Although understated in their exterior appearance, entering The Kitchen is a joy! You're greeted at the double glass doors by the aromas of a wonderful kitchen in full production and white shirted servers who guide you to your dining area. This is not a usual dining experience... You are advised early on that you're a friend of the family, and you're at their kitchen for dinner. Everything is at your disposal. Everything is designed to make you happy and fulfilled. You can do anything you like, go anywhere in the facility that you like, think of this as your best friend's home...and enjoy accordingly!
A foodie's dream, a number of guests are seated at the counter surrounding the center island serving kitchen, the remainder (larger parties, etc.) are seated at tables which are close in enough for the show. The premier chef introduces the courses, and creates a number of sides right in front of the audience. Major cooking is done in the spotlessly clean commercial kitchen immediately behind the chef's island.
The ingredients are as fresh as can be, the menu items are ordered in by the menu. The Kitchen serves about 50 diners, four evenings a week. Expect an incredible experience that lasts for several hours. You will be coddled, catered to, fussed over and permitted to get into the cooking arena if you so desire.
Ah, but the food... There are four courses which change weekly, divided by a palette cleansing break of sushi/sashimi noshes served in the patio by the fireplace.
Our first course was a patty shell filled with sauteed mushrooms (chanterelles, crimini, et. al) and diced potatoes, creamed in a wild turkey gravy, garnished with micro-radish leaves. At the side were two batter fried rock shrimp drizzled with a Thai aoli. The courses are artfully plated in front of the guests and questions are answered as the food is set up. The second course was a seafood course; white and green asparagus reduction ladeled in the plate, topped with a dollop of asparagus rissotto, sauced with a delicate buttered lobster sauce, topped with a broiled Australian sea bass fillet, garnished with green and white asparagus tidbits and micro-herbs.
The portions are sufficient to experience the combination of flavors, yet not so large as to be overwhelming. Additional portions of anything and everything are available for the asking.
The sushi/sashimi break was offered on the patio, giving the servers time to reset the dining area and rearrange the cooking area for the final courses. "Maki" rolls were offered on large platters, garnished with sashimi (maguro, ika, and saba) and slivered scallions. A large platter of oysters on the half shell were also available, with lemon slivers nearby. We were treated to soft-shelled crab bites, marinated and deep fried to succulent perfection, and tempted to take a walk on the wild side with the offering of "Japanese potato chips," which were Japanese river crabs, fried whole and eaten the same. A unique experience, they were crunchy and slightly salty, with just the slightest whiff of crab flavor underlying.
Back to the dining area, our next course is grilled breast of baby chicken, served atop a crepe pillow stuffed with wild boar carnitas, sauced in a lovely southwestern chile cream, garnished with micro-cilantro. This may have been my favorite of the night. The chicken breast was delicately tiny and every so succulent and tender. The carnitas crepe was a brilliant presentation.
The final meat course was a beef tenderloin served atop a bed of sauteed spinach and dollop of seasoned mashed potatoes, sauced with a cabernet-balsamic reduction creation, paired with a gently heated portion of duck foie gras.
Dessert arrived on a lovely plate decorated with fudge and caramel sauces, with fruit purees dashing off the corner. The warm carrot cake was served with a creamy sauce and topped with chopped candied walnuts, paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream studded with chocolate morsels. At the side were diced organic strawberries making an early Spring appearance. In a brief break, a customized tea service was offered. Fresh and dried herbs, spices and fruits were blended to the specifications of the diner. I chose a combination of lemongreass, fresh kaffir lime leaves and mint, which ended the night perfectly. A scoop of passion-fruit/mango sorbet followed to close the evening.
While the presentation was fabulous, the attentiveness impeccable, the food of the highest quality, The Kitchen additionally sports an incredible wine list for the diners' pleasure. Recipients of the Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence, guest's preferences are matched by very knowledgeable servers. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Set aside about 5 hours, and be prepared to plan several months in advance, this is an experience worth the wait and the cost. Not an inexpensive dining experience by any means, The Kitchen will entertain you, cater to your every desire, and make you feel completely at home while teasing your tastebuds and making the time fly away without care.
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