Sunday, September 24, 2006

We were invited to attend a 60th birthday dinner party last night for a good friend. The party was at Natalie's at the Mill in Camden, a restaurant that both Greg and I have been wanting to try for a while. The birthday party was a suprise, organized by our friend's brother and sister-in-law, so we had to get there early. We had a big, festive party of 12. The restaurant is very warm and inviting inside, perfect medium soft lighting, a feat when the ceilings are so high. The art was extremely tasteful and blended into the decor rather than overwhelmed it. We got there and had drinks seated in the leather furnitured lounge area.
We had a table in the back for all of us. The restaurant accomodated us by adding two more place settings at the last minute. The service, which I've heard was great, was not so attentive at the beginning. Our host got annoyed and went out to speak with the hostess at the front of the restaurant. He wanted champagne for the table and three different wines. After that, service was better, but we had to wait quite a while for our entrees. We were served an amuse bouche to start of one thinly sliced sauteed shrimp with a caviar beurre blanc which I guess was tasty though I gave mine across the table to Greg.
I ordered the butternut squash and carmelized apple soup with a confit of phesant which was delightful, quite excellent in fact. For dinner I had the crispy Duck with a sweet potato confection of some sort and a huckleberry quince sauce that was really fantastic.. I tend to like my duck cooked, and ordered it medium, though the chef recommends it medium rare.
One of the great details they have at Natalies is small baskets of hot bread with individual ramekins of soft butter....Score one for the restaurant there in my book.
Everyone seemed to order oysters which looked fabulous, though there were only five to a plate (cost cutting measures? low on the count this evening? I dunno) Greg said the oysters were the best part of the meal, lightly cooked and with a small salad on top. They were better than his fish entree which he said was a bit skimpy.
Dessert was a chocolate layer cake with mocha frosting and curried truffles on the side. Very nice.

My only beef was the price, which seemed excessive, especially when we all split the bill. It came to about $130.00 a person, which I really think is too much for the food and service that we got.