Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Couple of August Dishes

Here are a couple of dishes from recent tastings: 
Steelhead and Tomato Tartare

This Steelhead Trout tartare is as simple as it looks and relies heavily on the freshness of its constituent ingredients. The tartare is cubed Steelhead belly, cubed tomato, capers, shallots, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of shichimi togarashi. Garnishes are house-made crème fraîche, salmon roe, cilantro, and more shichimi togarashi.

Duck Prosciutto, Fig, and Onion Salad
And this is a bit of fun, showcasing our recent batch of duck breast prosciutto that is now 12 weeks of age and ready to eat. On the plate is a drizzle of saba, a syrup made by boiling down grape must. Then a caramelized onion jam, fresh figs, salad burnet, micro arugula, and very thin slices of our duck prosciutto. This dish is starting to show that our minds are moving into fall, here in late August.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dare to be Different

I remember customer wine ordering patterns a decade ago, around the turn of the century to a little after:

"I'll have a glass of Merlot." and "Please bring me a glass of Chardonnay."

Then for a short while during the summer of 2004 thanks to the movie Sideways, we couldn't give away a glass of Merlot. Miles seemingly singlehandedly put the words "Pinot Noir" on everyone's lips. The mantra was then:

"Oh, I'll have a Pinot please." Yet Chard still held sway in the white world. But by the spring of 2005, Merlot was back on top. That run wouldn't last forever, though.

Sometime in the last three or four years, customers moved on, in response to what stimuli, I don't know. Today, it's:

"I'll have a Malbec, please." and "Please bring me a Pinot Grigio."

This all strikes me as rather boring and, well, frankly, as an abdication of one's responsibility to continue to learn. Never mind that learning can be fun—seriously, how distressing is it to have to drink a glass of wine?—I always thought that it was one of the delights of growing up: learning for the sheer fun of it when nobody, not a parent or a teacher, is breathing down your neck.

We have a wine list here at the restaurant that is 70-plus in number of wines on offer by the glass (and this doesn't count many more than that by the bottle). Why is that? Because we love to learn about wines ourselves and we have fun sharing what we have learned with others.

So, know that we cringe a little bit each time you blindly call for a glass or bottle of the same old-same old.

Know that we spend a lot of time in finding really neat wines from lesser-known grapes such as Asprinio, Furmint, Robola, Melon de Bourgogne, Lagrein, Mencía, and Gamay Noir.

And know that we'd love to share them with you.

Will you dare to be different? Will you try something new?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bagel and Lox

Some dishes are just inherently fun and this is one of them, our whimsical tribute to bagels and lox.

Bagel and Lox
For the bagel component, we're using sliced and dehydrated bagels for a crisp, cracker-like effect. The lox is our own house-cured prosciutto of steelhead trout. I call it prosciutto for it is more akin to a country ham than it is to gravlax. We cure it for about a week, rather than a couple of days, and then hang it in front of a fan for another week to further desiccate it. At the end of this process, it becomes very much like a ham and like a good ham, it is intense and salty and full of umami and just a little goes a long way.

For garnishes, we have a honey-dill mustard, baby dill, tiny capers, salmon caviar, and the latest product to come from our ice cream machine: sour cream, caper, and dill ice cream. The creamy texture of this frozen sour cream is a lot of fun and is taking customers really by surprise and they're loving it.

Just having fun here with our re-imagining of a classic dish and our tribute to great delis everywhere.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sockeye, Squash, and Tomatoes

Sockeye, Squash, and Tomatoes
Fresh sockeye just flown in from Alaska sitting on a bed of yellow and zephyr squash "noodles" dressed with olives and a feta-olive dressing, topped with a salad of rehydrated tomatoes and oregano flowers.