Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Lunch at Neiman Marcus Walnut Creek
My infatuation with having a Neiman Marcus in my very own town continues.
Today my friend Starr and I decided to treat ourselves to lunch in their small restaurant.
Having been advised by the maitre'd to arrive early for lunch, we got there at 11:30 a.m. With just 13 tables in the entire dining room, almost all the tables were already occupied.
But, there was a table for us...and a very very nice relaxing lunch.
As we were perusing the menu which features daily specials and a fairly large regular menu, we were presented with a tiny cup of hot bouillon
and the "famous" Neiman Marcus Popovers.
When the popover server placed a Popover on my plate, he also set down a ramekin of molded Strawberry Butter, right next to my Popover plate. I quickly picked up the ramekin to move it closer to Starr, thinking we would be sharing this generous serving of butter. The server quickly "corrected" me saying that we each got our own ramekin of butter. Silly me to even think otherwise :-)
While I'm a big fan on Neiman Marcus's Pecan Tuna Salad, I decided to try something else, the Shrimp Salad with Green Goddess Dressing. Starr ordered the Mini Crab cake Sliders.
Both dishes were delicious and very very generous in size. Starr thought the crab in her crab cakes might not be from crab that was freshly cracked for preparation, but enjoyed her meal all the same. Every ingredient in my salad, including the poached shrimp, was fresh as could be.
When our meals were served, we were asked if we wanted more Popovers....we did and they were served with fresh ramekins of Strawberry Butter.
By now, I was feeling totally decadent. The only way this lunch could have been more decadent would have been if we had ordered cocktails or glasses of Champagne...the four people at a nearby table drank an entire bottle of Champagne during their lunch.
While dessert was not something we truly craved, we decided to share the day's featured dessert, a Chocolate-covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!!! When our server heard we were sharing it, she had the kitchen divide it and served us each our half, each one garnished with a fresh Strawberry.
I had a cup of tea and Starr had coffee.
I also asked to take home a box of 4 of their famous Chocolate Chip Cookies (boxed with Neiman Marcus's recipe for their special version for Walnut Creek) and a bag of one big Chocolate Chip Cookie. I mentioned to our server that I'd pay for this separately as we would be splitting the lunch check.
Once again, she took things in her own hands and presented us each with a check for just what we had ordered...and even divided the cost of the shared dessert. A chocolate "stick" accompanied each check.
Lunch at Neiman Marcus is more expensive than my usual quick sandwich and apple lunch but well worth it for attentive professional service and delicious food. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals and our visit.
An observation about the menu: Most items have their calorie counts on the menu...not the desserts or the popovers, but the other dishes. Calorie counts are very low for what tastes like very rich food. For example, the dressing for my salad was made with Greek yogurt and the dressing was served on the side. The "Go Figure Cuisine" section of the menu gives a complete nutritional breakdown of each dish in this section.
Another observation: at about 1:30 there were several empty tables, but they were starting to fill as we were leaving the dining room. But, I'm told that until about 3 p.m., there can be a wait of half an hour or more for a table for lunch. Reservations are not accepted.
The restaurant is open until 7 p.m. on weekdays and until 6 p.m. on weekends, allowing a full two hours before the store closes to comfortably serve its diners.