Black Cat is a new restaurant in Boulder and my fine dining club went there last week to check it out. The décor is very unusual with remnants of chandeliers forming two rows of crystal down the length. The tables near the wall each have love seats, which made for a delightful, nearly Romanesque experience. Short linen curtains separate the tables but hang limp and wrinkled. I am not sure they add much to the overall ambiance. The walls are painted black with paneling on one side. We were there on a very chilly night, but the room did not exude any added warmth or charm, which would have made us inclined to linger longer than we did.
Black Cat is failing in some critical ways. The first example happened when we first arrived. We had to hang up our own coats on a coat rack hemmed in by debris. I had to struggle getting a hanger and fitting it on the rack that was already crowded with staff clothing. The host looked on with impatience while I struggled. The next missed opportunity was the speed of the service. It seemed to take forever to get our appetizers even though there were only two other occupied tables. They also forgot one of our glasses of wine and we had to flag someone down to get it. On a positive note, our waitress was extremely knowledgeable about the preparations of everything offered and was enthusiastic about the food.
The table ordered the lamb, veal, and duck as entrees with salads and the scallop appetizer as starters. The salad was good but the scallops were a bit disappointing. Everyone liked their entrees but agreed that they were all so similar in the style of their sauces that there really was not enough of a difference between them. It would be hard to go and explore the menu further. The one interesting thing to note was the pureed celery root that came with the duck. No one at the table had had that before. It was mild but interesting.
Dessert was a major disappointment in my mind. We ordered the white chocolate fondue and the apple spice cake. The later was a very dry micro-muffin with a sauce. The fondue was fine but mild. I confess I like heavy chocolate desserts that scream decadence or unique preparations that leave you begging for more. These were just ok.
I also have to rant a bit about the oh so common issue with over charging for lattes in our area restaurants. Six dollars for a small cup of latte when regular coffee, even French pressed coffee, is half that seems absurd to me. It is just a little added milk. Still it does seem to be the trend. One of these days I will find the perfect after dinner latte.
The group agreed that Black Cat had much to work on but that it had potential. Diners want the entire experience and the bane of many a restaurateur can be a poorly trained staff. The menu changes frequently, so it is worth checking out if you are in the area, but don’t go in with high expectations.