It’s time to toss out the iconic tortilla soup and elevate chef Bruno Davaillon’s carrot soup to regal status. The deep orange liquid flavored with ginger and star anise is earthy and rich, with a slightly sweet undertone, and finished off with a drizzle of shrimp butter. Once the creamy broth is gone, you find a surprise in the bowl: a large ravioli stuffed with shrimp and cilantro. It was once on the Taste of the Mansion lunch menu ($32), which also featured a delightful tuna tartare over diced cucumbers and a dollop of tomato sorbet, and a slightly seared skate wing—a sophisticated summer lunch. Recently at dinner we tried two seafood entrées. The seared snapper and sea scallops bathed in a bouillabaisse broth scented with fennel were tender and soothing. The Atlantic halibut stuffed with piquillo pepper and white bean purée was crusted with small bits of chorizo, which masked the taste of the delicate fish. However, the crusty exterior of the rack of lamb gave way to delicious, warm, red meat complemented by white grits and Texas kale. Despite only five populated tables in the dining room, we were all seated side by side and could not help but overhear our neighbor’s conversation. The awkward situation turned interesting. I asked the waiter for a half glass of Pinot Noir, and after it was delivered, I called him back to say it didn’t taste like a Pinot Noir. The waiter confessed he’d poured from an open bottle of 2005 Skouras Agiorgitiko Saint George from Greece. The couple next to us, guests at the hotel, turned to me and said they’d tried the wine, and they’d loved it. We ordered a bottle and shared a wine experience with new friends.
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