Sorry about my extended absence. I was studying/doing yoga/sleeping/watching "White Christmas" twice a day and eating a thousand molasses cookies. Take your pick.
A few weeks ago I was in Detroit around lunchtime. I used the Urban Spoon app on my iPhone (I love this app) to find a restaurant nearby, because, although I am a dyed-in-the-wool Michigander, I am completely ignorant when it comes to geography in the city of Detroit. I was driving to my destination, turned a corner and was completely shocked to see The Spirit of Detroit punching me in the face. I had no idea where I was.
Anyway, Urban Spoon told me that I was two blocks from Opus One. I've been wanting to try this place, and even though it was raining a miserable drizzle outside, I decided to hoof it over.
The restaurant is BEAUTIFUL. It was completely decked out in Christmas decorations. I slipped into a little booth with a view of the entrance because when I'm eating alone I like to have an option to do some serious people watching. During my first interaction with the waiter, however, I should have known that something was fishy. I told him that I had never eaten at Opus One before and asked him for some recommendations.
He told me that he doesn't normally work the lunch shift and wasn't terribly familiar with the menu. Oh, ok. Ignore me. That's cool. I studied the menu like I was actually thinking about it (I wasn't. 90% of the time, I know what I'm going to order within 10 seconds of looking at the menu) and ordered what I knew I was going to order all along- the chilled quinoa and avocado salad. With grilled salmon on top. Because I never met a fish I didn't like.
The bread was ok, but it takes a pretty solid effort for a roll to knock my socks off. I was prepared to be underwhelmed, but the salad was fantastic. No, fantastic. After weeks of eating nothing but turkey, ham, potatoes, coffee cake, and the above-mentioned molasses cookies, this salad was just the ticket. It was lemony, parsley-y, and the quinoa had some bite to it.
A classic problem of mine is that I don't carefully read menu descriptions. I would have begged them to leave the olives out. As it was, I pushed them to the side of the plate and left them in a soggy heap. I can't abide olives.
The salmon was great. Flaky, slightly buttery, just short of medium. The avocado, however, left something to be desired. As an ingredient that warrants top billing, I imagined there would be more than two measly slices. Alas.
I'm a slow eater, but this salad didn't keep me occupied for more than 25 minutes. I then SAT, ignored, banished, for another 30 minutes. The waiter paid attention to every table surrounding me. I knew that he had somehow forgotten that I was there. And I was pissed. I tried to assuage my rage by paying attention to the woman working at the coat check. People came in, many of them obviously for their office holiday lunch, and they didn't want to check their coats. If they did decide to check their coat, they wanted to get their phone out of the pocket first. "Leave your phone!" she would tell them. "It's the holidays! We don't always need to be texting!"
After I decided that I really couldn't wait any longer, I got up and asked the maitre'd to have the waiter bring me my bill. As I sat down the waiter turned towards my table and the look on his face was one of utter shock. "OH!" he said. "I'm so sorry, I forgot you were there."
Why would you TELL ME THAT? Apologize and give me some free cake, for the love of Pete.
He did neither, so his tip suffered and I stalked out. But I would go back. I've been recreating the pairing of quinoa, avocado, and lemon juice at home, and I'd give Opus One another shot in case they have another genius recipe for me to emulate.