Saturday, March 3, 2012

CitySen, 85 Monroe Center NW - 2/13/12

We first visited this restaurant, located in the City Flats Hotel, last December and were totally taken with the setting, the service, and the food. Today was almost as good.

In contrast to their restaurant CityVu in Holland, CitySen is on the first floor with a street view, obstructed by the window trim. What you see are headless bodies strolling by. In summer, with the windows open, it’s probably much better.

The setting is classy and modern. Two booths are available at the windows (with the aforementioned obstructed views), and high top tables and other tables for four and two lead up to the bar. Other small rounds wrap around beyond the bar. The menu is small, specific, and interesting.
In our earlier visit, we started with shrimp and sausage gumbo, which was good but the shrimp was nowhere to be found being over-powered by the sausage. Today we began with the Veggie Roll (sticky rice, avocado, and spicy kimchee).

Followed by the Spider Roll (tempura soft shall crab, cucumber, spicy mayo in sushi maki roll), we have to conclude that sushi is not their specialty. The rice consistency was mushy and tasted of cream cheese. The seaweed wrap was very, very fishy tasting and overpowered everything in its wake.
The lobster spring rolls were another matter and very worth ordering, as are the risotto cakes (mushroom risotto cakes with ratatouille and parmesan crisp). All was fresh and crisp, with balanced flavors.
Both meat lovers and vegetarians have choices here and for the former, we can recommend the Cubano: black forest ham, crisp pork belly, gruyere, pickles, dijon, mayo, on a hoagie bun. And the tenderloin sliders that consist of three mini beef tenderloin sandwiches with steak butter will melt in your mouth. Add blue cheese if you wish.
Sauteed shrimp with brussels sprout leaves, pork belly and horseradish cream sauce was beautifully created and presented. 
All in all, this is a lovely dining experience. The service is consistently excellent with very knowledgeable and polite servers. In the summer, they offer an outdoor patio. It’s not a full dining experience, but if you stay away from the sushi you will enjoy the remaining small plates that are offered. If you’re a hotel guest, this is a wonderful on-site lounge/restaurant during your stay.
CitySen on Urbanspoon

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