Top of the Hub’s innovative, always-changing but always-satisfying menu is simply worth both the price and the bitchy treatment you will inevitably receive from the prim little-black-dress clad hostesses working there if you neglect to make a reservation. (As someone who just doesn’t do reservations that often but likes to spontaneously drop in on places even if there is an hour wait, I’m used to the latter). Personally I prefer the lounge area as it is a bit more laid back while still serving up the same menu. Plus the cigar club style leather sofas in this room are way more comfy than the anorexic, IKEA-looking stiletto-heeled chairs in the dining room. Now onto the food…
This tuna tartar was a fantastically unique Latin American take on a class dish (unlike Mare’s version, see below). The fish itself was cut into larger chunks than is traditional, which allowed the tender tuna flesh to completely engulf your palate in its clean flavor and moist yet firm texture. Bits of cilantro and lemon complemented the fish well and pulled it into a South American direction, as did the layer of very ripe, mushy avocado which capped off the tartar tower. To add the contrast which crunchy, toasted baguette usually provides in the classic French version of the dish, a think, crisp sliver of savory plantain lay on top of the tower, ready to be used as a fork to scoop up the fish with. A garnish of seaweed salad and a small pool of spicy mayo added a great Japanese hint to this otherwise Latin American tuna tartar, bringing out the versatility of the fish while in no way clashing with the other ingredients.
This was a phenomenal dish. The bread was crispy and supported its toppings very well. A very generous amount of hearty, perfectly juicy, fill-your-mouth-while-you-chew grilled tenderloin chunks were scattered over the surface of the pizza while a creamy, slightly tangy cheese spread and an earthy roasted tomato aioli were drizzled over the top, giving the dish a great combination of flavors which blended together beautifully.
The crabmeat was deliciously plump and flavorful, although the crab cake as a whole wasn’t as great as I expected it to be. There was nothing to hold the pieces of crab together and the lump of meat was a bit dry in itself. The roasted pepper remoulade was a pretty tasty combination of flavors, although it did not add much moisture, which was lacking in this dish. The cake could have also come with a bit of salad or something to contrast it in flavor and texture (eg: provide a fresh, cool counterpart to the warm, filling crabmeat).
Crunchy, plump, perfectly cooked shrimp wrapped in a crisp, golden-fried, not too greasy, not too moist tempura coating. The pineapple went wonderfully with the flavor of the shrimp, giving it a tropical island twang and the black bean sauce gave it a great depth of flavor. The purple udon-like, earthy buckwheat (?) noodles provided contrast of both texture and flavor, making this a very complex and fun dish.