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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dinner as a Show

That's what Alinea is. Edible art. The level of creativity (and some might say pretension) on display at this restaurant is next level and I'm not just talking about on the table.
lemon+luxardo bitter+amaro+grapefruit, apple+apple brandy+grenadine+thyme, cynar+carpano antica+flor de cana+squash (all very boozy one bite wonders)
Steelhead roe+dijon+rutabaga+grapefruit
fried yuba stick wrapped in shrimp and togarashi with a miso mayo
urchin encased in a vanilla, watercress and mint jelly with cilantro flower

Halibut with parsnip pure, black pepper, coffee foam and lemon (too delicious and consumed to quickly to be captured by my lens but it was an all-white dish with a variety of textures)
this while orb contains the next three dishes:
rabbit parfait with sage and butternut squash chip
crispy fried panko-coated rabbit rillette with sorrel & sage (pictured in a partially eaten state)
rabbit consomme, cinnamon stick and hot stone (stone not edible)
Wild morel and hedgehog mushrooms with pickled ramps, pine foam and sumac with jus
hot potato/cold potato: black truffle, butter (a one bite wonder)
tomato and black pepper pasta +

(clockwise from top left) smoked salt + blackberry+roasted/caramelized garlic+fermented garlic+pickled turnip+olives+red wine compote+tabacco essence+onion ribbon+tomato consumme =
beef short rib ravioli
yellowtail (hamachi) with west indian spiced (including a lit cinnamon stick), banana and ginger deep fried ball
canard a la cussy: duck breast over carmelized onions, duck rillette, foie gras, cock's crest on phyllo
Venison stead, cherry and cocoa nib under fragrant eucalyptus
black truffle explotion: romaine&parmesan

(at this point my stomach is about to explode as i have been eating not only my dishes but the remnants of the dishes of my dining companion when she has finished eating all the components she enjoys). One of the servers comes over to let us know this is the last savoury dish,
coming up: 7 dessert courses

yuzu snow frozen onto a ceramic cone
sweet potato custard, candied pecans, saffron cotton candy, bourbon crunch & pear(?) on a red cedar plant (heated and emitting strong aromas)
lemongrass liquid with cilantro, finger lime, cucmber and's a shot and requires a little suction
butterscotch+apple+thyme bacon, nutella encased in freeze-dried bread, banana + chocolate (very powdery consistency), lychee&jasmine tea sheath
finale: some of the ingredients

the final product.
chocolate & vanilla nitrous-frozen custard with milk chocolate sauce, honeyed organic milk sauce, pickled blueberries, blueberry chips, honey custard brulee (which transforms from liquid to solid before your eyes during the process) and peanut nougat

Sous chef Matt Chaseur come sauntering out and in a very pleasant but no-nonesense fashion begins painting this delicious masterpiece. Part alchemy and part chemistry it is fascinating to watch...couldn't help but sneak a peak at the artist's footwear-black leather & wooden clogs.

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