lamb shoulder. Four tiny, charming bottles of assorted barbecue sauces, each striking a fine balance of sweet, sour, and spicy, were possibly the best I've ever tasted; they stole the show from the accompanying shingles of tender smoked brisket. Another meager smear of creamed corn alongside the meat barely satisfied our desire for the vegetable.

Unctuous pork belly was, by far, the best part of a plate composed of mixed cuts--the shoulder too mushy, the tenderloin average. Rich, buttery, almost mousse-like, the smooth potatoes accompanying the pork and a perfectly cooked rib eye were simply fabulous. On another entree, the onion broth on the pan-fried walleye tasted as if it had been wrung from a boiled onion. Salmon with chorizo sauce sounded inspired, but while the fish, cooked sous-vide, proved delightful, the drizzle of sauce was puzzling--I missed the sausage's garlicky, paprika-y, meaty flavor, and crispy crumble.

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