Wednesday, May 24, 2006

There is no neither here nor there here

It is puzzling why some restaurants serving so-so food in the most snobbish manner are packed on a Monday night, while lovely establishments offering truly blissful creations in the most cozy settings remain “hidden gems” for ages. Perhaps I am too old fashioned to understand the intricacies surrounding a place that exemplifies the “see and be seen” concept obsessed over by all the restaurateurs. When I step out to dine, all I am looking for is an over-the-top one-night stand with what’s on my plate and in my glass. For entertainment, I don’t usually have to look beyond my table where a “monkey” and/or “rat” is often animatedly retelling something more exciting than a page out of Arabian nights. On really special occasions, a “weasel” joins the circus and we could close down the house.

A true gem of a place is likely stumbled upon rather than sought out. Perhaps it’s because the threshold to dazzle is lowered significantly when one is not anxiously anticipating greatness. Even conscious of that fact, it was hard to discount the wow effect I experienced at Eurasia Bistro last weekend, when the first absent-minded bite of my bass is met by a custardy tenderness that seemed to disappear on my tongue. A closer examination in the candle light revealed a glistening chubby filet with the translucency of mother of pearl. Little bite-size escarole lightly sautéed in butter and a bit of sweet soy perfectly punctuated the richness of the fish.

Who knew a place that I had dismissed time and again for its unfortunate name, which generally signaled a cuisine that is neither here nor there, is capable of delivering a punch that almost knocked my socks off. Sure, it’s still not at the top echelon of culinary institutions, but for a neighborhood place that is never packed, Eurasia is like an understated yet elegant pearl necklace that will make a regular night out a special one.

No comments: