Monday, March 7, 2011

REVIEW: Erato on Main ~ Edwardsville, IL

I was so excited when my friends, Carlyn and Nathan, chose ERATO Wine Bar & Restaurant to celebrate Carlyn's birthday this year.  I was even more excited when we scored a babysitter and could go!!!  I had been to Erato once before, but only for the wine.  I was looking forward to trying out their restaurant menu and with other friends joining us I knew there would be a variety of dishes to try out.

First things first.  The wine list.

Of course being a wine bar they have a very nice selection of wines and also beer and specialty drinks.  I especially like the list named $20 bottles.  That's my kind of list. :)  Rich and I chose a bottle of 2006 Toad Hollow, Merlot Reserve from California.  One word.  Delicious.  Very smooth and not bitter at all on the finish.  I'm not sure, but I would say this was aged in stainless steel because I didn't taste much if any oak.

Onto dinner...

For an appetizer our table chose the Mushroom Risotto & Bruchetta.  The risotto was lightly breaded and then deep fried balls of mushroom risotto set on top of some micro greens and drizzled with a spicy sriracha aioli.  The bruchetta was very traditional, but slightly larger crustini than I've seen at other restaurants.  The crustini was made from their fresh baked bread, sliced thin, seasoned with a little garlic and olive oil and then toasted.  It was topped with a large slice of fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes and fresh basil, then finished with a balsamic reduction.  Both very delicious and both reasonably priced at $7.  My husband and I ordered the risotto, but next time I will get the bruchetta!!!  Yum!

Erato changes their menu monthly.  This month there was a large selection of many seafood dishes as well as a few beef options and even a comfort food selection of Chicken Pot Pie.  My husband and I agreed on the Squid Ink Spaghetti & Seared Scallops to share.  Other selections at our table were the Lobster Martini, Petite Filet, and Pompano en papillote.  I was so intrigued by the Lobster Martini and the Spaghetti that I forgot pictures of a few of the dishes.  The scallops were beautifully presented.  There were four scallops to an order.  They were perched on top of micro greens with two sets of two scallops each sitting between a grilled onion ring, drizzled with a red pepper couili.  I never even saw was was inside the puffed up parchment paper...which by the way is what Pompano en papillote is.  Pompano is a type of fish and the "en papillote" actually means hot air balloon.  Which is kind of what it looks like after baking.  The fish is cooked inside of a folded and sealed parchment paper package with an herb wine sauce and the parchment puffs up like a hot air balloon and it served to you inside of the puffed up package.  Kind of fun. :)  The filets were served with purple mashed potatoes and glazed carrots.  My friend, Liz, said it was possibly the best filet she has ever had. 

Oh, there was also a pear salad ordered at our table, but it must not have been all that great because we didn't even talk about it and from what I saw half of it went back with the waitress.  They also serve their fresh baked bread with two different types of butter compounds along the side.  Neither of which were all that great.  One was a bleu cheese and prosciutto ham compound and the other was some sort of chile pepper spiced compound.  It was the best of the two and you could really taste the chile as well as a touch of cinnamon.  I would have just rather had plain ol' butter, but it was fun to try.

So...I was very excited to try the Squid Ink Spaghetti.  I had seen squid ink used in pasta on Iron Chef, but I was curious if it tasted much different.  The answer.  No.  The squid ink lends no flavor what-so-ever to the pasta, but it looks really cool.  It was served with a lemon wine butter sauce with crab meat throughout.  My husband thought the lemon flavor was a bit overwhelming and while I do agree with him it was still a very tasty dish.  The scallops were cooked perfectly, but I would have liked a few more. :)

The Lobster Martini!!!  My friend, Erika, was kind enough to let me taste and boy am I glad she did.  It was beautifully presented, but tasted even better.  The perfectly cooked lobster meat was mixed with grated carrots and sea beans which look like little teeny tiny asparagus tips, but have this amazing taste of the salty sea to them.  It is served with a mini carafe of clarified butter and next time....I'm ordering this!!!!  Absolutely wonderful.

Dessert Time!!!!

For dessert our table chose the White Chocolate Cheesecake served with a Cherry Jubilee Ice Cream,  The Chocolate Decadence Cake served with a Marshmallow Ice Cream and the Creme Brulee Trio.  I didn't try the cheesecake, but there wasn't any fabulous rave reviews.  It was cheesecake.

However, the Chocolate Decadence Cake was passed around the table several times and it was devine.  The cake was more like a slice of fudge and it simply melted in your mouth.  The marshmallow ice cream was okay, but the cake was the winner on that plate.  My husband and I weren't so nice and we didn't even offer anyone at the table a taste of our Creme Brulee Trio.  It consisted of Chocolate Raspberry, French Vanilla and Cinnamon Apple.  They were all very good.  So good that we just kept tasting each one saying "I think this is my favorite" taste..."no this is my favorite".  I think we may have agreed that the Cinnamon Apple was very very very good and possibly really truly our favorite.  I think.  Maybe?

Overall, it was a fantastic meal.  My husband and I had the bottle of wine, mushroom risotto, scallops, squid ink spaghetti and the creme brulee trio on our bill and it was just a tad over $60 (not including the tip).  Very reasonably prices in my opinion and I will be for sure be going back and highly recommend it. 

Note:  Our group did have a couple children and they were very accommodating for the kiddos as well as our larger crowd.  The service was great.  

(From L to R) Jessica, Liz, Erika, Me, Carlyn, and her daughter Cloe

(The not pictured's who also helped celebrate
 include the significant others, Carlyn's dad and her many in-laws)

1 comment:

  1. LOVE THIS!!! I've never eaten at Erato...just drank there and now I'm totally excited to. :)