Monday, March 03, 2008

Another great "underground" dinner

I've written before about "underground" dinners I have known. Last night, one of the best -- chef Joseph Conrad of Qube in Seattle, who's been in the city for just seven months. Boy, am I glad he's here. A combination of a finely tuned palate, a playful attitude towards food, and an amazing calm efficiency to his kitchen equate to seven+ courses that surprised and challenged my mouth and made it very, very happy. Photos and a little bit of description. Bet it will make you hungry!

An amuse-bouche of cured salmon and pickled cantaloupe inside avocado. Great array of textures and tastes - creamy/salty/ tangy.

This "seaweed" salad was comprised primarily of fennel fronds, with hijiki seaweed and tangerine, dressed with a nicoise olive viniagrette. Honestly, I never thought about cooking fennel fronds to serve; I just use them under fish when I roast it.

This was truly cool: yellowfin tuna "ramen" noodles with minced Asian pear and edamame, and a white soy broth/dressing. the radish sprouts added a nice spicy note, almost like having some wasabe alongside.

How about a little chorizo, made with shrimp instead of pork? The sausage rounds were topped with croutons and had a frisee salad hiding yummy pancetta cubes. The chorizo had some coarse-chopped shrimp integrated with the ground meat so in texture and appearance it looked like the fat you see in the pork sausage.

About here I was beginning to wonder if I'd make it through the entire meal! This is Maryland wild striped bass, over a fennel puree garnished with hearts of palm, pomelo, and trout roe. I usually don't care for fish skin, but I polished this one off.


Now for the pasta course, of course. But nothing ordinary about brioche gnocchi with black truffles and fois gras foam.

You almost can swing a cat and hit someone serving braised pork belly -- but with orange and sambal chile styrofoam and a tangerine jus? I think not. No, that's not a chicharrone on top, it's the styrofoam.

Dessert? Chocolate, of course. A Vahlrona chocolate cake with dulce de leche, Mexican hot chocolate emulsion, chicory coffee syrup, and "chile sugar."

With coffee I got a nice surprise. (When is a second dessert not a nice surprise?) This one was a mind-bender. Foie gras shortbread topped with fleur de sel, and some ethereal marshmallows that looked like chocolate truffles coated in cocoa, but were pretty much the exact opposite in texture.

The final amazing thing about this meal? I didn't have the wine pairings, so it was a little easier to waddle out to my car!

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Thanks for the update and pix! It was great to meet you. See you underground!