Restaurant Week: Bibiana

First of all, I am aware that you should never judge a restaurant based purely on your experience during Restaurant Week. Many restaurants remove their best dishes from the menu in order to cut costs and often the restaurants are so crowded during thisweek that their service is sub-par. However, there are many restaurants that still manage to produce a great selection of dishes and handle the crowds, so that should be noted too.

Unfortunately, in terms of quality of food, Bibiana is not a place I would recommend during Restaurant Week. The service was impeccable though, and the overall ambiance of the dining area was intimate and modern(but could be interpreted as stuffy by some).

The menu featured two $30 bottles of wine- we opted for the red Verona Merlot & Raboso Veneto ’09. In terms of “deals”, many my age would argue this was not the greatest of one (especially if you’re picking up the whole tab- thanks babe!).

For starters, I selected the stuffed calamari with smoked potatoes, and a black squid ink vinaigrette. It was phenomenal and probably my favorite part of the whole meal.

Plancha Seared Calamari Stuffed with Smoked Potatoes, Spicy Salami, and citrus, Squid Ink Vinaigrette

My boyfriend went with the beet salad with blackberries and saba (syrup made from grape must). He was pretty disappointed and didn’t think the textures melded together (lots of squishy with crunchy and seeds).

We were both pleased with our main courses, but not necessarily “wow’ed”. For a restaurant that has made the Top 100 List two years in a row and received multiple acclaims, we just didn’t really see that reputation consistently throughout the meal. I had the smoked potato gnocchi with basil and cherry tomatoes- the smoky flavor was potent, and I loved the simplicity of the tomatoes and the basil pairing. The gnocchi were HUGE also (biggest I’ve ever seen) and I didn’t even finish the meal (odd for me).

Smoked Potato gnocchi, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil

My boyfriend chose the carnaroli risotto with pesto Genovese and green bean and potato salad and liked his dish also, though again, not exactly something he’s going to remember for years. For dessert we both had the recommended semifreddo- which featured a peach semifreddo tart, whipped Cream and peach compote. Again, textures were a problem here- we could barely get our spoons through the dessert and the peaches weren’t ripe so they had this odd crunch.

This restaurant has come highly recommended to me by others so I was surprised that my experience here, while not necessarily unpleasant, was less than amazing. I suppose that’s what happens when you have high expectations, and again, I will never fully judge a restaurant during Restaurant Week. I will definitely give another try before giving final recommendations, and hopefully be able to give a more positive write-up!