Robert Cooper, however, knows no such fear – partly because he’s a pretty damn good cook, and partly because he’s trained his dog to attack anyone who wanders into the master bedroom. And last night, as their way of thanking us for the chocolate party, Rob and his lovely wife Hilary had us over for dinner. “Hope you’re hungry,”said Rob as we walked in the door. “I prepared a four course meal.”
“Oh, I’m hungry,”I assured him. “I haven’t eaten since lunch!”
“What’s this?”he asked as I handed him a bag containing three boxes full of pastries.
“I got these for the party I’m going to after dinner,”I joked. “So if you can just put them aside for me.”
“Oh, you’re going to David Blue’s apartment-warming party?”
“Uh, no. These are for us.” And then: “David Blue is having an apartment-warming party?”
“I’m making dessert,”Rob informed me as he took the bag and everyone headed into the kitchen. “Chocolate waffles with home made ice cream.”
Wait. David Blue is having an apartment-warming party?
My biggest pet peeve with dinner parties is the old bait and switch. They tell you to come for a certain time and then don’t end up serving the meal until one, two, sometimes three hours later! Seriously, if I wanted to wait that long to eat, I’d go back to Restaurant Connor Butler. Fortunately, on this night, there was no waiting around and awkward hinting (“When you said 7:00 p.m., was that Hawaii time?”).
Our first course was pan-fried foie gras on mini French toasts served with wine-poached plums and pea sprout garnish. Well, I assumed they were a garnish until I noticed everyone else eating theirs. “These are so rich!”I loudly proclaimed. “I don’t want to fill up too much and not have room for the rest of dinner.” I don’t think they bought it. Speaking of rich – and delicious – the foie gras was cooked to a sweet golden mouth-melting perfection. The not overly-sweet plums provided a nice balance.
Next up was the salad course – mixed green with roasted beets, walnuts, dates, and crumbled goat cheese. A good dish made great with the addition of those meaty oven-roasted beets. A pleasing symphony of tastes and textures.
On to our main course – crispy rotisserie duck with truffled mash potatoes, steamed green beans, and a spicy plum sauce. “It’s really hot!”Rob warned us about the sauce and while it was certainly piquant, it wasn’t off-putting. Still, as enjoyable as it was, it wasn’t really necessary. The duck – crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, was incredibly flavorful.
We finished with multiple desserts. While a couple of the pastries I picked up were very good (Hello, chocolate-banana), I was less-than-impressed with most.
The chocolate waffles with the homemade ice creams (banana and peanut butter) on the other hand was a winner. I haven’t had ice cream this good since – well, since the last time I made ice cream.
We concluded the night by heading down to the theater room where we watched – not a movie but the editor’s cut of Air III. Wow! Those white sands look amazing. It was Fondy’s first exposure to SGU and she enjoyed the episode immensely. Her favorite character: Sgt. Ronald Greer. My wife is now a confirmed Jamil Walker Smith fan.
Overall, an excellent meal. Given the opportunity, I would definitely go back.
Rob and Hilary’s:
Hours: From the time they invite you over to the moment they kick you out.
Liquor, wine: Full bar.
Noise level: Not too bad.
Credit cards: N.A.
Reservations: Highly Recommended
Early-bird service or deals: No.
Parking: No valet but hopefully this will change. Parking on street.