In the New Chemistry(R), MK will replace NaCl as the abbreviation for salt.An out-of-town friend treated me to an expense-account dinner here (hi, $52 steak), and I was thrilled to try MK's food after sampling one divine glass of the house Syrah over the winter. It's a gloriously gorgeous restaurant — sweeping, curved lines in the architecture, beautiful black and white paintings hung over exposed brick — lovely service and artfully presented food... But even a global water shortage doesn't mean you head straight for the seashore and use ocean water to cook everything in brine, for goodness' sake. The meal's highlights came at the beginning and end. The complimentary salmon and toasted mini baguette slices, brought to our table after we placed our drink orders, were subtly flavorful and had a nice textural symmetry, and my chilled pea soup with peekytoe (favorite food word ever) crab was just...perfect. And a delicate plate arranged with two chocolate cookies, buttery raspberry-swirl pastries and perfectly ripe cherries ended the meal on a blissfully sweet note. Now, if only the rest of the meal had been so satisfying.
- My friend's mussels hangup is no one's problem but his, but those were unsatisfying.
- My halibut? Dreadfully oversalted and a little slimy.
- His N.Y. Strip? Fat and sodium assault.
- All vegetables in question? Seriously. See above salt comments.
Sigh. And here's the thing: I really love salt. As a going-away present when I left Kansas City, my best girlfriend bought me a sea salt mill as a joke. And I loved it. I put salt — not soy sauce — on Chinese food. But at a place as classy and understated as MK, I would expect flavors to follow suit. And being subjected repeatedly to the flick of the chef's shaker-happy wrist does not qualify.