- Welcome to "You Rate the Restaurant," a new feature on Geneva Patch. Once a week, we’ll pick one of the city's many wonderful dining places and ask for your opinion of it. You guys are the experts—so let us know what you think. This week's pick is Niche. To give the restaurant a review and star rating GO HERE.
Appetizer to appetizer, entree to entree, dessert to dessert, mano a mano—Atwater's vs. Niche would be one heck of a cookoff.
My only reservation about commenting on Niche is that I haven't had a reservation there for way too long, probably a year. In the four or more occasions I have dined there, it's been a wonderful experience—including one very memorable occasion with my wife, Paula, on our anniversary. We've also had some joyful family birthday get-togethers, and I had a quick drink-and-an-appetizer with a friend over the holidays a few years back.
I waxed poeting about dining in the Atwater's "You Rate" story. Niche is the same deal.
I'm trying to limit my fat intake during the month of February—so the menu item that's got me going right this moment is cheese. Yes, cheese is like forbidden fruit to me this month (sorry for the mixed metaphor)—and the Niche menu actually has me salivating as I write this. (Sad, isn't it?)
I mean, honestly, who could resist “Shaft’s Aged Bleu,” from Rocklin, CA,—Creamy blue cheese aged a minimum of one year in a goldmine shaft? In a goldmine shaft—you're killing me!
If that's not enough temptation, there's “Nancy’s Camembert” from Old Chatham, NY, with its " buttery notes and creamy texture," or "Midnight Moon": firm, aged goat cheese that's got "nutty and brown-butter flavors with prominent caramel notes."
The irony, of course, is that if I could go to Niche in February, I might not order the cheese in favor of one of the appetizers.
Like Atwater's, Niche has a wonderful chef who tests your pallet and varies the menu. Niche also has a "Small Plates" menu that's to die for. (Have I mentioned that I like the whole tapas thing? Yes, I have.)
OK, we're going to play a game here. I'll tell you what I'd order off the following menu. You tell me what your selections might be.
I'd start with the Shrimp and Grits, Burgundy Snails and then I'd have to try that "Shaft's Aged Bleu" from the cheese menu—these to share around the table. I suppose you can have cheese for dessert, but I generally it's not the way I roll.
Choosing an entree is super difficult, but I might gamble on the Lobster Saffron Risotto, although the Seared Scallops look awesome.
All the desserts sound good, so I'd propose some sort of sharing, once again. If I had to go with just two—man, that's difficult. I'd want to sample that almond ice cream and I'd want some chocolate. Probably have to go with the Chocolate Caramel Torte and the Brulee Banana.
And, of course, I'd throw all of those decisions aside if the server would recommend his or her favorite. I know, some people hate that. But again, to paraphrase the Jonas Brothers (What happened to those guys, anyway?) that's just the way I roll.
I almost forgot the most important part. You can leave a comment on this story, but the right way to participate is to go to the listing HERE and give the restaurant a star rating.
Shrimp and Grits—Marinated shrimp, white hominy, spice shrimp glace
Mushroom Tart—Parmesan sable, creamed spinach, roasted mushrooms, poached egg, balsamic syrup
Burgundy Snails—Tempura snails, parsley puree, mire poix, chablis glaze
Wagyu Tri Tip—36 hour braised tri tip, pain perdue, horseradish cream, balsamic syrup
Roasted Monkfish—Braisedred cabbage, Granny Smith apples, roasted chestnut, Nueskes bacon, warm cider vinaigrette
Wild Boar Rack—Chieftian rice, orange marmalade, hazelnuts, coffee cognac jus, pancetta chips
Walnut Goat Cheese Ravioli—Beech mushrooms, pearl onions, marinated artichokes, Bull Run Farm baby beets, spinach puree
Seared Scallops—Carrot honey puree, toasted Israeli cous cous, lime, English cucumber, ginger beurre blanc
Smoked Muscovy Duck—Potato parsnip rosti, celeriac remoulade, sauce charcuterie, cornichions
Beef Tenderloin—Yukon Gold potato gnocchi, roasted brussel sprouts, wild mushroom
Winter Cassoulet—White beans, Toulouse sausage, chicken thigh, Tuscano kale
Lobster Saffron Risotto—Saffron arborio rice, fennel, haricot vert, roasted cherry tomatoes, orange, vanilla foam
Warm Apple Tart
Almond frangipan, fresh apple, almond ice cream
Chocolate Caramel Torte
Hazelnut cake, chocolate swirl ice cream, chocolate caramel mousse
Puff pastry, pastry cream, almond ice cream, chocolate sauce
Gently sweet and creamy with chocolate dipped cookies
Chocolate crumble, absinthe ice cream, fennel chips
* SOURCE: Niche website. Please note that all menu items are subject to change.