Catal Restaurant - dinner - October 8, 2004

We knew that Catal had just changed over to their fall season menu, so we took the opportunity to return to one of our favorite restaurants. We'd seen a preview of the new menu and had been excited about many of the new offerings. The newly-promoted executive chef has definitely learned a thing or two from one of the prior executive chefs, whose menus we loved. There are some touches in the new menu that are very reminiscent of the other chef.

In keeping with the fall season, there's a pumpkin ravioli dish on the menu, and after a one-season absence, osso bucco is back on the menu. There is still a pork chop entree on the menu, but for the first time in quite a while, there is no salmon dish on the menu, though there are halibut and snapper items. The chef's menu is also now offered only Sunday through Thursday, as Friday and Saturday nights feature the return of Catal's rotisserie prime rib.

For an appetizer, I decided to try the ahi tuna tartare with chilled avocado soup. The presentation of the dish was very nice with the red tuna in the middle of the greenish avocado soup, but the look of the dish paled in comparison to the taste. The avocado was very mild, and I'm not sure I would have known it was avocado just from the taste. The ahi was wonderful, and I've missed the ahi tuna sashimi that used to be served in the downstairs restaurant, so it was wonderful to have some semblance of it back. It is a very generous serving, though, and is more than enough to be shared by two. My husband decided to have the citrus marinated scallops, and they turned out to be wonderful as well. Though not indicated on the menu, the scallops are raw, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise for us as we love raw scallops. I had a taste of one and enjoyed it very much. Be warned, though, if you're expecting cooked scallops - don't order this dish.

For the entree, I decided on the duck "two ways" - seared duck breast and apple-duck confit ravioli. I have come to really enjoy duck (I'd only been used to having it roasted), but the appeal of this dish came more from the accompanying side - Brussels sprouts. I particularly love Brussels sprouts, and restaurants seem to rarely have them and even more rarely have them without being drowned in some kind of sauce. Catal had a dish several years ago that included Brussels sprouts, but I had been disappointed when my dish arrived with only two Brussels sprout halves, especially when a friend ordered the same dish another time, and his dish came with about 8 or 9. Our favorite server happened to be there that night, so I explained my "Brussels sprouts issue" to him, and he said he'd make sure there were plenty of them on the dish. When the entree was brought, there were an abundance of them, so I was very pleased, especially since they were cooked so that they were still crunchy and both the seared duck breast and the ravioli tasted wonderful as well. I was amused when later, one of the managers stopped by because she had seen "extra Brussels sprouts" on the kitchen ticket, and she came out to see who else was a Brussels sprouts lover.

My husband decided on the curry marinated lamb for his entree, and while he liked it, it wasn't quite as curry as he had expected. I had a bite and found the lamb to be very tender and tasty, and there was definitely a hint of curry, but just a hint.

The dessert menu had been changed a little while ago, and a number of the people in our group had enjoyed the Kahlua sauteed bananas and pineapple. This time, my husband opted for the warmed spiced apple bread pudding which comes with a side glass of apple cider, and he enjoyed the dessert very much. I decided on just having some sorbet, which was good.

There are a number of items on the new menu that we're interested in trying, so we'll definitely be back a few times. The downstairs restaurant will be switching over to their new fall menu shortly, and there are a few items on that new menu that sound interesting as well.

I love Catal at new menu time!


For other Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar reviews, please click here.


For the current dinner menu offerings, please click here.

For the current uva bar and cafe menu offerings, please click here.

For Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar menu offerings from prior seasons, please click here.


To see Catal's specific webpage in the Patina Group website, please click here. (Note that the menus on the site are out-of-date, but there are some nice views of the restaurant and some background.)


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