Way back at the beginning of September on the Friday before Labor Day, Daisy and I met for a final summer lunch. It was her last day of having Fridays off for the summer and my last day of having half-day Fridays, so we knew we'd have to pick a momentous place. Since neither of us had been yet, we decided on Jason Santos' Blue Inc. Santos is easily recognized by his blue hair. You may have even seen him on Hell's Kitchen. At Blue Inc. he combines Asian, French, and American influences, as well as surprises diners with whimsical touches like liquid nitrogen.
We started our lunch with cocktails. I went with the "Anorexic Model," not because of the name but because of the ingredients: Pierre Ferrand cognac, lychee bubbles, St-Germain, twiggy & berries. The drink was refreshing, and I loved the use of champagne grapes as "berries."
Confronted with so many choices, we thought the best way to tackle the menu would be to order a few things to share. First up, lobster tacos. The thick, crisp taco shells came filled with mayonnaise-dressed lobster chunks, bits of mango, red onion, cilantro, and lime. We both enjoyed the mango and wished there was more of it. The lobster would have been better without the mayo, but I still liked the tacos overall.
The black truffle and gouda tater tots (hiding on the "sides" menu) called out to both of us immediately. Unfortunately, they sound better than they actually are. A small chunk of gouda was embedded in each tot, and I wondered why the gouda wasn't stirred into the potatoes and dispersed throughout the tots. Other than that, the tots were crisp and salty, and as you can see, there were generous shavings of black truffle on top.
Sticking with the black truffle theme, we ordered the Hell's Kitchen wedge, which came with red grapes, candied walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and black truffle vinaigrette. The salad was a bit weak, as was the black truffle vinaigrette. I think this salad could have been really great had it started with a better chunk of iceberg lettuce, had a few more ingredients, and had a more flavorful dressing. Maybe we should have tried the old school wedge instead.
We were intrigued by the half dozen mini Kobe corn dogs and decided to give them a try. For some reason, I thought the dog part of the corn dog would be mini as well, but we bit into the onion-and-cheese-batter to find chunks of full-size hot dogs. I would have liked a little thicker batter and a little less dog, but these were still interesting. Also, they are grease bombs, and six of them for two people is way too many. I'd suggest ordering them with a bigger a group. The dogs came with a trio of dipping sauces including a homemade ketchup, honey mustard, and a spicy sauce.
Up until this point, I hadn't had any dishes that really wowed me. They were good, they had interesting concepts, but I could see areas where all of them could improve.
Rather than end on a blah note, we split a root beer and toasted marshmallow milkshake. They actually split the milkshake into two glasses for us, and both of our glasses arrived with liquid nitrogen pouring out (and when our waitress saw that we wanted to take pictures, she added a little more for us). The milkshake was frozen--so much so that I could pick the glass up by the straws. It was kind of cool. We had to use the straws to kind of break into the milkshake to find the less frozen parts below. The flavor was really good, and I'm glad we ended our lunch with this sweet treat.
And with the bill came another sweet treat: a lollipop for each of us to take home.
All in all, I had a nice visit with Daisy, great service, and some interesting dishes.
Have you been to Blue Inc.? What did you think?