Dinner Debriefing: Enigma

We were excited to try this restaurant – the menu is right up our alley. But the actual food wasn’t what we’d hoped. The room is attractive and the service was very good. We had forgotten that we’d be changing to mountain time half way across South Dakota, so we showed up an hour early. No problem.

No points for the bread basket – just some slices of French bread from a baguette. Okay, half points for providing both garlic butter and oil & balsamic vinegar. Also, our pepper shaker was empty. Caroline had a salad to start, poached pears and blue cheese on mixed greens with a walnut vinaigrette. She said it had hardly any blue cheese and was ‘overdressed’, so that she wished she had asked for the vinaigrette to be on the side. I started with the smoked salmon crepes. I had imagined the smoked salmon as thin sheets of gravlax, but it was a more natural style, like a salmon salad. I had also imagined that the crepes would be served hot. I could even have appreciated cold, but they were neither. They were mostly room temperature, except one that was sort of cool. Had they been warmed up from the fridge? For entrees, Caroline chose the Coquilles St. Jacques. They were terrific. Perfectly cooked, big and tender and tasty. Interesting bed of Brussel sprout leaves and the potatoes tasted good. They forgot the beurre blanc and the waiter brought it after she started. I went with the Filet Enigma, a tenderloin with demi-glace, boursin cheese, potatoes Dauphine and grilled asparagus. Although the steak was a perfect rare, it was bland and the demi-glace didn’t really liven it up much. The boursin cheese was missing completely. When I asked, the waiter said the cook assured him it was in the demi-glace. I don’t buy this. Several items on the menu included the same ‘Enigma Demi-glace’, but only the Filet mentioned boursin. Eventually the waiter just brought me a side of it, which I smeared on my steak. Our impression was that the chef who wrote the menu was not the one cooking our dinner. My asparagus appeared to be steamed, not grilled, and it was overdone to the point of softness. Never had potatoes Dauphine before, and they were good, but not what I expected. I didn’t realize they would be deep-fried. I looked them up on Wikipedia, and the restaurant had them just right.

Our waiter tried hard to overcome the handicaps the kitchen was giving him, and even fetched me a menu when I wanted to query the missing cheese. He took a glass of wine off the bill, too. I hope this restaurant can succeed in offering an exciting menu in a small tourist town, but I’m glad I didn’t risk ordering the Elk tenderloin for $44! I won’t be giving Enigma a second chance.

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