* Click here for rating key
THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Empire Restaurant Review: Empire is the brainchild of Eric Moshier and Loren Falsone. Locally, everyone knows their story: Kitchen sweethearts, trained at Al Forno, open Hot New Restaurant backed by their mentors. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a location right across from the always-jumping Trinity Rep, Empire is hard to miss. The potential is there for the big-time. Chefs Moshier and Falsone have tremendous respect for the honest and earthy cooking of Regional Italy---indeed, that part of the Mediterranean as a whole. They are menu changes daily, a reflection of their commitment to produce that spells f-r-e-s-h. Order dessert when you sit down (house rules)---the likes of lavender panna cotta and lemon meringue crêpes are way too good to miss. Then mix-and-match from a menu divided among pastas, soups, pizzas, entrées and apps. Smoked salmon hits the high notes beautifully with shaved daikon, cooling cukes, mint leaves and a lemony vinaigrette. Something as simple as french fries is astonishingly good---textbook crisp and salty. But the spaghetti bolognese is watery and utterly forgettable. Among the entrées, we recommend anything thats been roasted: Salmon with pumpkin purée and balsamic, pork tenderloin with vinegar and mustard, even the sausages that come with veal sweetbreads and lasagna noodles. Can this place reach the Edible Promised Land? Heres how: Consistency.