Reality Check

Better be good

I had mixed feelings about my duck two ways: a classic duck confit atop sautéed spinach, and duck breast medallions in a port wine sauce, accompanied by turnips au gratin. The turnip slices were creamy and magnificent, and the confit and spinach, at least adequate. But the duck breast lacked flavor, a real letdown for one who loves that fowl as I do.

Dessert? Another bummer. I ordered profiteroles thinking of these ice-cream-stuffed ones that I had at Chat Noir, a plush French bistro in Costa Mesa, California. At Christopher's you receive only three, and they're more like little ice-cream sandwiches, with stale choux pastry cut in half.

Tower of power? Chef Christopher Gross' chocolate mousse tower is easy on the eyes, but less impressive to the palate.
Jackie Mercandetti
Tower of power? Chef Christopher Gross' chocolate mousse tower is easy on the eyes, but less impressive to the palate.

Details

Steamed mussels: $11.95
Frisée salad: $8.95
Duck two ways: $24.95
Osso buco: $24.95

602-522-2344. Hours: daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

2584 East Camelback Road (Biltmore Fashion Park), Phoenix

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Later, I took a stab at Gross' much-ballyhooed chocolate mousse tower, a hard, cylindrical shell of white and dark chocolate in which is chocolate mousse, with some strawberries on top and illy espresso sauce to pour over it all. After cracking this sucker open and noshing away, I was completely under-whelmed by its ordinariness. I can only conclude that some grant it a passing grade for its looks, but I'm not so inclined. C'mon, Chris, is this all you've got, baby? If so, the reality check is long overdue.

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