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The Imperial, offshoot of Jack Rose

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We were not eager to eat at The Imperial, largely because the PR made it seem like a drinking establishment serving some food rather than a restaurant serving some drinks. Irrespective and for reasons irrelevant we went to an early dinner. Entering, our preconception was reinforced insofar as the main dining room consisted of a few tables adjacent to the bar, as pictured.

Then our impression began to change. Service was totally professional: none of the usual 'small plates we will serve when we want instead of when you want'; comfortable seating; and not too noisy even for a Saturday evening.

We began with scallop crudo, with perfect ingredients, perfectly prepared and presented, albeit not all that interesting; and steamed oysters, the same. The meal took off with the larger small plates. Grilled shrimp with toothsome farro, brunoise of fennel, in a complex bouillabaisse broth with saffron -- all delicious; but what sent the dish over the top was the caraway toast. The caraway elevated the dish from very good to memorable. And we had steelhead vol-au-vent, the puff pastry filled with a fricassee of leeks and sunchokes, topped with smoked trout roe. 

There were a number of other dishes on the menu we want to try, so we will go back, sometime, to the Imperial. 




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