The guest judge today is Jefferson Hill at the Rotunda Restaurant in Neiman Marcus. Oh, dear. When this show had originally aired, I had never eaten at the Rotunda. I have now. Instead of a breadbasket, you start your luncheon out with a popover, strawberry butter, and a demitasse cup of clear chicken broth. Although the strawberry butter was decidedly rancid, I can get behind the idea of it. I also adore popovers (though I did make a horrible crumby mess all over the tablecloth), but the chicken broth thing was just odd and most of us didn't even drink the stuff. I tasted it and it was very, well, chicken-y. I don't know how else to describe it but it was off-putting. I joked with my companions that it's probably the only thing the "ladies who lunch" surrounding us choked down over the course of their busy day of shopping. My papardelle pasta dish with shrimp, peas, and prosciutto di coto was atrocious. The pasta was mushy, the peas weren't fresh, the shrimp was rubbery, and the prosciutto di coto (ham, really, and also spelled wrong, I believe) was in ragged shreds, and there was way too much sauce. It made unattractive pools everywhere. Although all food writers, my companions agreed that going to the Rotunda was more for the atmosphere and the view of Union Square than for the food. However, the one dish on their lunch menu that is totally worthwhile is the Lobster Club. It's stacked up with thick smoked bacon, lobster, roasted red peppers, and shallot aioli on toasted brioche. Yes, the lobster is from Maine, so it's not local, but the damn thing also has avocado on it! And bacon, did I mention the BACON?! You can't miss when you're going for the pleasure center jugular like that. And at twenty-five dollars, the Rotunda is also going for your wallet's jugular. So, anyway, Lobster Club aside, I'm not impressed with the Rotunda's food, but lead on, Chefferson.
Episode Report CardKeckler: A | 980 USERS: C+
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