I've only been to L&E twice and both times I left wishing I felt the same way about the food as everyone does (especially the critics who shower praise and awards left and right). It's not that I don't like the food but I just find everything satisfactory and don't understand all the fuss. I love the drink program, especially the whiskey selection, and I enjoy the concept and atmosphere. It's a perfect fit for the neighborhood - a little rough around the edges but sophisticated and comfortable at the same time. I appreciate the no reservation system but I hate it when they need the entire party there just to start the clock - that seems a bit unfair - and even though we waited a solid 45 minutes on a weeknight I could have sworn other parties got seated before us that shouldn't have (taking care of friends maybe?). Lastly, when the bill arrives you definitely remember you're at a Michelin Starred restaurant because they can charge like one. I didn't find the particularly good ($13-16 small plates, entrees $22 +). Bottom line, it's a cool spot with unique characteristics serving creative cuisine, but with a confusing front of house, average tasting food and an expensive bill - I wonder when I'll be back next.
We started aggressively with the Buffalo sweetbreads - a play on buffalo wings - that was interesting and had a nice sauce and no hint of sweetbreads really, as well as the order of meatballs. I liked the meatball sauce a lot and the meat itself was fine, but I don't like how small the portion is (4 small meatballs I think for $6). Our main course consisted of the following: Erica went with the Slow Roasted Cauliflower served on Beluga Lentils with Carmelized Onions and other veggies, Kate ordered the Seared Maine Day Boat Scallops (with Black Truffle Cream of Wheat, Beech Mushrooms, Pickled Ramp Bulbs, Pea Shoots, Citrus Emulsion), Brad had the best dish of Crispy Confit of Pork Belly (with Butternut Risotto, Klug Farm Apples, Squash, Soy Chestnut Broth) and I mixed and matched Organic Werp Farm Greens with the English Pea Agnolotti.
Erica and I were both underwhelmed with our vegetarian dominant dishes and even preferred the roasted cauliflower dish from Bite Cafe much more. My salad was tasty salad but the agnolotti was small and didn't do a lot to excite me. Kate's scallops look huge and well cooked, no complaints from her, and Brad's pork belly was the winner with a very tasty butternut risotto.
I'm not trying to hate on L&E, I think some things are well executed and it's a fun atmosphere to enjoy, but the menu tries too hard to unique and the pricing doesn't make sense. Still a worthy box/experience to check for local food fanatics.