randy2300 on Citysearch
12 years ago
06/14/2009, 02:25 AM
Better than Herbfarm @ 1/2 the price – As has been noted, the Corson is similar to the Herbfarm in many respects -- the onsite garden, the preset menu, the communal dining. The biggest difference for me is that the food at Corson is much better -- absolutely every single dish was jaw-droppingly good -- and you get far more food (I find the Herbfarm's portion size beyond absurd).
The Herbfarm is a wonderful experience and the room is spectacular. Corson is far more intimate and cozy and as one other reviewer noted, it's truly like a dinner party. And just like any dinner party, who you're seated next to makes a big difference. We had a couple across from us who ignored everyone at the table the entire night. Fortunately, another couple sitting next to us was only to eager to participate in the experience fully.
And I would like to take this opportunity to rebut CWilson's experience of the wine. Things may have changed since his/her visit, but the night we were there, while the wine pours were, in fact, about 1 oz, the second your glass was empty, there were filling it back up. I had to turn away the sommelier on several occasions. So the pours are small, but there are also unlimited (within reason, I assume).
On to the food -- I suppose any experience is partially reliant on whether or not they're cooking food you like. I couldn't have asked for a better menu. Scrambled eggs with spot prawns and asparagus (unbelievably delicious -- with eggs so fresh, the color was almost orange), striped bass, quail, lamb, mushrooms ... all bursting with flavor.
But it doesn't stop there -- the minute you walk in the door, you're made to feel like honored guests. If you've ever been to Elemental (a place I love), you'll really appreciate being made to feel like a guest as opposed to an unwelcome intruder.
Matt's intro to the meal is fun and lively as opposed to the staid and awkward version at Herbfarm. AND they cater to any dietary limitations you have. I had a "no dairy" limitation and the couple next to me were both vegetarians and they met both needs with ease. (BTW, I wouldn't recommend this place for vegetarians, simply because the menu is pretty meat-based, but they seemed to enjoy the evening.)
My only complaint is the family-style serving. There was one occasion when were we at the end of the line and one dish was almost out -- the two people left had to split what was really one serving. It just puts too much pressure to ensure you're not being greedy, but still getting the experience you want. On the flip side, there were occasions when there were seconds available, so I suppose it all works out in the end.
One last note -- if you go, PLEASE be willing to interact with your table mates. This is NOT a place to go for an intimate dinner for two. At Corson, you're part of a family and you need to participate to fulfill the experience.
A perfect evening which we look forward to enjoying again in the near future.