Restaurants & Bars 10

Rubicon DAT Dinner

Melanie Wong | Jan 19, 2005 05:17 AM

Two weeks ago the gang of girlfriends had our monthly dinner at Rubicon. It had been a few years since my last visit. It was my turn to pick and I was lured back by the DAT promotion. On this rainy night, I had a new appreciation for how relaxing and cozy it can be while providing top notch service. A party of seven, we were seated at the round table at the back of the ground floor. We all ordered from the DAT menu selection, and noted that the promotion was the first page in the menu book and not hidden away.

The wine steward took a quick look at the two bottles of wine we’d brought in – 1993 Michel Lafarge Beaune Greves Premier Cru and 1996 Jasmin Cote Rotie – and returned with the appropriate stemware all round. Michelle stage-whispered to me, “there now, you have a wall of Riedel in front of you, feel better?” And, indeed I did. Wine service was excellent throughout, living up to Rubicon’s rep.

A small rosette of goat cheese mousse adorned with toasted pepitas, crackly bread crumbs, EVOO, and some olive puree was the gift from the kitchen. This interplay of creamy, chewy, crisp, and oily textures was the first of many carefully constructed textural combinations that would delight us all evening.

Choices for the first course were:
Sake steamed Bouchot mussels, marinated melon & shiso
Preserved yellowfin tuna in extra virgin olive oil, cannelini beans, dandelion greens, cumin crème fraiche
Autumn green salad of red pears, flame raisins, Capricious goat cheese, crisp sweet potatoes

I didn’t try the salad, but I loved the other two. The saucing on the tender and mild mussels was exquisitely haunting and elusive. Miriam said that without the description of the ingredients, she would have never figured out what the flavors were. The aroma of the shiso leaf was so exotic and enticing. I had to stop myself after dabbing two bits of bread in her light yet very flavorful sauce.

The tuna dish was not at all what either Kathy or I expected, but we loved it just the same. A conical pile of the combined ingredients in the center of a huge bowl, the flavors steeped into one another and were punctuated with a dab of cumin crème fraiche on the side for contrast. The dry crunch of the croutons mingled with chewy greens, creamy beans, and dryish bits of tuna. The tuna itself was a fairly minor player.

The salad greens were piled high on small plates. Across the table, I watched Cynthia taking tentative bites of the crispy chips of sweet potato saying, “I like these, but I don’t know what they are”. Later I noticed the same chips left behind on Barbara’s plate, and she commented, “they don’t have much flavor, so I didn’t eat them, the pears and everything else were good.”

Image: http://home.earthlink.net/~melaniewon...

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