Daniel Mondok's new restaurant called Sel Gris on Southeast 19th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard is a welcome addition to the SE food scene. I had a chance to dine there a week ago with my buddy Sam Sundeleaf. We both appreciate food and wine and that evening we arrived not knowing what to expect. The dining room is compact, very sleekly designed with a distinctly modern architectural edge. The open kitchen is brand spanking new and the seats at the counter should offer foodies a ring side seat to seeing what is coming out of the kitchen.
The menu leans toward French, Spanish, Italian/Meditteranean. The price points for all dished compare favorably with Lauro's, Three Doors Down and Castagna. We started with Mussels Piperade and a Duck Confit Salad. Both appetizers were top notch and we commented that the Mussel dish was the best we had ever eaten. For fans of Carlyle this mussel dish was one of Daniel's creations when he worked at that restaurant. The Duck Confit Salad was a contrast of the crisp, luscious duck and the tart and crunchy frisee bed of greens it was served upon, very nice.
For the Entree's we ordered a Braised Lamb Shank and a dish called Halibut Mac & Cheese. The Lamb Shank was good (I have probably made better at home, but then again I know how to cook). The Halibut Mac & Cheese was a seared piece of Halibut over a post-modern rendition of Mac & Cheese. This dish sounded interesting, but the flavors were a bit out of sort-Halibut being a touch too fishy and the pasta too creamy and could have been substitued for polenta or a nice risotto. On the scale of yuck or yum, lets just say "not a yum".
That said, the meal went well with the 2003 Archery Summit "Red Hills" Vineyard Pinot Noir and the Torbreck GMS-2005 (I think).
Dessert was a great cup of coffee and a deep fried berry cobbler.
Score on a 1-10 scale =8 (we will be back)