Took my mom to Racion for dinner last night. We both concurred that it was a rather odd meal. From the outside, it is a very charming space. What struck us on the inside was the unexpected formality. The wait staff in white dress shirts and thin black ties. The hushed whispers amid the diners. I had an expectation that the environment might be a bit looser and perhaps a bit more boisterous, but that was very much not the case.
bruléed caña de cabra cheese, citrus, pistachio, lemon sugar
Despite the promise of the description, this was a pretty ordinary slice of room temperature cheese with a few supremes of citrus placed on top. The pistachio shmear on the plate was pretty bland and had the visual appeal of something that people say babies do from time to time. No brûlée to speak of. We didn’t finish it.
“charred leeks, pine nut romesco, bone marrow custard”
Aside from a couple of thin slices, no char in evidence here. Mostly a plate of under-seasoned, flaccid leeks garnished with some pine nuts, a romesco sauce that might have well been purchased from a jar at Trader Joe’s, and these firm half spheres of what I called “dinner jello” that didn’t taste like much of anything, let alone marrow. We didn’t finish this one either.
Gambas in horseradish broth (I don’t recall the actual menu description)
We were relieved to finally have something with some flavor at this point. Shrimp were cooked well, but as you can see, the plate is filled with “chips” and “snow” of unknown etiology. There was a bit of aioli in there, but it was distributed in a haphazard fashion so that it was a bit unwieldy to distribute it amongst the bites. The real kicker: the horseradish broth that didn’t taste at all like horseradish. And with a table side pour that really added to the awkward preciousness of the dining experience.
“house-made squid ink pasta, mussels, piquillo peppers, saffron”
If I knew then what I knew now, I would have just ordered a dish of this for myself and called it a night. This was quite good. Pasta cooked with a nice amount of chew and dressed appropriately. The flavors were on point, but at this point they are killing me with this foam!!! I swear that it feels like I am experiencing an episode of Top Chef from ten years ago where the judges are trying to be impressed with all of these culinary party tricks.
I mostly likely will not come back. The food wasn’t horrible, but it did not wow despite its excessive efforts to do so. A puzzlement to me is how food that has been plated so deliberately can be so completely un-photogenic. There was such a common thread of seasoning issues that I was wishing that Suzanne Goin would magically sweep in and wave a flavor wand over the food at some point. I could have done away with all of the molecular/modernist attempts to jeuje things up and been content with a plate of some simple gambas al ajillo that had been salted properly.