When I called Chalkboard shortly after their "grand opening" to ask about their Monday hours, they strongly suggested I make a reservation, but when we arrived for dinner, there were two other tables seated.
Seriously, guys, get over yourselves.
The décor suited me perfectly, despite our wobbly table. Crisp white tablecloths, long banquettes against one wall and small tables everywhere else. Gorgeous, dainty chandeliers dangled from the ceilings and, of course, the namesake chalkboards on the opposite wall from us detailed the night's specials.
Unfortunately, that's about where my love affair stops. To begin, I had the sashimi moi (a sweetfish, apparently) served with a miso broth and topped with pink peppercorns... Absolutely nothing about it stood out to me.
For an entrée, my dinner companion and I split the hanger steak served with fingerling potatoes and sauteéd kale with pearl onions, topped with a "dollop" of truffle mayo. And by dollop, they seemed to mean ice-cream-scoopful. Our steak, though cooked wonderfully, was drowned in this pungent sauce, and it totally ruined the experience for me.
Dessert redeemed the meal a bit (and luckily, I was still hungry because we'd split everything else): chocolate-chip cookie dough egg rolls.
Just what they sounded like: Wonton skins wrapped around real cookie dough, then deep fried until everything's crispy and just warm enough, like a sheet of cookies that's been baked for three minutes. (I should know: chocolate-chip cookies are the only thing I can cook successfully. Hence the extensive dining out.)
The rolls were served over drizzles of caramel sauce and paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of which I ate none. Because why even bother with those calories when you can max out on fried heaven?
I was on Cloud Eleven. I wanted more.
In short, I might give Chalkboard another try. Our server was incredibly knowledgeable about the menu and also very attentive — though he had only three tables. I would have worried otherwise.
Maybe next time I'll get the mac and cheese and sample another dessert. Or just egg rolls.
And maybe if you go in expecting less than I did, you'll be pleasantly surprised.