Friday, January 29, 2010

Amy's Birthday: Saturday Night in NYC

We had planned on Italian food for dinner. I had the names and addresses of four places within three blocks of our hotel. But, as we walked back from sightseeing, another place caught our gaze: Saju Bistro. I'm not generally one for French cuisine, but the specials looked good, the aromas wafting out were delightful, and there was a pre-theatre menu that was reasonable. So, after we changed and grabbed the ticket information, it was down for dinner.It was fairly crowded, and we were asked if we made a reservation. We had not, but were still seated right away (there were several tables for two that weren't filled the entire time we were there, so I imagine they hold those for walk-ins during pre-theatre rush). The attentiveness of the staff was wonderful, from water refilling to taking plates away to the pacing of our dishes. While one of the specials (grilled scallops) sounded delicious to both of us, we each chose the prix fixe.

Jonathan had a glass of wine (Argentinian Malbec), while I stuck with water. For starters, I had the mixed greens salad, Jonathan had Brandade de Morue (a baked dish of codfish and potato, served with toasted slices of baguettte). The salad was as stated, with a strange dressing. It was certainly dijon-based, but it may have been lemony as well, I couldn't quite place it. Jonathan's baked cod was wonderful. It was quite hot and blended with the potato and garlic beautifully. It was delicious, although I didn't try it paired with the baguette as Jonathan did.

I chose the Saumon Provencal as my main course, which was an excellent selection. It was prepared medium with tarragon, and served with asparagus and tiny diced (and fried) potatoes. The grilled flavor on the asparagus was very good, and the potatoes were very flavorful, albeit a bit greasy. The salmon was served with half of a lemon, which added a light flavor to it... delicious. Jonathan went with Onglet a l'echalotte, aka hanger black angus steak. It came with potato puree (ridiculously fine, took out the flavor), a stewed tomato, and a nice shallots sauce. I wish I could replicate the sauce, as I enjoy shallots. The steak itself was enjoyable, although a bit different. He made room for all of it, which I was impressed with.

Next was coffee and dessert. There were quite a few choices (more dessert options than appetizer options, LoL), I easily chose the chocolate mousse, while Jonathan thought for a moment before settling on creme caramel, a flan-ish dish. The mousse was plentiful and incredibly rich. Very good, and the homemade whipped cream topping it was delectable. I wasn't a fan of Jonathan's sweet, but he enjoyed it very much, particularly the sauce. The coffee was very hot, but with cream even I had some. The biscotti cookies were the best I'd ever had, but that's because they were closer to lady fingers, hehe. We'd both highly recommend the place, but be sure to go between 5 and 7 so you get the pre-theatre menu and discount!

After dinner, we headed over to the Booth to see Next to Normal. Now, I've done a few theatre reviews in the past (one even appeared in an FSU publication), and what I'm about to say is no comparison, so please don't think of it as a true critique. We both liked the show, although we agreed it was depressing and kinda pointless. I liked the music much more than Jonathan did, but we had the same favorite number, "I'm Alive." Of course I didn't film this, it's from the official website. I'd love to recommend the entire soundtrack, actually. As many others would as well, since the show did win the Tony for Best Original Score in 2009.

I don't want to give away any spoilers (there are quite a few, really), but I will say that I enjoyed all of the performances. I was a little sad that I didn't really enjoy Alice Ripley's voice in person as much as I do on the soundtrack... which is strange since she won a Tony for this very role last year. We did meet her though (and most of the main actors - we have their autographs on our playbills!), and she's a joy. I was very impressed with the set and the lighting, and the more I think back, the more genius I thought went into the design. It was three levels, which really allowed those in the balcony to have a great view, much better than some other shows. Which is handy, since I decided to buy the cheapest seats available for this production (this was after much deliberation, but we now have a list of shows to see and a budget to follow, so I'm saving the big bucks for when we see Wicked, for instance). The only negative thing I have to say about the Booth is that the very last row (H) is extremely warm. The radiators are just behind the seats, so we were boiling by intermission.

After the show we went around to the side of the building to wait and greet the actors. It was very special to thank them for a wonderful performance. I'm not really sure how common of a practice this is (although it also happens with Memphis since we saw the crowds down the alley, haha), but I'd recommend the chance to shake hands, hug, talk to, and get autographs (and sometimes photos!) with the performers. It would have been neat to have this opportunity with the pit as well (there is definitely some great work done by the musicians and conductor in this show). Anyway, it was a great Broadway experience, and I'd recommend the show to theatre folk and others well-versed in "new musicals," but perhaps not the general public, as it isn't Rodgers and Hammerstein.

No comments:

Post a Comment