For my friend Steph’s birthday, we celebrated at Drake One Fifty. It’s a much talked-about restaurant and we were very excited to see how the food would stack up. Their slogan is “Eat. Drink. Art.” and is an establishment in the Financial District stemming off from the original Drake Hotel.
We were slotted into the 6:15 p.m. on a busy Friday when Steph made the reservation a week in advance. We walked into the restaurant and immediately noticed the classy and sophisticated crowd that mingled around the bar that was in view. The energy and noise level was high and when we were directed toward our table and seated, we noticed it was hard to hear each other over the chatter. This actually made it hard to converse with my friends throughout the night even though they were sitting right in front of me. The only way to be heard was to shout above the other voices, which I guess leads to the overall party-like atmosphere in the restaurant.
Our server Reuben was accommodating and provided great service for our table during our time there from start to finish. After enjoying the bread and smooth humus from the bread platter, Holly, Joyce, and I shared the Scallop Crudo appetizer. This was a plate of beautifully decorated kohlrabi cubes around moist pieces of raw scallops amid pieces of crunchy puffed rice. Although the appetizer itself was beautifully presented and the pieces of raw scallop tasted fresh and not something you have everyday, we all agreed that the appetizer itself was ridiculously overpriced at $17 a plate. Good thing we had split and shared it, otherwise I’m not sure how justified it would be to spend close to $20 on just the appetizer alone! …But that’s just me since I’m just starting out into the working world and don’t want to be breaking the bank YET. 😉
Next, we were surprised when Reuben brought out individual serving plates and served a complimentary appetizer (courtesy of a staff that Holly knows through her friend). That was incredibly nice and we all thoroughly enjoyed the Nonna’s Meatballs appetizer. I loved it. We each got to try a pork & veal meatball that was presented in the cutest little pot and layered on some tomato paste, n’duja, and smoked ricotta. I adored the sauce; I will admit that I ran my fork through the pot a few times in order to taste more of the sauce. Thank you so much for allowing us to enjoy this appetizer! 🙂
Our party of 6 had sufficient time to chat and enjoy ourselves in the dining room of the Drake One Fifty. We talked about the interesting art collection that was on the walls and I was also happy to discover that they offer free wifi (and over an open network! No need to ask for a password here!). Before long, our mains arrived and we continued to be pleased with what we saw on our plates.
I chose the Lobster Pizza. It was a large size; bigger than my head! It came with a pair of scissors so that you could cut up your own portion of the pizza depending on what size you want it to be (or shape — I was joking that I would cut up a star-shaped slice for Joyce to try. Nevertheless, I was too into my food to let it go cold to partake into such an adventurous activity. Maybe next time we have pizza, I’ll make some star-shaped and heart-shaped slices for my #1 and #3 friends 😉 ). In any case, I was actually surprised to see that there were substantial pieces of lobster claw meat scattered around the pizza. Although I was very happy with the sizes and perfectly cooked pieces of lobster on the pizza, it made the pizza a little bland to eat when you got to the parts that didn’t have any lobster on it. If they could have cut up the lobster or included smaller pieces and filled in the pizza so that nearly every biteful had lobster in it, that would be heavenly! I ended up not finishing the entire pizza since it was so big. I also wanted to save room for dessert, so the remaining lobster pizza was packed up.
Joyce and Steph both ordered the Roast Lamb. I tasted a morsel and, wow, it was amazingly delicious! The meat was so tender and flavourful yet not overpowering. It was really well done! If it weren’t for me indulging in too much meat recently, I think I would have loved finishing off this dish. It was a good pick!
Holly chose the Rabbit Confit Torchetti; however, when she was served her plate, it turned out to be another plate of the Roast Lamb. She kindly let Reuben know about the error, and this was where the service points for this restaurant went through the roof: Reuben let her know that if they were to take the dish back to the kitchen, they would be throwing it out, so it was her choice to keep the dish to share with her table mates or to pack it up as a takeaway. We were all quite full at this point with our appetizers and mains, so Holly chose to pack up the entire Roast Lamb dish into a nice doggybag to take home. Then Reuben apologized once again and informed Holly that her Rabbit Confit Torchetti was on its way. Wow! What amazing service! I’ve never seen a restaurant be so courteous and generous by offering the guest with the mistakened dish to take home! Usually, restaurants will simply apologize and take the dish back to the kitchen.
Holly’s correct dish arrived very soon after that and she really enjoyed her choice. I tried a bite of it and really liked the rabbit meat — it tasted a little rough and a little like chicken but it was well done. This was also my first time trying torchetti — it was al dente and pretty good.
Lastly, we finished the meal with some amazing desserts. Our table couldn’t complain about the quality of the desserts as each one was aesthetically pleasing to the eye, uniquely delicious, and truly a satisfying ending to the meal.
I can never resist something that is chocolatety on the dessert menu, so I went for the Pot De Crème. It arrived in a glass egg-shaped pot with legs and looked absolutely like artwork. I didn’t care too much for the too-crunchy peanut & hazelnut brittles that covered the top of the dessert (it was actually so hard that it was really hard to chew down on my first bite), but I really liked the chocolate cream and concord grape jelly that was layered in the pot. The nice design work that stuck out of the pot was also made out of dark chocolate and tasted very rich. Overall, it was very good.
I snuck a bite of Joyce’s Apple Pie — the daily special pie of the day, and it was very very applely and yummy! Can’t complain about it either since there was a big dollop of vanilla ice cream that Steph and Joyce raved about.
My favourite dessert of the night actually goes to the Olive Oil Cake that Holly selected. Normally, I would selected this dessert as well since it is not every day that you get to choose Olive Oil Cake as your dessert in a restaurant. However, I had already tried it in one of my favourite restaurants (Pease Restaurant) and wanted to go the chocolate route this night for dessert. In any case, Holly picked a winner because this was definitely a better Olive Oil Cake than the one I had at Pease. The cake was incredibly moist and succulent, the frozen yogurt was smooth and creamy, and the small white chocolate strips melted perfectly into your mouth — not to mention it looked artistic as well! It tasted SO good!
As we were finishing off our last bites of the desserts, Reuben kindly let us know that there was a party coming in at 9 p.m. but that there was no rush for us to leave immediately since we had a good 20 minutes until then. I really enjoyed my time here at Drake One Fifty. I’m not sure why the rating for this restaurant on Urbanspoon currently stand at 61% since their food and service were exceptional. I guess it is due to the hefty price tags on their food items that causes the displeasure (that Scallop Crudo was really too much to pay for IMO). I say give this restaurant a try if you’re looking for an impressive venue and high-quality dishes to host your next party. They have a retro photo booth that you can take snapshots in. Pretty neat!