Thursday, March 5, 2009

Courses 3-7

"Clam Chowder"
Geoduck clams with house made bacon, potato balls, spring onions and micro parsley in a toasted corn consomme.
If you don't know what a geoduck is, look it up, they're crazy clams, with a great flavor.
The clams are broken down and the meat is blanched. The potatoes are scooped with a parisenne scoop and cooked slowly in clarified butter.
The toasted corn consomme was one of the highlights of this dish. Amazing sweet, toasty corn flavor in a perfectly clear broth. The corn is toasted and cooked in a vegetable stock (which is something I used to make at 5:30 in the morning!). This vegetable stock has carrots, leeks, celery, onion and turnip in it, with garlic, button mushrooms and whole peeled tomatoes as the aromatics. After the corn is cooked in this stock, it is clarified with a egg white raft, which collects all the proteins in the liquid, making it perfectly clear.

I didn't think of it when I was eating it, but one of the chefs came by and asked me what I thought, and he said, "clam chowder", and I thought, "of course!"

At many fine restaurants they give you a spoon that is only used for the caviar, and this is one of them; made entirely of mother of pearl. Mother of pearl has a completely neutral flavor, whereas steel does not, which would take away from the flavor of the caviar.

Pig's head with nusturtium flowers, creme fraiche sauce and California white sturgeon caviar.

Pig's head is such a great thing. Here, all the meat from the head of the pig is carved off (cheeks and such), wrapped in cheesecloth in a cylinder and cooked sous vide for 8-12 hours. It is then sliced, battered and fried, giving it a crunchy texture on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside. So incredible. The creme fraiche is a very simple sauce, maybe whipped with a little bit of agar or gelatin to make it a little thicker and seasoned.
The tartness of the creme fraiche was a perfect complement to the sweet meat from the pig. And then the caviar! For all of the dishes, every individual component is incredible, and then when you taste them all together, also incredible. I made a point to taste every single component as well as all the components together, and it was awesome.

Uni with seawater snow, cucumber, and sesame sorbet and micro green garnish.
Uni is sea urchin. The French Laundry gets this from Japan, where it is a very sought after product. It has a very tender texture, and cannot be cooked. The cucumber is cooked sous vide and cut into perfect small dice. The sesame sorbet is made with sesame paste, a little bit of sugar and milk, then put through the ice cream machine. The seawater snow, I believe is made by putting salted water through the paco jet, which is a machine that will quickly freeze any liquid while whipping it at the same time. It was a great way to salt the dish.

The uni was salty and sweet, it was great. The sorbet was incredible, such pure sesame flavor and creamy.

Halibut wing with cured trout roe and microparsley.
This was like no other fish i've ever tasted, so perfect. It was so meltingly tender, I believe it had to be oil poached, at a very low temperature. The trout roe were cured, so they were very salty, little explosions of flavor in your mouth.

This dish was incredible. The halibut was so tender, so flavorful, I love fish, but I didn't know fish could be this good. The roe was such a perfect complement. The eggs would be in my mouth and I wanted to explode every single one of them just so I could taste them. I remember thinking, "I don't want these to just go through my digestive system without tasting them in my mouth!"

Fried Japanese squid with watercress, pine nuts, rice and a ponzuri sauce.

I've seen the chefs process the squid, and it's incredible. The tube is flattened out and scored on a diagonal to create the markings that you see on it in this picture. When it is fried, it curls up. Watercress; the most perfect leaves, picked by hand so there are no blemishes. Rice is cooked in a rice cooker and ponzu sauce is added to it. Ponzu is soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, kumquat and dashi, a japanese paste.

Awesome looking plate, great texture on the squid and such a flavorful rice. The little bits of kumquat in the rice were awesome; the little citrus bits in there with such intense flavor.

No comments: