And I am not saying I only believe in big portions over amazing taste. I love the lunch at Jean-Georges in NYC, and sure, it is $30 for lunch but it is completely amazing and memorable. You only need tiny bites of fois gras on brioche with sour cherry preserves because you will remember that bite for a very, very long time. If your food is legitimately outstanding, that makes it all worth it. But fancy bar snacks, with a lot of the emphasis based on presentation and unexpected styling (why is the Bahn-mi deconstructed?), just doesn't seem like my favorite thing.
You never know how much to order. We went to a similar place, Quinn's, in Seattle a couple years ago, and our approach with 4 people was to just keep ordering things until we felt full. This sort of hurt my impression of the CCG, because it immediately made me feel like we could be in a place in Portland or Seattle without it actually tasting as good. If your model is "a stylish, unusual bite of that, stylish, unusual bite of that" it better be really, really good.
That all being said, I had a Delirium Tremens which I hadn't had in years and it was great. Everyone had some great beers, including a Brown's oatmeal stout for our out of town friend. Here was the food breakdown:
- Fried brussel sprouts- very, very good. They had a light and flaky texture and everyone loved them.
- Duck gravy poutine - the gravy was very flavorful and the fries held up their crunchiness. The cheesecurd was good too. I read someone else who said it wasn't cheesecurd, but ours was, so maybe they are working things out.
- I had the fish tacos. I know another reviewer liked them, but I actually found them bland (which is hard to do with something that contains avocado and something fried). I don't know, I put some hot sauce on them, but something was really missing - maybe add some lime, a smoky flavor, habeneros, vinegar - something. Could have done without.
- Our friend had the boudin blanc which was fabulous.
- My husband had the short ribs and thought they were fine, but overpriced for only a couple of bites.
- Our friend had Bahn-mi. She seemed to like it ok, but was expecting a sandwich.
- Two of us had butterscotch eclairs - fabulous. Reminded me of Sander's cream puffs in MI where I grew up, they were that good.
- Two of us had this parfait thing with black forest and liquid cheesecake. Those were good, but something about "liquid cheesecake" annoyed me a little bit. Just like the Bahn-mi not being a sandwich for no reason. Like my little sister who once wanted to make a "reverse root beer float" with vanilla seltzer and ice cream made with root beer extract. Sure maybe that is fine, but why? I feel this might all play into a larger conversation about liking foods because they have some stronghold in your memory. This is a topic for a separate post, but at Thanksgiving we had a long conversation about how food you are nostalgic for is not always food you actually still want to eat. And I wondered if that was why I wasn't that wild about this place - like it is a collection of things that wouldn't mean anything to most people. But then after this conversation at Thanksgiving, I thought, no - it is more like that pretension without being really outstanding feels slightly irritating.