A Winner – The Whale Wins

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The month-long celebration of my birthday continues at the Whale Wins!  My friend and I had heard great things about this place and it is impossible to get a reservation here.  It’s small and tucked away, but it’s a neat space next to Joule with “hello” written in the lights above and the desserts prominently on display on the counter when you walk in.  A preview of dessert – what could be more exciting!  They had a pile of unruly looking pistachio meringues that you could take home for $3.50. They are a family style large plate restaurant – meaning you order as if you would small plates and share with the table.  There’s no real entrée on the menu, so pick all the things that interest you and you won’t go wrong.  We ordered 5 plates plus dessert and it was very filling, but not uncomfortably so.

whale wins - kale salad

kale salad – kale with their 7 minute egg, potatos, cooked fennel, and aioli; it could have used a little lemon to brighten it up a bit, but overall, quite delicious for kale, which wasn’t tough or chewy at all.

whale wins - sardines on crostinni

sardines on crostini – with curried tomato paste, fennel, and cilantro; like a glorified and extra fishy tuna sandwich; a great balance of flavors, but quite a disaster to eat since they had to toast thick slices of bread in order to make it hold up to the sardines and paste, which made it really hard to bite through

whale wins - bone marrow

bone marrow – with raisens and pickled shallot relish; there was a lot of bone marrow and it is so rich (the way it should be); the relish on the side does help balance it, but it is also very messy due to the amount of bone marrow and its oils

whale wins - sabeiyon and meringue

sabayon and meringue – bitters flavored sabayon (think less fatty ice cream) that tastes like alcohol, and pistachio meringue to add sweetness and balance the bitterness; topped with grapefruit to make it extra bitter and sour (recommend removing the grapefruit)

Pork Belly (missing picture – we ate it before I remembered to take pictures) – a very lean pork belly with roasted eggplants; a nice meat dish, very simply prepared

Overall, I enjoyed this rather inventive restaurant.  They try some interesting combinations with uncommon ingredients, and you get to try all of it.  They let the ingredients speak for themselves and don’t try to over-engineer the dishes.  Next time, we need to try the lamb tartare and the roasted chicken.  It’s a delightful place and I would recommend it for some refreshing flavors and intriguing combinations.

Overall: happily ever after
Highlights: sardine crostini, kale salad, bitters frozen sabayon
Footnotes: even if you can’t get a reservation, you can still walk in for dinner – we went on a Monday night; try as many dishes as you can, so bring friends and family; they also have lots of pickled items and wines for purchase
The Whale Wins on Urbanspoon

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