I have to admit right off the bat that I am not that adventurous when it comes to food. I like to try new recipes, but I still manage to stay within my comfort zone. When Brian and I got the chance to dine at Citrus, I knew it was time to step out of the box and try some new things. We looked at the menu and I realized that wouldn’t be difficult to do – it was filled with a variety of options, most of which I do not eat on a regular basis.
We each had their four-course dinner, which is a LOT of food, but it provided us with the opportunity to try the widest array of their menu items. Our waiter, Michael, was attentive and described options for us so well that you’d think he had cooked them himself. He provided some suggestions for us that helped us make our choices, and was so on top of things that I don’t think my water glass ever got less than half full. Even the water was pretty, served from a glass bottle to reduce use of disposable bottles.
Here’s what we decided on for our four courses:
Me – Crab cake, toasted pumpkin seed, avocado, mesclan salad
Brian – Pioncillo dusted Texas quail, corn pudding, pepita-ancho mole
Me – Braised artichoke-heirloom tomato risotto, local basil
Brian – Peppered chop of sika venison, Oak Hill Farms black eyed pea “Texas caviar”
Me – Natural filet of beef with Merlot reduction sauce, bacon-sweet onion potato cake, white wine butter
Brian – Pan-seared Texas snapper, warm heirloom potato salad, baby orange tomato butter
Me – Rich chocolate gateau, chocolate gelato
Brian – Cinnamon apple tarte tatin, panna cotta gelato
Are you full just reading the menu? We were also given an amuse bouche of a baked, breaded oyster with mushroom sauce. Needless to say, we weren’t hungry for quite a while afterward. I felt like we were on an episode of Top Chef, honestly!
After we ordered our meals, we had a while to sit and talk, and we snapped some photos with Brian’s iPhone. The ambiance of the restaurant is intimate and elegant with a modern edge to it.
The meal was really well-paced; we were there for about two hours! It was a luxury we don’t often get to experience, since usually we’re eating with two little boys who demand a lot of attention and require us to shovel food in our mouths quickly so we can attend to them. That night, though, we got to enjoy a quiet restaurant, an actual conversation, and some truly unique and gourmet food.
Like I mentioned, I had the crab cake for my first course. Those of you that know me, or have even read my blog occasionally, probably know that I do not eat seafood. Well, this I can eat – and enjoy. The greens had a slight bitterness to them that countered the sweetness of the crab really well, and the sliced avocado added a creaminess to each bite. This photo doesn’t do the size justice, either – it was HUGE. Our waiter mentioned that it’s actually been featured on the Food Network, and that it’s one of the chef’s best-known dishes.
Brian had the quail, and he thought it was nice and tender; he said the flavors all blended together really well. I tried a bite, having never tried quail before, and was really surprised at how much I liked it.
I absolutely loved my second course, the risotto (I think I was a little too enthusiastic to eat it – I forgot to take a photo!). The texture was creamy with a slightly al dente bite to it, and the flavor of the tomatoes was rich and slightly sweet. Brian’s venison was perfectly cooked, and the black eyed pea “Texas caviar” had a nice floral note to it, although Brian did say the herbs were slightly too strong for his liking.
On the third course, I felt like the items on my plate were perfectly paired. The filet was tender and the Merlot reduction sauce provided a nice sweetness to the meat (and, well, everything on the plate – I loved the sauce). The potatoes had a smoky flavor to them, and there was also a squash and zucchini mixture that balanced the heavier flavors of the meat and potatoes really well.
Brian’s snapper was a huge portion. He said it had a good, steak-like texture to it, although he did wish there were more of a citrus element to the dish. He liked the potatoes, but said the tomatoes were what he really liked paired with the fish the best.
On to dessert (admittedly my favorite course of any meal!) – my chocolate gateau, a flourless cake, had a dark chocolate flavor to it that was mellowed out well by the gelato. It felt elegant and not too heavy after such a big meal – but it still provided the richness I want when I’m having chocolate.
Brian’s apple tarte tatin was also a nice, light option for the end of the meal. The apples were thinly sliced and the crust added a good texture to the dish. He said it felt like a comfort dish, but with gourmet touches to it.
Our photos don’t do justice to the plating (all of the photos in this post were taken with Brian’s iPhone so we wouldn’t distract other diners), but that was something we really appreciated about each course presented to us. Chef Balfour obviously takes pride in both the way his food tastes and looks, which really makes the meal a treat to eat. This, in every way, was a special meal – the atmosphere, service, and food all combined to give us an evening to remember.
Note: Citrus provided us with a meal for review, but we were not compensated monetarily; honest opinions were provided.