The Mansion remains a place to celebrate 50 years of friendship or a significant birthday, perhaps in the private library room with its flickering fire. There is an inherent weight to the venerable restaurant, even the mere mention of it. Meanwhile, new executive chef Tom Parlo seems most at ease in an idiom of lightness. Avocado in thin petals lay over peekytoe crab, fresh as though just plucked from the sea. An encircling chilled blood orange soup was visually stunning, and a glimmer of gold leaf crowned the avant-garde jewel box, forward as The Mansion’s decor itself—modern and bold, though still classic. I loved a wonderfully fresh salad with microplaned beets, golden and candy-striped, and goat cheese panna cotta with a subtle tang, as voluptuous as Burrata. Black truffle showered ravioli filled with ricotta and a verve of lemon zest. In an oxtail composition centered on rich, nuanced flavors, citrus, star anise, and foie gras mingled enticingly. Parlo is at his best when he is taking such risks. I was less impressed by meats with dark, sticky sauces; a repetition of granola for texture; a gravelly risotto with al dente vegetables. In the past, pastry chef Nicolas Blouin’s desserts have punctuated meals like a brilliant, necessary conclusion. On a recent night, however, it felt as though the two minds were working to adjust to each other and the new direction, just shy of an elegant, synchronous waltz.
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