|I'm so excited I started taking pictures just DRIVING by the place.|
|What New Yorker would pay for parking? A few circuits around and I had a spot 3 blocks away.|
Yes, we walk therefore we park.
|Full except for those 4 seats you can see across the bar. My favorite seat is just a bit to the right of where this pic is taken. You can see down the line and watch Eric & Co. work. It's almost as good as Lincoln Center.|
I got myself a beer and went into the lobby of the California Hotel to relax, enjoy the beer and peruse the cookbook.
|Waiting area in the hotel lobby. You can see my beer from here.|
The Bison IPA was a nicely bitter beer. I did find that without any food my palate craved something a bit milder.
|You can see my beer better from here! I own the other cookbook, "The Artful Vegan" so this book kept me company. I actually found my dessert recipe in here.|
After about 20 minutes I was called and sat at the bar, in a seat I had occupied several times before. Alice took good care of me.
|Have beer will travel, and here we are together with our new found friend, Cookbook, at the bar. The line is to the right.|
The other thing that wasn't available was the bread and spread. They ran out. (sigh).
|Crusted Oyster Mushrooms. One of the reasons I want to exist.|
|See, right there, complimentary bread. Oh well, next time.|
|Clear view of the devil's corner. That is the domain of the Pastry Chef. You'll see why later.|
|Looking across the bar at the dining room.|
|Looking across the bar at the front of the restaurant.|
The jam has a distinct sour/bitter note to it. I thought it was fighting the sweetness and winning. Grapefruit was an interesting choice, certainly one I'd never come up with and made an interesting dip. I'm not sure I'd pick it given a choice but glad to have the experience of tasting it. There was no heat in the jam from the habanero that I could tell but the mushrooms really need nothing else to put them on their own pedestal.
The radish salad with ginger aioli was a sweet pickled side that to me was the perfect compliment to the mushrooms.
|This little guy went for a swim in the pool before the others got a chance.|
|I put the roll back on but don't think this is what the plate looked like when it left the kitchen.|
|To the left the baby carrots, fennel, and parsnips.|
This dish was amazing despite a few shortcomings. Plating doesn't influence taste so lets put that aside. The only real "fault" with the dish was the dough wrapping was inconsistent. Some of it was flakey, some soggy and some overcooked, on the bottom, just tough.
Now lets move to the tastes. First, I want to say that as good a home cook as I am, (and I'm not bad), I am truly indebted to the likes of Eric Tucker for their ability as artists, to imagine and execute the flavor profiles they offer. I can't imagine like they can. I can't make it happen like they can. And they can.
This dish is truly a carnival of flavors and textures in your mouth. There is density of a wrapped food, individual tastes of rich earthy mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, the chewy feel of meaty savory seitan, lightness of chard and ease of bite of mushrooms. That's what you get in bite one of the roulade.
But that isn't where the explosion is. The explosion is in the reduction. A truffled red wine reduction. Mere words. To describe the indescribable. I could have slathered the whole roulade with this. I could have had this with bread to dip. (Had there been any bread). This reduction was drinkable. Bottle-able. Sale-able.
|What an amazing combination of ingredients, textures and flavors. You can clearly see the chard, mushrooms and seitan. The small yellow pieces to the left are the pickled chard stems.|
The vegetable side was perfectly cooked with just enough crunch left and the potatoes were pretty standard, mashed with a hint of garlic.
|This was a much lighter beer.|
|Pickled Chard Stems.|
|Eric Tucker, the Dumbledore of Millennium. I hope one day he opens a school and sends out the|
culinary wizards unto the world. Can you teach creativity?
|This picture doesn't highlight the dessert but with the coffee is the quintessential end of meal.|
|Chocolate Almond Midnight|
almond cashew crust, mocha chocolate filling, raspberry sauce, white chocolate mousse