Happy New Year 2014!
My husband & I celebrated New Year’s Eve at Abreo Restaurant, in downtown Rockford and it was amazing, just as we knew it would be.
We’re big fans of Abreo, who catered our wedding, and this is our first time there since their remodel. We don’t make it down there as often as we’d like, but we always enjoy our experience there, when we do.
Our dinner reservation was for 8:30, but we arrived at 7:30 to enjoy a cocktail at the bar. The new bar area is beautiful, though the fireplace is gone, which I kind of missed. As my husband noted, it was most likely taking up prime real estate, as far as seating goes, and I have to agree on that point.
We waited only about 40 minutes before they seated us (we were an hour early, remember) and I can’t say I love their new dining area. It may have been a set up strictly for New Year’s Eve, but it’s not nearly as intimate and unique as it used to be.
We were well prepared for the menu offerings for the evening, since I’m a smart cookie and subscribe to their e-newsletter. They offered 2 menus: a three-course for $50 and a five-course for $75. Of course, we opted for the five-course and It didn’t take us long to decide what each of us would be ordering. We agreed to each order something different than the other, so that we could taste a wider variety of things.
Here are the selections that we chose:
- Me: Vodka-cured hamachi, toasted crepes, cream fraiche, chive oil, osetra caviar and pickled fennel
- Husband: Foie gras torchon, micro herbs, fig, sourdough toast and pickled apple
- Me: Yellow fin tuna sticky roll, with jicama, mint, cilantro, sesame lemon vinaigrette, wasabi caviar and cucumber
- Husband: Pork belly with a slow-poached egg, poblano potato mash, frisee, sweet & sour croutons and pickled onion
- Me: Lobster cocktail, with horseradish brulee, peas, tomato gelee, preserved lemon and micro greens
- Husband: Roasted beets with frisee and arugula, dijon, aged gouda, red wine vinegar and sunchoke chips
- Me: Coffee-cured beef tenderloin with balsamic jus, roasted mushroom, asparagus and hazzard farm polenta
- Husband: Elk prime rib with parsnip mash, dried cherries, port wine, roasted brussels sprouts and bacon
- Me: Chocolates – chili, miso, dried cherry, salted caramel and orange lavender
- Husband: Chambord crepes with raspberry and vanilla
Overall, the shining star was the pork belly dish – my husband & I could have devoured about 6 of them alone and been blissfully happy.
His elk and my tenderloin were the next favorites and temped beautifully. Both were very flavorful and I absolutely loved the coffee flavoring on my tenderloin. We weren’t served steak knives with these, which struck me as odd, especially when I saw other diners with them, but we happily didn’t need them – that’s how tender these cuts of meat were. We each had a glass of Cabernet with our dinner and it was a perfect accompaniment to both of these meats.
The hamachi and caviar where delicious, and I loved the tuna rolls, with its fresh herbs and lemon. The foie gras was good, though it didn’t bowl us over, but we loved the roasted beet dish.
My chocolate dish was pure chocolate overload and could have been split between the two of us. 5 pieces of chocolate was a lot to digest at that point, but my favorites were the chili and the miso, with the caramel a close third.
Sadly, continuing snowfall made for inclement weather and cut our evening a bit shorter than planned. After enjoying some coffee, we headed back out into the snow, and slowly made our way home.
I hope that if you live in the area and haven’t had a chance to experience Abreo, that you’ll get there in 2014. Service is always friendly and helpful (thank you Melissa and Debbie) and the food is always fabulous. Paul, the owner, splits his time between Abreo and Social, another fantastic downtown Rockford restaurant; both are worth the trip.
Happy New Year to all my friends and family. Thank you to everyone who helped make my blog a success in 2013 and I hope we’re all blessed in the year to come.