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Ericandblueboy

Siren, Seafood in the Darcy Hotel on Scott Circle - Chef John Critchley Comes from Brine

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Around 4 p.m. on Friday, it started to rain.  I had my umbrella but it's still a damp 1/2 mile walk from McPherson Sq to the Darcy Hotel (a boutique with 226 guest rooms...).  So by the time I arrived, my toes were a little wet.

Did I regret making that walk...a little bit.

We started with a petite platter.  The deal here is that everything is dressed, so there's no cocktail sauce, mignonette, or even lemon to squeeze.  You just slurp, or stab and chew.  The good news is that the prawns and lobster were nicely cooked.  The bad news is that they were bland.  Whatever dressing didn't impart much flavor.  The oysters and clams were delicious though.  There's a sea urchin seafood salad that was strangely bland too.

We also ordered some cold tuna and more sea urchin apps (again, bland).  The fried soft-shell was really good except for the tangerine sauce, which added too much sweetness and citrus flavor to a nicely tempura-ed soft shell crab.   

Lastly we had the halibut with salsa verde.  Again, very nicely cooked fish, and this was well seasoned.

All the dishes were texturally excellent, but at least half the dishes lacked seasoning or seasoned in a way that I just didn't care for it.

I didn't take a picture of the menu (should've) and the menu isn't up on the website yet so unfortunately I can't provide more detail on what we ordered and ate.

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Siren had last minute availability and it wasn't participating in restaurant week, so I had brunch there.  But beforehand, I noticed that it only had 4 stars on Open Table (and with their inflation, it really only had 3 stars) and only 3.5 stars on Yelp.  I thought it's another case of people not knowing what good food is.  But I ended up agreeing with the consensus.

First dish was sea urchin with sweet peas, blue crab custard, arctic surf clam, galil spice oil.  This is a mess of a dish.  Why would nearly raw peas go with sea urchin?  I don't think it does.  And whatever bowl of sauce it was, it overwhelmed the sea urchin.

Second dish was grilled fish causa, or better yet, a fish knish.  It's a wee bit strange of a combination.  I didn't like it and didn't hate it.

Third dish was was an awful crabcake.  The crab tasted quite a bit off.  There was too much binder and herbs.  I left half a crab cake behind.

On a nice Sunday, there was only one other table occupied.

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13 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

First dish was sea urchin with sweet peas, blue crab custard, arctic surf clam, galil spice oil.  This is a mess of a dish.  Why would nearly raw peas go with sea urchin?  I don't think it does.  And whatever bowl of sauce it was, it overwhelmed the sea urchin.

My first thought on your first question: Texture? 

My first thought on your second point: I can't see any case in which it wouldn't (overwhelm the sea urchin), especially based on your picture. (Galil spice for those unfamiliar - I'm uncertain how many variations of it there are.)

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Last week, my sister and her fiancé took me to Siren for a belated birthday dinner. I  had eaten there once before. I took my son and his girlfriend for Christmas dinner.  They offered a special menu for Christmas.  Basically, all appetizers, salads, sides and desserts were offered buffet style.  You then ordered entrees from a separate menu.  Because I was not able to taste the regular offerings on Christmas, I was eager to return.  It did not disappoint!  To start, we shared the big eye tuna and the yellowtail crudo.  The big eye tuna was served with Kalamansi lime, sesame seed, wakame seaweed, macadamia nut and avocado mousse.  Not only was it beautifully presented, it was absolutely delicious.  The tuna may have been the best I have ever had, and I am very picky about my tuna.  The yellowtail crudo was also fantastic.  For entrees, my sister and her fiancé split the whole salt encrusted branzino stuffed with lobster mousse.  They brought the fish to the table to present it in its salt crust before taking it away and freeing it from its crust.  The two of them could not finish the branzino.  For my entrée I ordered the black cod with an Asian style glaze.  It was cooked to absolute perfection and was delicious.  Looking forward to going back again!

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I very much appreciate the review and was interested but the website won't stop moving long enough for me to focus! I've asked before but why do restaurant websites insist on overwhelming the sense with movement and even worse, noise?

Siren's Dinner webpage

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If you click on the menu icon (four short lines) in the upper left hand corner, it will allow you to access menus and other items which will appear on the right hand side of the screen.  The pictures do continue to scroll on the left side.

