Today is my mom’s birthday, so my parents came to visit me in Jamestown from the far away land of East Amherst. We made reservations at Forte, which I was told by one of the actual employees at my internship, was the only actually nice restaurant in the city. So, that’s why we picked it. And it is definitely a nice restaurant. They literally do not open the doors until 5 o’clock so my family and I were waiting outside the door like a bunch of hungry puppies.
The menu at Forte is very diverse. They have dishes ranging from sushi to Mexican-inspired dishes to curry to Italian and a lot more in between. With all those options, some might be more adventurous than others, which plays into what the least ordered dish was, in my opinion. When I asked her what it was, our server told me that the least ordered dish was the Tataki Tuna Burger. The menu describes it as “pepper crusted seared tuna, tomato + ginger + sesame salsa, ciabatta bread, sesame fries.” Sounds a little scary to people that might be hesitant to step out of their comfort zone. And since I don’t really see Jamestown as a foodie-hipster-whatever town, I can imagine that is why it isn’t ordered that much.
The burger was presented very nicely. The tomatoes in the salsa were chunky and fresh. It also came with wasabi mayo, which I was nervous to try since I generally hate wasabi or at least the “wasabi” that comes with my not-really-that-fancy sushi that I buy. But the mayo really softened the flavor of it, leaving it with a nice hint of zest. I enjoyed dipping the fries in it. I felt like some of it went to waste putting it on the burger, though, because I couldn’t taste it on it. I suppose if I put all of the mayo on the burger I could, but that stuff was just too good to not eat my fries with.
Anyway, back to the burger. I have to be honest. The burger was not “swinging from the vines in the jungle” adventurously full of flavor. I suppose the flavor built as I got more into the burger, but overall it was fairly plain. Most of the seasoning was on the outside of the burger, so I was hit with flavor on the initial taste of the bite, but it got bland as I kept chewing. I feel like the burger was more sesame crusted rather than pepper crusted like the menu said it would be. At least I think the flavor was sesame. It definitely wasn’t pepper, but I’m also not really sure what sesame tastes like. I didn’t taste any ginger either. Overall, the dish was overpowered by what I think was sesame, since the fries were also “sesame fries.” So, unless you’re scared of sesame, this isn’t a scary dish. On the other hand, if you love sesame, this is the dish for you!
There is definitely room for improvement if the chef just decides to tweak it a bit. Like, a better balance of flavor and then have that flavor in the burger, too…I guess that would fall under a different type of balancing flavors. I get that if you have a seared tuna steak that you can’t really have the seasoning inside the steak, but since this is a burger, it would be easier to get some of the flavors inside, too. But that may be against the tuna burger rules since this is the first time I ever had one. But if it actually is against the tuna burger rules, that rule was meant to be broken.