Showing posts with label fish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fish. Show all posts

Saturday, July 18, 2015

8 Course Menu, One Hot Philadelphia Night

Chef Nicholas Elmi.
Photos By Dimitra DeFotis
I was honored to be a guest at a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Philadelphia dinner at the petite Laurel Restaurant.

Our party of eight spoke briefly with owner-chef Nicholas Elmi, who was named reality television's Top Chef in 2013. He told us the restaurant has applied for a liquor license, though it remains BYO for now. So each household brought at least two wines. There was alchohol left over - and much tasted and tossed.

Some highlights:  The first course, at left, was one of my two favorites: a light vegetable start, with nearly indiscernible slices of razor clam. With smoked trout roe, green tomato gelatin, cucumber and ponzu, accompanied by Pol Roger 1999 champagne. Some of our wines needed to be on ice -- it was 90 degrees and we were outdoors.

Second course was pink and blue: Foie gras with rhubarb, granola. The Chenin blanc was too heavy - I enjoyed a Sauternes. I think sweet-and-puffy grains belong in breakfast bowls - whole wheat berries might be better.


By the fourth course, with enough bottles tasted to lose count, I was never happier to eat starchy gnocchi - a light ricotta version. It was served with pickled spring onion, potato espuma. It was served with two Italian red wines. And there were still four more courses.

Gnocci, Tuscan & Altesino 
Brunello di Montalcino
Next was a risotto with Australian truffle, which is a new phenomenon that is already $1,100 per pound. But Chef Elmi said Australian truffle is $300 cheaper than the typical truffle. Less fragrant, still earthy. He said it wasn't ready for harvest for years. My review: it's fine but still not fabulous. See the photo of the biggest mound of truffle I will ever see on my plate.

My notes, at this point, say "Lord Have Mercy." This was my other favorite course: fish from the Carolinas, called Walu. Peach Chanterelle, Swiss chard, seaweed butter. Two white wines.

Subsequently there was duck. There was a tiny loaf of bread, and there was a lot of water. The rear garden was pretty.
Tokaji Hugarian dessert wine.

Dessert was just what the doctor ordered: caramelized white-chocolate pudding, almond and cherry. Port and a Sweet wine served. I begged for a coffee. Amazing experience.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Orata: Is It Lavraki?

In Greece, Lavraki is a near mythical fish, ever elusive. When Greek journalists stumble upon a great story—snag that rare exclusive scoop—they call it a Lavraki, says Milos, a Greek fish restaurant in New York, on its website.

It's sea bass and is often called Bronzino on U.S. menus.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lemon Sole Off The Boat

Undisclosed Beach, NY -- Went to lovely mass this hazy morning at a Catholic church near the sea.
After coffee in the parish's flower-filled outdoor grotto, I headed to a pier-front vendor to buy some raw lemon sole fresh from the Atlantic Ocean. Cooked it in a pan with a tablespoon of water, and served with a little quinoa pasta pesto.
The seafood proprietor explained the local clams, made the case for local tuna, and offered me a raw scallop just off the boat - very tasty, no preservatives.
Better still is the fresh salt air on a protected beach.