Just back. Four primary courses, two chef's gifts.
The primary courses:
Frozen geode of mango with freeze-dried, apricot, white beer sorbet, and lime juice gel with lime zest (by Rick Billings of Clio). Was quite good - very clean, and the beer sorbet was fantastic - but the geode slipped around a fair bit on most people's plates. The geode was pure mango puree frozen in a balloon, dropped into nitrogen to form something that did indeed look like a geode.
Chevre cheesecake with vanilla roasted pineapple, mint, walnut, and bitter coffee fudge (Pichet Ong of P*ong). Hands down my favorite dish of the night. Made with creme fraiche and cream cheese as well, rolled into logs like chevre, rolled in cookie crumbs instead of herbs, cut into wedges like you'd see in a salad. Stunning. Luscious, rich, light, amazing. Heaven.
The third course is hard to describe. Inspired by a Jackson Pollock painting called No. 14 [grey] (see http://www.momastore.org/wcsstore/MOM...). From the menu: mozzarellacustardbubblessilver, crystallineandliquidlycheeflavors / black,crystallineandliquidchocolatepudding?violets, violets / silenubemilkchocolateaerated / softchocolate / nougatlychee / caramel (by Jordan Kahn, Michael Mina Group). All of this arrayed in a manner reminiscent of pollock. The silver mozzarella custard was in places hard sheets, in others like ink from a paint pen. Visually amazing, didn't hit me in the gut like the cheesecake though. I could have eaten five servings of the cheesecake.
Fourth and final listed course was apple pi (the math symbol, by Will Goldfarb of Room 4 Dessert). A light sablee cookie with sorbet of apples tatin and vanilla ice cream and a small, lovely wedge of epoisse cheese. My second favorite dish of the night. Great balance of savory in the cookie and sweet in the rest of the dish.
After this, a champagne glass of hot chocolate and chocolate liquer. The consistency was just this side of pudding. Good stuff. Then a final little trinket of what felt like egg custard in an edible clear gel wrap. Pours of pinot (red and white) the whole night, then an overly long but still interesting panel discussion by the pastry chefs with the Globe food writer.
I'm very eager to eat at P*ong now. The chevre cheesecake was a remarkable mix of complex and simple, traditional and new, and was at the same time a challenge and utterly comforting.
All in all, $30 well spent per person. Although my glycemic index is trashed, it was a great little experience.