Four Doors Down, located in Buchanan’s old post office, dishes up casual, contemporary cuisine
Log on to four doors down’s web-site and you’ll see thirtysomething provocateurs in full glam mode, clinking glasses and making eyes to a purring jazz rhythm. Maybe that’s the scene at Tuesday’s wine-pairing dinners, at live-jazz evenings, or on Saturday nights. I visited on a Sunday, when graying bobs replaced silky updos, and turtlenecks stood in for bustiers. Okay, there was jazz on the soundtrack, but the aura was still more somnolence in the suburbs than Sex and the City.
Which was fine with this suburbanite on a school night. Inside the modest faÃ§ade of the original 1906 Buchanan post office, the proprietors have fashioned a vibrant, enveloping space of russet and scarlet. “Red supposedly makes people want to eat,” co-owner Steve Mauro tells me when I comment on the walls’ palette. And having previewed the casual, contemporary menu on the website, we do.
Chef Roger Rodbear, late of
Sips of a vibrant Monterey pinot noir from the restaurant’s wide-ranging, inexpensive list sustained us during the long wait for those appetizers, and again for our entrÃ©es. But as any King Kong moviegoer will tell you, the wait was worth it for the effects alone. A hulking tower of mussels was circled by a ginger-infused moat of lemongrass, cilantro, and jalapeno. My mother-in-law’s diet was no match for the succulent char-grilled rib-eye, so she might as well devour every morsel of spiced walnut and gorgonzola in its smothering heap of sautÃ©ed spinach. There wasn’t much holding back from a plate of wild-mushroom ravioli either, not when the dough is this tender, the filling this lush. You try restraint when there are brown-butter rivulets wending past perfect pasta and wilted arugula, the whole affair strafed with pine nuts.
The seared ahi, though, gave us pause, its exterior more warmed than seared, its interior flat-out raw. But sushi rules with our gang, so after rapid deliberation, we devoured that too, but not its vinegary vegetable slaw though, which even apple slices couldn’t redeem. And though the chicken breast was expertly pan-seared and moist, the accompanying asparagus was served overly charred.
There’s a reason those website fashionistas are raising wine glasses and not feeding each other dessert. Of the four we sampled from the limited selection, only the chocolate cake, its center a ravishing ooze. I yearn for a pie of apple or pear—not key lime—on a chilly night, but that’s what is offered. It was adequate enough, nicely tangy if a bit dense, but infinitely better than the tiramisu special, a cake cube as gargantuan as it was dry with nary a lady finger or lick of mascarpone in sight. Vanilla ice cream was touted as homemade, but lacked richness and any evidence of bean flecks.
And could that actually have been canned whipped cream topping an overly alcoholic specialty coffee? Even the most preening fashionista deserves better than that.
FOUR DOORS DOWN
265 Tate Ave., Buchanan
Dinner, Tue. to Sun. 4:30-10 pm
Brunch, Sun. 9 am-2 pm