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From December 1, 2017, a truly splendid evening at Siren.  Food selections (see below) were the best on the menu.  Every dish was beautifully composed and executed.  The seafood was so fresh and pristine as if the ocean were just a few steps away.  And champagne to pair was absolutely the perfect beverage choice!  The Black Pearl was a super fun and delicious indulgence that was worth the splurge!  The Petite Plateau was stunning and a true celebration of the sea!  The Bread Service was the perfect interlude.  The Danish Dover Sole was so exquisite, sublime and insanely delicious and worth the indulgence!  The Baby Arugula Salad was a beautiful, thoughtful accompaniment.  And the Key Lime Creme followed by Petit Fours was the perfect way to end a decadent evening!  

 

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Wife and I had an overall excellent dinner at Siren this past Saturday night.  The salt-crusted branzino, stuffed with a swordfish mousse, and topped with a caviar sauce (buerre blanc?), and served with a salad on the side that cut through the richness of the dish nicely, for 2 was outstanding.  Seriously one of the best fish dishes either of us had ever eaten, and definitely the highlight of the meal.  We started with the "smoked" salmon belly and the yellowtail crudo.  Both were nice, though I for the life of me can't understand the single tiny brioche roll that came with the salmon.  I'd seen photos of variations of this dish where it looks like it was served with toast points (plural).  The single tiny brioche roll, particularly with us having made clear that we were sharing both apps, just came off as inadequate and silly.  If we'd not been a couple, sharing it would have been awkward.  The same goes for the chocolates at the end.  Other restaurants we've been to at this level, if they're going to give make the gesture of providing chocolates or some other similar lasting taste at the end, seem to give multiples of each different item, rather than forcing choosing or sharing.  We were given one mint truffle and one chocolate shell.  I know not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but again, if we hadn't been a couple this would have been extremely awkward to try to share them, and they weren't really comparable.  Given the overall cost of the meal, like the brioche roll, it just seemed like this wasn't well thought through.  The key lime cream for dessert was outstanding.  The spice & fig dessert was strongly recommended by our server, so we got that too; it was ok, but I'm guessing we might have preferred either the chocolate tart or the pandan mousse dessert instead.  Cocktails were well prepared - enjoyed the call of the siren (with herb infused vodka, lime, cucumber, and lavender syrup I think); and nice wine list with some reasonable enough options.  Was surprisingly easy to get a reservation and the restaurant was not full on a Saturday night.  Would go back for the branzino and key lime dessert alone. 

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5 hours ago, JonS said:

Wife and I had an overall excellent dinner at Siren this past Saturday night.  The salt-crusted branzino, stuffed with a swordfish mousse, and topped with a caviar sauce (buerre blanc?), and served with a salad on the side that cut through the richness of the dish nicely, for 2 was outstanding.  Seriously one of the best fish dishes either of us had ever eaten, and definitely the highlight of the meal.  We started with the "smoked" salmon belly and the yellowtail crudo.  Both were nice, though I for the life of me can't understand the single tiny brioche roll that came with the salmon.  I'd seen photos of variations of this dish where it looks like it was served with toast points (plural).  The single tiny brioche roll, particularly with us having made clear that we were sharing both apps, just came off as inadequate and silly.  If we'd not been a couple, sharing it would have been awkward.  The same goes for the chocolates at the end.  Other restaurants we've been to at this level, if they're going to give make the gesture of providing chocolates or some other similar lasting taste at the end, seem to give multiples of each different item, rather than forcing choosing or sharing.  We were given one mint truffle and one chocolate shell.  I know not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but again, if we hadn't been a couple this would have been extremely awkward to try to share them, and they weren't really comparable.  Given the overall cost of the meal, like the brioche roll, it just seemed like this wasn't well thought through.  The key lime cream for dessert was outstanding.  The spice & fig dessert was strongly recommended by our server, so we got that too; it was ok, but I'm guessing we might have preferred either the chocolate tart or the pandan mousse dessert instead.  Cocktails were well prepared - enjoyed the call of the siren (with herb infused vodka, lime, cucumber, and lavender syrup I think); and nice wine list with some reasonable enough options.  Was surprisingly easy to get a reservation and the restaurant was not full on a Saturday night.  Would go back for the branzino and key lime dessert alone. 

Thanks for this. I'll write Siren up at some point, but the summary: It's a legitimate Michelin 1-star restaurant (i.e., it deserves the star it got).

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