Friday night I made a reservation for Sally and myself at SoBou, a very modern dining establishment just 2 blocks up from the hotel. Then Mike called and said he would join us. That’s always good news, but nothing I felt I had to share with the restaurant, they’d work it out when we got there.
Mike was the first to arrive. 30 years and I haven’t gotten anywhere first yet. He was seated at a table for 2, and was in a mild lather that we had 50% more people than chairs, but the host handled the issue easily–that’s what restaurants do, they are in the hospitality business. Remember that point, it will come up later in the story.
SoBou is very modern; the walls are decorated with a huge collection of pharmacy bottles in a vast variety of size and shape, all without labels, on narrow shelves and backlit. It is both very attractive and makes the light in the dining room flattering to the guests and the food.
We started with an order of the Shishito peppers, quick fried and spiced and delightful. You have to start with a tiny bite because nineteen out of 20 of these peppers are quite mild but the 20th will melt the enamel off your teeth. Gail just bites in willy-nilly, but she’s tougher than I am.
Remember that part about being in the hospitality business? Mike’s partner Franklin showed up to join us—he didn’t want a meal, just to sit with us an maybe have a bowl of soup. We were clearly informed that we had a table for THREE and there was no room and no other chair available. Franklin got to stand. This struck me as entirely bizarre. We were willing to squeeze him into our little table, and the joint was refusing.
Fortunately, I went outside to make a phone call and by the time I got back sanity had returned to the situation and a chair was produced.
Soups were served. Sally and I had the sweet potato and carrot soup, which was spectacular. Very thick, smooth and savory, it was a decided winner.
Entrees arrived. I had the tuna escabeche, which turns out to be thin pieces of the fish very quickly seared then finished like ceviche, cooked by the citric acid from fresh limes and oranges.
This is a light and tasty dish which would work just as well as a starter course. I also had the steamed pork bun, which is a deconstructed version of the Chinese char siu bao. I’m afraid this is an idea that didn’t work. The bun was just a small baked flatbread, not steamed, the meat was too dry, it wasn’t anything like the original version and not as interesting. Win some, lose some, but this idea should have stayed in the kitchen.
Mike had the short ribs. He didn’t say much about them, just scarfed down his meal. That must be a good sign.
Enough of this chit-chat. You want to know about the bread pudding.
This was listed on the menu as Cherries Jubilee Bread pudding with homemade ice cream. There were two tiny cherries, but that wasn’t my interest anyway. The bread pudding was very good, and the ice cream was not only excellent but they somehow froze it extra super duper hard so it didn’t melt in the first few seconds on the warm pudding, which was a very nice touch. I’d consider it one of the better desserts this week.
Service was attentive and prompt. You have to order the dessert early, because it is baked to order, and our waiter managed to time everything quite well. I’m still stunned by the silly chair situation early, but they managed to get their act together and serve Franklin a bowl of gumbo so everything worked out well in the end. SoBou is so good Mike wanted to return later in the week, but that’s just silly in a city with so many fine dining establishments.