So, we had a Living Social deal for the Eiffel Society which expires tomorrow, so we decided to hit it for an early dinner on Wednesday night. I'd heard it was sort of a trendy clubby thing, which is SO not our scene, so I figured early dinner during the week was the way to go.
In the miserable pouring cold rain of the night, I was pretty happy about the complementary valet parking they offer. Sadly because of the awfulness of the weather, we did not ascend the crazy grand bridge-like entrance, but were instead escorted with umbrella by our valet to right underneath the entrance bridge, and we were able to walk to the lower entrance protected from the rain. There's an elevator there and when the doors opened, I caught a glimpse of flickering lights and had a millisecond of panic before I looked at the lights and realized that the flickering lights were actually ART. Many old fashioned lightbulbs flickering in a random pattern. It was weird, but I kind of loved it.
(My phone was misbehaving so I didn't get pictures of all the weirdness- so sad!)
The elevator doors open right in front of the maitre'd which was a little unnerving, but he introduced himself and showed us to our table. It was still early- only a couple other tables were occupied, one by an older couple that made me feel a little bit like I was early-birding it.
Our server showed up, a very pleasant fellow (who later got totally swamped due to soeone calling out sick, but still was pretty on the ball despite all of that) and we gave him our cocktail orders. I had the Laugh Track, which was Mount Gay white rum, a lime-tarragon liquor, topped off with brut champagne. My first sip was a bit overwhelming- so much going on with the punch of the carbonation, the acidity of the lime and the herbal spiciness of the tarragon. But I adjusted quickly (what I do for hooch, I tell ya) and enjoyed the crazy cocktail quite a lot. Maybe too much? It went quick.
Tom had the Gin & Juice, which was Brokers London Dry Gin, pineapple ice, and "The Juice" which was billed as a "Super Secret Fresh Mix." Man, Tom LOVED it. It definitely was an homage to the Tiki cocktail, and the pineapple ice (a giant disc of frozen pineapple juice) kept him happy for pretty much the entire meal. After we put in our orders, I finished my first cocktail and finally was able to flag down our server to get my hands on a Dixie Down, made with McAfee's Benchmark Bourbon, Creole-spiced Acadian Honey, and lemon juice on the rocks. Ooh, that's a tasty cocktail. All bourboney and spicy and sweet and sour.
Food- overall impression was good, but could use more seasoning on 3 of the 5 dishes we had. I take this opportunity to refer you to an excellent rant on one of my biggest restaurant pet peeves by Peter of Blackened Out: more and more restaurants don't put out salt and pepper on the table! You have to ask for it like some sort of cretinous rube or something.
So, the beet salad, the empanadas, and the plantain tostones with smoked pork pickled onions and queso fresco were impeccably prepared, but fell flat due to underseasoning. Such potential! Ah well.
The standouts were Tom's Winter Greens Salad, which had kale, chard, choi, mustard greens with a Steen's vinegarette and pumpkin seeds. Excellent flavors and deceptively simple preparation. Mmm, beta-carotine. The other well seasoned (and also simply yet well prepared) dish was my hangar steak with herbed butter and frites. Hangar steak is such a great flavorful cut of meat - it was cooked perfectly and the fries were perfect.
In the midst of all this, we discovered that Wednesday nights are Salsa nights at the Eiffel Society. Which seems a little incongruous with the whole hip Dharma Initiative vibe they seem to be going for, but the salsa lessons that started the night off made for excellent if odd dining entertainment. Hey, I don't judge! Well, maybe I judged a little bit.
After dinner, and before the salsa dancing began in earnest (they were still working on teaching turns as we left), we made our way down the crazy lightbulb blinky elevator and out to the valet stand. It was a fun and weird night- I definitely want to go back and try my hand at some salsa dancing!
To read about our post-dinner adventures on just another rainy Wednesday night in New Orleans, go here.