Nov 07, 2011 4
Chef Michael Kramer spastically left the Tasting Room recently, leaving all to wonder why. We met just days before during an interview in which mum was his word. Not one single solitary sentence revealing his impending exit. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Dues are paid in full for this chef, as heads still spin from his stint at Voice inside downtown’s Hotel Icon. One with Kramer’s talent must keep moving, edging closer toward dreams of restaurateur glory. Pause.
We were recently enlightened as chef Kramer sat down for an interview. Kramer describes Felix 55 as being the only chef driven restaurant in the village. He went on to say he would like people to think of Felix as a really cool restaurant for regulars to hang out while experiencing great food & wine. Don’t even try to think for a single second that this building is a special occasion place, for Kramer maintains this thought is false.
Sadly, Felix 55 is owned by another. Chef Kramer describes the owner’s wants as that of a very casual dining atmosphere with low prices. While that’s all fine & dandy, meeting in the middle was a must. As one may provide the funds, a chef must ultimately make the menu reflect his or her own style.
From the bar to the dining room, style is of the essence. Felix 55 places an easy feeling of effortless class and calm. From the art to the cool colors of the dining room, they maintain sophistication without an over fluffy feeling of stuffy. Gorgeous sorda chandeliers are just the beginning, for the bar is even better.
Cozy couches accompany a long line of chairs as you make your way to the bar. Felix 55 is somewhat serious about their signature scratch cocktails, which is clearly stated on their menu. Perfection takes time people, so prepare to wait for the bartenders to create.
Happy Hour in the bar exists daily from 3 – 7 p.m. Select wines, mojitos, martinis, and call mixed drinks are available for $5. Food is also offered for $5 as well. If you happen to be one of the few humans still excited about truffle, Felix 55 offers truffle fries with parmesan cheese & parsley. Another option is ricotta-corn fritters, as well as vegetable flatbread, ceviche, BBQ beef sliders, and the always needed on every happy hour menu… pulled pork tacos.
Sea scallops are prepared using charred corn, Israeli couscous, lemon sauce, and… bacon. My scallops arrived with… no bacon. If a salad is the dish in which you wish, the small plates section offers a fall salad with pears, endive, pecans, bleu cheese, and sherry vinaigrette. A baby arugula salad is also offered with Fuji apple, pine nuts, parmesan, and white balsamic vinaigrette.
Ah, potato gnocchi with brussels sprouts, grape tomatoes, parmesan broth, and chorizo. When pig is an inevitable ingredient, it’s always exciting to have the option of eating around it.
A major menu winner is the Peruvian style ceviche with leche de tigre, cilantro, lime, and crispy tortilla chips. Moving through the menu, the only soup to be sought during dinner is mushroom with crushed hazelnuts, truffle goat cheese, and porcini powder. Truffle goat cheese? Yikes.
Chef Kramer said it takes lots of love & patience for good risotto. Crimini mushroom risotto with tomatoes, chive, and parmesan broth is one of Kramer’s signatures. As well it should be, for it possesses plate licking power at its very best.
Mushroom flatbread with teardrop tomatoes, mushrooms, caramelized onion, and truffle oil is on both the lunch & dinner menu. Um, a mention must is the prosciutto flatbread with garlic, avaline mozzarella and arugula.
First to taste from the large plates section of the menu is Gulf Coast grouper with black olives, capers, fingerling potatoes, and tomato confit. Kindly calling the menu home is a fall vegetable plate with seasonal vegetables, Israeli couscous, tomato conserva, and herb oil. Not much more for those that don’t fancy steak, chicken, duck, pork chops, and braised beef short ribs. Please & No Thanks.
Pleasantly placed in the addition section of the menu is a side of lobster mac & jack gratin with pancetta. Other sides to be added to your entree are parmesan polenta, truffle fries, mustard glazed potatoes, and fried brussels sprouts.
Dessert is limited to four choices. We tasted the chocolate hazelnut bread pudding with hazelnut ice cream & bourbon-caramel sauce. Felix 55 also serves a gooey chocolate cake with espresso angalise & caramel ice cream.
A definite dessert win is the orange-fennel panna cotta with berry compote, candied fennel, and biscotti. Another option is basil infused creme brulée with basil custard, burnt sugar, and berries.
Besides his talent for cheffing, Michael Kramer is quite the intriguing being. During moments of leisure, this chef bikes an average of 60 miles a ride. It seems the only thing holding back sunshine & rainbows is Kramer owning the kitchen in which he cooks. After asking why his most raved about super secret signature dish from Voice is nowhere to be found at Felix, he basically said forget about it. Experiencing this joy again is to come when Kramer is his own boss, so for now, we will enjoy Felix 55.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch