Rating Roìa

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I have always loved my birthday. My birthday meant a party, a dinner, and the focus on me. Unlike most young girls, however, my birthday was never all about me. I share my birthday with my mom. Yes, I was the best birthday gift ever (as, I imagine, was the process of childbirth).

While, yes, this means that the focus was never entirely on me for my own birthday, I couldn’t imagine a birthday without my mom. Therefore, it was incredible to have my mom in New Haven to spend our birthday together. It also provided the perfect opportunity to go to Roia – a New Haven restaurant I have been dying to try.

One of the most respected foodies at Yale once casually told me that Roia was the best restaurant in New Haven. Ever since, Roia has been number one on my list of restaurants to try. I have made multiple reservations and unfortunately had to cancel all of them. But my birthday dinner was an event I would not cancel.

Here’s what we ate:

Chicken Liver Mousse served with grilled bread and red onion marmalade

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Carpaccio di FunghiImage

Pesce Di Giorno (which, on this day, was arctic char)Image

Pappardelle with Hen RaguImage

For dessert: Croustillant de Rhubarb – meringue with poached rhubarb sweetened cream and pistachiosImage

A little treat with the check – petite madeleinesImage

I had very high expectations for Roia. Sadly, Roia did not live up to my standards. It was good, maybe fantastic, but not spectacular. The liver mousse was good – I honestly think Heirloom’s (at The Study) is better. The arctic char was more well-done than I usually like, but this is a personal preference. I am a sucker for handmade pasta (and Roia makes all of their own pasta), but I am also used to the incredible high standards for handmade pasta in San Francisco. The pappardelle was good, but the pasta itself was a bit too thick and chewy for my taste.

Sidenote: I will say, however, that the petite madeleines provided a spectacular moment for me. They were little bites of heaven. Perfectly flavorful, soft, and fluffy. I was reading Proust’s A Remembrance of Things Past at the time, where the entire novel stems from a bite of madeleine that stirs Proust’s memory. They were a perfect way to end our birthday dinner.

A Respite with Restaurant Week: Ibiza

Last week was New Haven Restaurant Week. I saw the week-long event as an opportunity to try out some of the restaurants in New Haven, where fine dining has blossomed in recent years. On a Wednesday night, I tried Ibiza with a bunch of girl friends. The restaurant is extremely close to campus, and I have passed by Ibiza on many occasions. The restaurant is always crowded late into the night, and I was excited to finally try it.

Dinner was delicious and filling. The menu provided a variety of dishes ranging from those tastefully simple (say mushroom risotto) to those more complex in flavor and concept (the lobster with caramelized endive foam). All in all, the consensus was that the meal was an overwhelmingly positive experience – it was especially nice to taste fresh seafood as opposed to whatever sea-faring animals they serve us in the dining hall.

Here’s what we had:

Ensalada de gamba y aguacate – Grilled shrimp and avocado mixed green salad

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Ensalada de pulpo – Grilled ocotpus salad

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Trio de tapas – Codfish mousse, Boquerón, avocado and cilaniro purée, Grill chorizo sausage and green lentil salad

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Langosta – Steaed Maine lobster off the shell, carmelized endive foam, sautéed oyster and shiitake mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, lobster oil

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Arroz de setas – Mushroom risotto, tetilla cheese, truffle oil

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Raya – grilled skate fish and polenta-cauliflower cake

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Lemon bavaroise with fresh fruit salad

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