By "fall," of course, we mean "autumn," not "loss of quality."
We won't say "you heard it here first," but ... aw hell: You heard it here first! Get your jollies on graham elliot's current menu while you can, because the world is about to meet graham elliot 2.0: a re-lighted, re-accessorized dining space, a new soundtrack, and most importantly, a whole new menu, to be unveiled on September 15.
We're the first to admit that almost everything sounds delicious in print, but in the course of our job we read a lot of menus. And trust us when we say that the new menu is beautiful.
There are a few holdovers from the old lineup: repeating their summer performances are the signature caesar salad (remember the brioche twinkie?), the deconstructed buffalo chicken, the skate and polenta, and the molten carrot cake. But virtually everything else is new: An appetizer flight of oysters (smoked, pickled, fried, and raw); pumpernickel-crusted sturgeon with a tres mitteleuropa accompaniment of braised cabbage, spiced quince, turnip confit, and sauerkraut sauce; green apple fritters with warm icing and a cider reduction ... it's enough to make us crave autumn.
Of course, Chef Bowles hasn't entirely abandoned the flourishes of whimsy that, for better or for worse, make his plates stand out: foie gras is decked with rice krisipies, venison osso bucco is paired with Guinness oatmeal, and a main course called — intriguingly — "tuna ménage à trois" comes with, among other things, "lime bubbles."
Our interest is particularly drawn to the "deconstructed snickers bar" that's going to show up on the dessert menu — it's one of Thomas Keller's (Per Se, The French Laundry) signature dishes, and we're excited to see how Chef Bowles puts his spin on it.
We wonder if such an entire overhaul merits a critical re-visit. But with a menu this tantalizing, we wouldn't be surprised if Vettel, Shouse, et al reserve autumn tables on their own dimes.
[Photo: Skate and polenta, still on the menu, via stevez at LTHForum]