Jan 8, 2008


I became obsessed with molecular gastronomy after reading an article written by one of Guy's clients--while I don't think anyone would ever call the food scene in New York boring, there does seem to be a certain amount of repetition. Beets are suddenly on every menu. Oh no, wait, now it's pomegranates. Something a little more adventurous and experimental sounded, at the very least, worth trying.

So, for our three and a half year anniversary*, Guy planned a surprise. A surprise which he came so very, very close to keeping a surprise. He told me what to wear (less gay than it sounds--he gave me a dress for Christmas and told me to wear that) and that it was an experiment. And then the day before he 'fessed up to his plans. Really all for the best--it gave me the opportunity to study the menu.

We were right there in that corner booth spot. My brown dress matched the decor. It was early, and therefore empty, so I felt absolutely no hesitation in demanding advice from our Paul Rudd-ish server, who declared that we had given ourselves the best possible meal without order the tasting menu.

Guy ordered the popcorn soup with shrimp medallions and tamarind-marinated jicama. It was exquisite. The soup tasted like creamy popcorn, but wasn't in any way overwhelming. The jicama was a surprisingly strong burst of sour--but the shrimp. Oh, the shrimp. At first bite, all you tasted was popcorn soup. Chew a couple of times, and all of a sudden there's lemon. And then it's gone, and you have shrimp. Amazing.

I did not intend to eat an entire slab of foie gras all by myself, but I did. Guy didn't get it--he also didn't notice that the lentils made of mole sauce were exactly what we'd been reading about and fascinated by and why I ordered the thing, but anyway more for me. And I'm feeling fine today; my heart is still beating and everything. I loved the consistency and the just damn coolness of the lentils, but they didn't taste too mole-y to me. I've had tiny melting yumminess of foie gras before, but never a big old steak of it, and my lands, it's rich. But if I loaded a bite with beads of mole, wriggling foie gras, and a smudge of quince yogurt, all these flavors smooshed together and became much more than they were on their own.

Guy deviated from his original plan of lamb, and went with the Paul Rudd's suggestion of pork belly instead (hey, I ate the foie gras all by myself--I don't want to die alone). It was a little dry in places, but the fattier bits (normally not my favorite thing) were squishy goodness. The sunchokes were crispy, and Guy at first mistook them for water chestnuts. The caper sauce had a little mustardy bite to it--which was nothing compared to the ancho-soaked pineapple slices.

I ordered the scallops. They were normal-sized, which I was relieved to see; giant scallops are a little too milky for me. I'm a mushroom fan, but the black trumpet mushrooms just seemed to be kind of there, and not really part of the dish. However, everything else worked together wonderfully well. The scallops and mushrooms were sitting in a broth of spice bread, and laid over the top were cranberry fruit leather strips. Taken on its own, the cranberry was way too tart--certainly wasn't cranberry cocktail fruit leather. But with a swirl in the broth, a dab of chestnut mayo from the corner, the bite was excellent.

Dessert, however, was by far the best dish. While I was fascinated by the white chocolate, potato, and white beer ice cream, I was pretty full from all my foie gras, and we went with the yuzu curd and shortbread. The yuzu had the consistency of soft cheese, and sat on a salty shortbread cracker. The pistachios were ground up into something resembling a granola, as well as a smooth green sauce. And dabbed about the plate were little white spoonfuls of spruce yogurt. Which tasted like spruce. In a good way.

And then we went home and watched Buffy. Because that is what we do, and crazy good food doesn't change you all that much.

*The three and a half year anniversary of us getting together. Not of us getting engaged, which is in April, or of us getting married, which I guess technically is August 2009 (though we did toast it in 2007. Cause we're weird). Lots of opportunities for celebration.

1 comment:

awwwfancy said...

Guy referred to this dinner when he called to check in--I had no idea it was Wylie Dufresne's (sp?) place! I am jealous beyond jealous. Look up some of the famous restaurants that inspire guys like him--I think El Bulli in Spain is one (don't plan on going there) and the other is something with an animal name in it (Spotted Pig? Something Duck?) in England.

I want a sort of three year anniversary (if that's what it said--my eyes were obscured by bitter tears of jealousy and hunger).