Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Premiere Event: Conviction

It's been but a couple of months since the idea for The Restaurant Club came to me. I feel as though it will continue to morph and evolve; I'm happy about the direction we're headed in. And, on September 10th, our first event unfolded.

First, I want to thank all 19 members who were able to make it. It filled me with joy to have such an incredible group of people gather for the first of what I hope to be many events.  Second, I want to thank the team at Conviction.  I changed our numbers several times, requested Biana and Marc address the group (they graciously did), and made special requests that were met with not a tinge of resistance.

So, how was it?  In one word: amazing.  True, there were shortcomings.  The service was slow (the restaurant was not packed), however they had launched their new menu that day.  Servers were friendly but at times lacked attentiveness and knowledge - I suspect a result of both newness (the restaurant had only recently re-opened after being closed for the month of August), and a product of the restaurant's concept.  The staff are, after all (and as one waitor described) 'misfits'.

I would have to say the stars of what our group ordered were the braised beef short ribs, fois gras & sweetbreads, acorn squash potage (soup) with fois gras confit & coconut foam, and the crab & lobster topped with a poached egg and 'no beluga' caviar - which was israeli couscous with squid ink.  Many also thoroughly enjoyed the beef tenderloin.  One of my favourite quotes was about the charcuterie plate: "a delight of slices" - how fun!  On the less favourable side, the arctic char was underseasoned, and one member wrote that the bone marrow was 'bland'.

My only criticism of the restaurant is that, despite having re-launched under a series of names (Thuet, Bite Me, Conviction), the decor remains largely unchanged.  I would have expected that, given the latest concept, there would be a more dramatic shift in the overall vibe of the room.  In my opinion, it's a missed opportunity.

All-in-all, the evening was a great success.  I felt good about the restaurant selection, and for the most part was happy with how the evening played out for the members.  I'm already giving thought to our next event coming up in November.  Well, once I make myself some coffee and breakfast ... maybe just after that ;)

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