Établi

Our neighborhood wine bar Tyber Creek was a not-that-sad casualty of the pandemic, and Établi wasted no time in moving in, like a much younger second wife after the untimely and suspicious death of the first. Similar to that second wife, there’s a lot of flash and glitter and bad Taylor Swift remixes and not so much substance. Some. They’re working on it.

The first thing we noticed was that none of their staff were masked. Okay. Breathe. This is fine. Weird…weirdly weird…but fine. If this is a thing that bothers you, you’ve been warned.

We ordered two flights–the pinot noir for my husband and the wild, wild vines for me. We’re pretty ignorant and indiscriminate wine drinkers, so it was fun to try three similarly-themed wines next to each other. They came with a cute label to make sure you keep them straight. I highly highly recommend the Céfiro Casa Blanca pinot noir, which had a uniquely fascinating funky mustiness.

As this was their soft opening, they were already sold out of the pork chop entree that was our first choice (they warned everyone there might be hiccups), so we ended up splitting the beet crostini, the tuna tataki, and the whole branzino. The crostini arrived first.

For a starter, this was rather large, and the bread was thick and crusty, scented with rosemary. The bread was exceptional, but the whole thing was just a little ehhhhh. It needed salt at a bare minimum, but really it needed ricotta cheese or spicing or both. It was obviously beautiful but missing some depth.

The tuna tataki arrived soon after. My biggest gripe with this was the false advertising. Here’s the description from the menu: “Seared ahi tuna cooked to medium rare with sesame black pepper crust and wasabi crema.” Here’s the photo:

  1. Is this even ahi tuna? It was not that typical ruby red color on the inside.
  2. Is this seared? Please show me where the sear is. I’ll wait.
  3. Is this medium rare? I know the answer to that. No. The answer is no.
  4. Not false advertising on this front, just a bitch-and-moan: once again, salt was an issue.
  5. The wasabi crema was not false. It was very, very true. But it was also overpoweringly strong.
  6. Okay, okay, I know that microgreens are a whole thang and this is not solely a “them” problem, but like…they don’t taste like anything and they don’t make your food better. Microgreens are hundo P superfluous and they just make it look pompous. Like the second wife’s false eyelashes.

We finished these two and then we waited…potentially for the staff to go to the ocean and catch the branzino for us. It finally arrived and once again, I must admit that it was gorgeous:

I named him Bradley. And to be honest, he was salted well, flaked beautifully, melted in my mouth, had pieces of yummy, oily, crispy skin, and his bed of roasted broccoli was just as succulent. We picked Bradley clean until he was just a creepy cartoon fish skeleton with the head hanging on.

Price: $50 per person.

Bottom line: Hot second wives can get jobs and hobbies and learn to talk about politics. So maybe there’s hope for Établi after all.

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