By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Though rougher than rich polished planks, pork and shrimp dumplings had the color of the dining-room lumber. They're greaseless, crisp pillows gripping a core of meat that is firm, pliable and sweet. The coat maintained a firm grip on its crispness even in the tarry flood of Indonesian sweet soy that reduced the green fringe at the base to a patch of wilted fluff.
Quality sticks when the color goes green. Fried green tomato is a slice buried under a heap of sweet crab slivers and celery in cilantro cream. Ribbons of bright red pepper sauce with strands of still more cilantro cream wreath the tomato, a tangy and juicy slice with a frail, crisp crust gripping its underbelly--the beauty of a feather touch.
You have a prime accomplishment on your hands when you can merge this touch with service that is brisk and fiercely attentive. And for the most part, Tucker's service hits this note. Yet at times it was betrayed by wine bottle pours, which seemed driven more by reflex than gentle observation. The result: frequent, petite Tommy-gun bursts of red splashing into glasses one-third full (our server obviously saw them as two-thirds empty).
But Tucker really went off the rails when it trains its lights on the sea. Fillet of smoked sea bass, a perfect pearly strip of fish lounging on a bed of leeks, shared space with a pair of tangy roasted tomatoes. This fillet had little discernible smoke. Worse, it didn't flake. It was dense and rubbery, a cruel caricature of the alluring menu description. The lime-ginger sauce that bathed it was brisk and smooth, begging to foil a better piece of fish, one with buttery richness and a propensity to flake.
But these are workable problems. "Food is a dynamic, synergistic entity that changes with the seasons, times and attitudes," says Ormsby. Good thing his restaurant is named after a car with a dead-center headlight that follows the curve of the road.
3113 Ross Ave. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; open for dinner 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. $$