Gimme That Old-Time Cuisine

At Carlos' house, they play by the rules

Dedrick also shows a professionally restrained hand with steak au poivre, allowing just the right amount of green peppercorns to rev up a mustard-brandy demi-glace. The sirloin, a 14-ounce New York strip, was crusted with black peppercorns but not so many that you could taste only spice instead of beef. Masterful. In fact, the only dish we felt fell short all evening was probably not the head chef's fault. Medallions of veal Marsala had actually been pounded too thinly, resulting in a loss of both moisture and texture, but prepping scallops of meat usually falls to a kitchen underling.

Besides, it's easy to forgive anything when a crock of crème brûlée, lidded with a pane of caramelized sugar, is available to finish off a class act of a meal in an equally traditional manner. The maison might belong to Carlos, but his domicile is a welcome haven for the culinary homeless, myself included, who used to wander around Clematis.

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