Three owners and four years ago, one of my first great meals in Boise was at Richards of Hyde Park. While Richards has had major changes over the years, there have been constants as well. Something must be working right, just look at the wait staff. At a nice restaurant it is important to have a good server, but even more important to have one with tenure. It is a good sign that employees stick around.
New owners (new meaning the latest) Erik and Jennifer McLaughlin have continued another constant ... quality. But, just as important, they also bring the attitude of top-notch customer service and being part of the community.
I know Erik and Jennifer personally, and it can be a challenge to review a friend's establishment. You want to be fair, but you also don't want to pull any punches. My experience is naturally going to be different than others because while the McLaughlins give personal attention to customers, they give even more to regulars and people they know, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Never afraid to suggest a wine to match an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert, Erik is the wine expert and one would never make a mistake by letting him suggest a wine to go with a meal.
Chef Randy King arranges seasonal dishes that match the schizophrenic Idaho weather. We enjoyed lamb kebabs with tzatziki ice cream-the grilled organic lamb matched with frozen yogurt-based tzatziki gifted us with a temperature dichotomy in our mouths. This appetizer is big enough for a meal, but we were here for a feast. The Chêvre stuffed dates, although arranged beautifully, seemed visually diminutive on the plate. Eyes can be deceiving, however, as they exploded on our tongues with more flavor than we could almost handle.
For our entrées, we split and went for the soup/salad meal and the black truffle rubbed filet mignon. My publisher did not find her chilled advocado and asparagus soup to her liking, but I found it to be delightful. It was complex and refreshing, but perhaps too much to blend with another item. Her only objection to Randy's salad-organic mixed greens with candied pistachios and an apple cider vinegrette-was the extremely candied pistachios, again, which I liked and ate for her. My filet mignon tasted divine. A shared scoop of berry ice cream for dessert and we waddled home, satiated.
-Bingo Barnes likes his food, and your food, and her food ...