Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Gastropod (January 23, 2008)

Two reviewers: ts and js

Just a note: I don't like it when the bread isn't served warm! =(

They actually had a few more than 3 choices for their Dine-Out menu. Some of them had additional charges associated with them (supplements). I'm not too sure if I've listed all the choices there were, because I wasn't paying much attention (wasn't trying to memorize the choices) and they didn't have their entire Dine Out menu up on their website.

crispy house bacon, croutons, bacon froth
-- or --
seasonal vegetables grilled and marinated, cream cheese, chive oil, vegetable glaze
-- or --
fresh bc oysters, sauternes jelly, shallot reduction
-- or --
SCALLOP [supplement]
gribiche sauce, shaved raw veg salad, serrano ham
-- or --
DUCK TWO WAYS [supplement]
leg of duck confit, parfait of liver, parsley root puree

I had the oysters.

I actually wanted a different appetizer, but I thought I'd order this because I think it's one of their signature dishes. I don't especially like raw oysters; I would never crave them. But I thought that perhaps his garnishes/garniture would make it more special.

Well, I had problems. The "snow"! The "snow"! (The snow was shaved ice.)

The whole thing was SOOO cold that I couldn't taste anything! And it hurt my teeth! I think the latter was more of a problem. Since it hurt my teeth, I couldn't really chew it. I even tried waiting a bit before eating more, but that didn't help. I also tried keeping the thing inside my mouth to let it warm up and perhaps let the flavors come through, but that didn't work either.

My tongue only "tasted" a little of this dish, basically it was just a battle trying to eat it without pain.

For starters, I had the scallops with serrano ham.

This was my A-HA!, epiphanic moment, when I discovered that I really don't like scallops that are not cooked. There was a $5 dollar supplement on this dish, but there were 5 sizable scallops on the plate, 2 sizable pieces of the serrano ham, and quite the blanket of shaved vegetables.

The shaved watermelon radish looked beautiful. The shaved vegetables were quite nice: I liked them better than the scallops nor the ham.

The scallops were seared on one side ONLY. It was half-raw and there was a fishiness to it that I didn't care for.

I agree re the scallops. It was very underdone. I had some of this dish as js didn't really want to eat the scallops. I liked the gribiche sauce. Let me look it up... Ah, it's like a French vinaigrette but with hardboiled eggs & cornichons added.

truffle sabayon, sautéed spinach, shitake mushroom
-- or --
sous-vide breast, roasted thigh, garlic purée, daikon,asian pesto
-- or --
wasabi sabayon, pea shoots, warm citrus bulgur salad
-- or --
crispy breast, figs, yam puree, yellowfoot chanterelle
-- or --
VENISON with some stuff, including a venison cannelloni bolognese

I couldn't resist: I keep ordering duck when eating out!

I was quite happy with this. I don't remember if it was all that crispy, but I guess the skin wasn't "soggy." There were a few pieces of tiny chanterelles on the plate. I'm sure they tasted good/OK. I really liked the yam and fig purees. (I think they had fig puree and yam puree, instead of just yam.) The sweetness of the two really went nicely with the duck.

I'm not quite sure why it was called "Sunflower Duck", seeing as there were only a few crushed up particles of sunflower seeds. Probabaly 2-3 seeds max, coarsely chopped/ground.

For my main, they made a booboo of my order.

I ordered the spring salmon, but the server brought a cube of something else. It turned out that they brought the pork shoulder instead. Normally, I wouldn't mind pork shoulder, but this was pork shoulder to the power of pork shoulder, very, very overwhelming.

Pork shoulder as a cut is rich and pork-y: when braised long and slow like this, it turns very tender and almost melts in your mouth. This pork shoulder was also very tender and melty. It would have benefited from some acid though to cut through the richness.

My plate also had about 5 pieces of spinach and 1 shiitake mushroom cut into 6 pieces. The 5 leaves of spinach and the shiitake were very good: it didn't have the normal sauteed vegetable taste but something else, quite different that was good. Don't know what it is: not butter, I don't think -- can't place it. The mashed potatoes that came with it was also good.

The dish was just too much and I couldn't finish it. Also, points off for not having the skin crispy. The skin was soft and limp, which I couldn't eat. If it were fried and crispy, I would have had it in a heartbeat. It would also have added a much needed textural difference to the dish.

I must say, the plates (at least, judging from the dishes we had) were quite bare-looking.

(Haha, js' "5 spinach leaves and 1 shiitake cut into 6 pieces.")

earl grey syrup, raspberry sorbet
-- or --
selection of the kitchen
-- or --
Warm cheesecake served with fresh fruit salad, blueberry purée

I had the chocolate fondant cake. It was nice and chocolate-y (with a molten center). I didn't care much for the raspberry sorbet; I don't really like raspberries. In fact, i switched our sorbets around: JS had a mixed berry-type sorbet, so I put that on my plate and put the raspberry one on hers.

The earl grey syrup was rally nice; I love earl grey. Good thing I tasted it by itself though, because once it was combined with the cake (*and* the sorbet), it lost its identity. I couldn't really taste it then. Too bad. =(

For the dessert, I had the cheesecake. Nothing bad to say about the cheesecake. In fact, I quite liked it. It wasn't like regular cheesecake though. They must have used some other cheese to make the cheesecake. The sorbets that came with it aren't that good though (of course).

Overall, I would say 6.

All in all, the execution of the dishes was very good. I guess the food just isn't something I would crave or think about.

The food, based on my satisfaction level as well (and not just the execution) is about 7-ish/10.

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