The Oval Room

I had a wonderful lunch at The Oval Room with my girlfriend Maeve on 8-16-2017. It was Restaurant Week, which can sometimes be dicey in terms of selection and quality. This meal, however, was top notch.

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This is the view to the left of the entrance immediately after you walk in.

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This is the dining room you reach after walking through the bar.

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And this is the dining room to the right of the entrance. I liked the elegant, crisp, modern decor, which wasn’t stuffy at all.

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Restaurant Week can definitely be hit or miss. It’s a prix-fixe that’s $22 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Some places include a very limited selection and the rest of the menu is prominently still available. You almost feel guilty not ordering off of the regular menu. Here on the other hand the only thing offered was Restaurant Week including five starters, seven entrees, and three desserts. That’s pretty darn good.

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And food was delicious!

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Burrata di Puglia (shaved artichokes, fresh herbs, baby cucumber, Meyer lemon vinaigrette).  This was fantastic. The cucumber salad below was amazing! In addition to the listed ingredients it tasted like there was pickled fennel involved as well. It was the perfect blend of acid and salt that surprisingly didn’t overwhelm the delicate flavors of the burrata.

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Local tomato and watermelon salad (marinated feta cheese, baby watercress, lemon basil, spiced pecans). This salad fell a little flat, at least in comparison to the outstanding burrata. The tomato seemed a little overripe, while the salad was pretty salty and not that acidic to balance it out. The spiced pecans were good though.

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Chorizo stuffed grilled calamari (papas bravas, piquillo peppers, charred onions, salsa verde, pea shoots). I had to try this just because I wasn’t really sure what it would taste like. I’m so glad I did! The squid was perfectly cooked while the chorizo was savory, spicy, and delicious. It was an interesting contrast to have seafood stuffed with meat like that but it worked really well.  The red peppers were delicious, the little fried squid were great, and the frisee was perfectly dressed.

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Black pepper cavatelli (chanterelle mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, lump crab, smoked ricotta cheese). This was great too. The main flavors were cheese, garlic, and lemon. It’s funny, I’m seeing cavatelli on so many menus lately but all done totally differently. I’ll need to try more to compare but this one was definitely yummy.

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Buttermilk panna cotta (bourbon peaches, long pepper crumble). Geez oh man was this good. The tanginess of the peaches plus the richness of the panna cotta was such a great combo. I really loved this.

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Frozen Meyer lemon souffle (toasted pistacho granola, local blueberry jam). This was also good but not quite the show stopper the panna cotta was. The granola was kind of distracting: the chunks were big, not that crunchy, and really salty. However the blueberry jam was like a compote, which I adore. The souffle itself was like a lemon semifreddo in texture and like chess pie in flavor.

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Then guess who we ran into having lunch? Ashkok Bajaj, founder of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (of which The Oval Room is a part)! I just saw him win the 2017 Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award at the RAMMYs so this was very exciting!

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Overall this was a really nice meal and I would love to come back again. The food was wonderful and I loved the elegant, serene atmosphere.

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