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Emile Jung's menu @ Sandrine's, Harvard Sq., Cambridge


Restaurants & Bars

Emile Jung's menu @ Sandrine's, Harvard Sq., Cambridge

Limster | Feb 4, 2004 12:45 AM

A single clam, lightly glossed with (olive?) oil, mildly chilled, brings out pleasant flavours of the sea. A nice visual setting in the halibut terrine, layers of colour: green specked edge of tarragon gelee, yellow and red peppers, pale potatoes, white fish. Soft peppers and moderately firm potato against stiff fish make for a good textural variation, the moderately fish flavoured halibut delicious coupled to , the bright smokey flavours of the peppers that lend a Provencal (rather than Alsatian) character to the this. Little pools of an aioli-tasting sauce, lightly spiked with a point of heat that carries delightfully into a sip of the matched Riesling, a sweet citrusiness that blends into a steely mineral finish. Then a cleansing vegetal bites from some greens, lightly dressed in olive oil.

A leg of duck is baked in a freshly baked pastry shell that crunches or shatters into fragile leaves, crispy gossamers around the tender mildly rosy duck, a mild livery flavour mingled with something savoury that I can only associate with certain variaties of Chinese sausage. Plentiful little buttons of lentils add their earthy qualities, as do a dark wild mushroom sauce, sticky, catching quickly to the fine, many layered pastry shell. On the side, a little tangle of buttered cabbage, with a bit of snap and a small bright carrot.

This munster is a serious cheese, rich against the raisins and roasted fan of a pear, molten and soft against the crispy slice of warm toasted bread beneath, mildly but distinctly pungent above the sips of sweet darkly golden port, an sticky echo of raisin, an excellent match for the cheese. Would not expect any less from an Alsatian kitchen.

A chilled blood orange mousse of some kind is sweet and sharp, with concentrated flavours. I especially enjoyed the intricate triangle of thin almond brittle, fragrant with the toasted nut, balanced against a lattice of caramelized sugar. Garnished with wedges of blood orange, lovely bittersweet orange rinds with chocolate and drizzles of caramel and chocolate.

Considering the quality of the cooking, this was a fairly priced dinner (but certainly no bargain), very good craftsmanship, very French in character, though not completely rooted in Alsace. I was impressed with the very suitable wine pairings and very glad with the meal.

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