Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Elements - power lunch in the big city

As a lowly engineer, I'm not usually wined and dined. But at least today, my chains were released and a colleague and I were taken to lunch downtown by our IT consultants. The five of us went to Elements, which is the space previously occupied by Palomino.

Elements embraces the earth, wind, and fire aspects of nature as evidenced by their logo. Of course, as a downtown upscale restaurant it has a very urbane and chic interior design. The walls are a sage/taupe mix with pale purple ceilings and recessed lights that have dangling pendants. All of the servers wear black pants and cobalt blue shirts, which would have been an awkward coincidence if I wear my cobalt blue shirt and black pants as I originally anticipated on Wednesday. At the last minute, I switched to a purple shirt. So at least I wouldn't have been accused on slacking on the job as I sat down at the table to eat.

One of my lunch mates had been to Elements before for lunch and heartily endorsed two things: the pumpkin soup and the porchetta panini. I felt I had to get a glimpse of these warlocks myself, so that's what I ordered up.

The pumpkin soup is a pumpkin soup tinged with curry, intermixed with mint leaves with a scoop of crabmeat in the center. It was an intriguing mix of flavors that worked. Slight complaint - the soup came out with not an orangish/brownish tint, but rather a mustard yellow complexion. It was slightly off-putting, but the taste made up for it.

My lunch (pictured below) was the aforementioned porchetta panini, a thinly sliced section of the pork belly and side of pork. A piece of radicchio gives the panini some crunch, but I wished the meat itself had a hint more flavor. I'll leave my initial method of eating the sandwich to one of my lunch mates to explain, but suffice it to say I usually make things harder than they need to be. The sandwich was served with a side of fries that were heavily seasoned with an Old Bay type of mix. The element that was going on inside my mouth when I ate them was "fire", as in my mouth was on fire. Too much seasoning for my liking.

Two other people ordered the eggplant parm manicotti that was topped with a section of salted olives. There was a creamy sauce that it was bedded on, but I'm unsure what it made of. Both of them definitely enjoyed it. Here's a picture of the eggplant parm manicotti.

The highlight of the meal for me was the dessert we ordered (what the heck, it was on our IT consultant's expense account). For the past month, I have had an unsatiated lust for chocolate mousse. Today, for at least one day, I was able to quell the beast inside of me that constantly craves chocolate mousse. It was served as a rectangular shaped piece, alternating with chocolate cake and topped with a crunchy piece of toffee. Absolutely fantastic. Hats of to the pastry chef.

All in all, I recommend Elements highly. I would probably not order the fries again due to the excessive seasoning, but there are a multitude of other choices to choose from. Check it out even if you're not in town to close a huge deal or getting wined/dined by a consultant.


  1. Dale, Berra, Stash - love the blog!

    Long time reader. First time poster.

    As alluded to by the blogger, there was a sandwich incident which needs expounding. In fact, from this point forward I will refer to the blogger as “The Incident”. Anyway, after several weeks of my boasting about how great Elements is, my group had a perfect opportunity to show our gratitude to The Incident’s organization by taking a select few of them out for a Christmas lunch to said restaurant.

    After our plates were served I reminded The Incident to take some stills of everyone’s dishes. At that time I noticed that the layout of his dish was slightly different than another one’s who had ordered the same dish. Basically, his sandwich wasn’t stacked the same. Most of the time I expect a sandwich to be fanned out, but his was more or less stacked (awkwardly at that). Not thinking too much about that, he proceeded to take the pictures and we all dug in. After a minute or two, I happened to look over at The Incident, and noticed that he had a less than usual approach to consuming his sandwich. I got his attention and said, “You know… there are two pieces to that sandwich?” He rolled his eyes in his own recognition of error, and with a small burst of laughter at the table, everyone else also noted his mistake. He had taken the awkwardly stacked sandwich as being not one half stacked on the other, but as a very large “double-decker” type sandwich. I’m thinking had I let him continue on his misguided path, he probably would have completed the sandwich much like one would devour an apple. Kidding, of course, but he separated the sandwich into its intended form, and the rest of the lunch was uneventful.

    Just a couple of quick comments about his comments. The pumpkin soup is somewhat mustard colored because squash is also part of the base makeup of the soup, even though the menu doesn’t state this. Elements in their trendy sort of way have a very minimalistic way of presenting the menu. There are no dish descriptions short of what the main components (elements) of each dish are. I guess this is sort of an elemental approach. Speaking of elements, we agreed that they should include some sort of chemistry integration with each dish. For example, Aluminum, or Healium, or Uranium Isotope 232, this incidentally spawned a dialog that was quite funny but too much to get into here. As far as the fry seasoning goes, I agree that it is way too much even though I really like fiery foods. I will definitely enquire about what substitutions I can get should I order a dish with fries in the future.

  2. lol, Brian. You should see him eat a kiwi. Ask him about it some day...

  3. All right, I'll share this little anecdote for the Interwebs....

    A few years ago, I was at a brunch and sitting at a table with some friends. The wife of one of my friends asked if I would like a slice of kiwi from her plate.

    I said "No...I really like kiwis, but the hair on the skin really irritates my throat." Everyone at the table started to laugh, until they realized I was dead serious.

    The wife said "You idiot. You're supposed to take the skin off of kiwis."

    Since this was in 2008, that meant from roughly 14 years I've been eating the "hair" on kiwis.

    Where were my parents on that one?!