Monday, April 7, 2008

Food Review: Murray's

Being my birthday, I treated myself to a special lunch. I've lived in this city for almost twelve years and yet have never gone to Murray's yet. How could this be? I work across the street from it! I see it every day, I hear about it all the time, it's legendary. Today I decided to try it out.

The interior was amazingly elegant, probably moreso than anything I've seen in Minneapolis. It is old-school elegance, you know? The kind of restaurant where Real Power goes to discuss. I put on my best behavior and got a small table to the side, behind the liquor cabinet.

The waiter was breezy and chatty, and I accepted his recommendation for the lobster bisque, and got an 8oz. luncheon steak, top sirloin, that came with potatoes au gratin, and a side of mushrooms. The service was brisk, there was hardly any waiting time for anything. I had a tray of bread (a large roll, a small roll with asiago cheese baked on it, and five extremely salty toasted discs) and a glass of water.

The bisque arrived. It was heartier than any other lobster bisque I've ever had, which was good, as it featured chunks of lobster meat. It was also quite salty. I wondered if this was a technique to get people to drink more alcohol? Or maybe the old-school diners here were just used to a lot more salt in their diet than I was, which would fall in line with the stereotype of cigar-smoking, obesity, and hypertension when one imagines power-brokering fat cats.

The steak arrived, a delightful little ball of sirloin. I asked for it rare and got it perfectly rare - not blue, not medium rare, just seared expertly around all surface area. The interior was a deep raspberry and almost as smooth as fatty tuna sushi. I was halfway through it when I noticed the mushrooms had failed to attend it. I caught the waiter and asked if they were forthcoming, he breezed out back and glided back up with them in hand. Very swift service! I'm used to waiting much longer for any meat product: Murray's is certainly prompt.

The waiter had gotten it out of me that I was here for my birthday and provided, at the end, a personal little vanilla cake in chocolate frosting, with a candle burning on top. The gesture was quite appreciated. The longest wait of the whole lunch, however, was in waiting for the check and then in waiting for the check to be picked up. Still, it was not unbearably long and all the service was prompt, as I said.

I kept myself on my best behavior, as I said, putting my silverware in the four o'clock position when done eating and tilting the soup away from me, spooning it away from me as I ate. However, as I crossed the street to return to work, a cold wind hit me and I realized I had shown up with a tie but no jacket. It's just this kind of inattention to detail that prevents people from taking me seriously.

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