I had dinner at Aujourd'hui at the Four Seasons on Friday, a generous gift from my boss. Considering the price, I may never be able to eat there again. So I'd better write about this one, before I miss my opportunity. I'm going by memory alone, as the Four Seasons website still lists the Fall Menu as the current choice, so I can't remind myself of what everything was. So please pardon any errors on my part.
I had the Spring tasting menu, my girlfriend the Vegetarian tasting. I tasted none of hers, as she was unable to taste mine, so I can't comment on those dishes, but she was very pleased. We shared a bottle of Gewurtztraminer from Alsace, I know nothing of wine, but I'm trying to learn. I thought it was a good choice, sweet but not overwhelmingly so. Seemed a good compromise between our two tastings.
Started with foie gras, which I had never had. I anticipated a stronger flavor, but it was more mellow. Very smooth, with a sweet berry-ish sauce that was an odd flavor combination, but not bad. Hard to eat with the tiny little fork. I got the tablecloth a little foie gras-y and I thought they were going to kick me out. But they didn't. Next was the salad: chunks of lobster, on tiny pea-size spheres of apple and avocado, and greens. I thought the apple and avocado pea-things were a nice touch. They worked well together. The lobster was the right texture, but the flavor seemed muted somehow. I've always had my lobster boiled in salt water, maybe that enhances the flavor? I'm not saying that the lobster flavor wasn't there, but it was kind of blink-or-you'll-miss-it.
Next came a broiled piece of whitefish (what is french for schrod?) on a bed of mushrooms in a brown sauce. That doesn't sound fancy enough, I know, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. Maybe they were truffles or something. They could have been. Anyway, the fish was perfectly cooked, and delicious, but I found the sauce to be a little too rich, and salty. It overwhelmed the mushroom flavors. I think they need to take some of the salt from that dish and boil the lobster in it. But that's just me.
The main course was beef, small slices, with a spinach puree, served on tiny cubes of vegetables (beets and turnips I think). I really enjoyed this dish, the beef was cooked just right, red but not too rare, tender enough to cut with a butter knife. The medley of veggie cubes tasted fresh, and firm, and accompanied the beef nicely. The spinach was drier than I thought it would be, paste-like, but I decided that I really preferred it that way. A filling, satisfying course.
Dessert was the best part, an individual (baseball sized) warm chocolate cake with a bittersweet chocolate sauce in the center, which ran out just slowly enough to mix pleasantly with the frangelico ice cream and be scooped up with the bites of cake. Without a doubt the highlight of the evening.
The presentation of each course was wonderful, and the service was impeccable. It was exactly as I would hope service at a place like that should be, they were never there when we didn't need them, and they always appeared exactly when we did. We never waited too long for anything, and they were all friendly and talkative without ever starting to impose. Plus it was obvious that my girlfriend and I aren't exactly high rollers, so going in I was feeling just the slightest bit defensive, but I never detected even a hint of snobbery. The place was busy but not packed, we got there at eight and had reservations. We stayed two and a half hours, and the place was nearly empty when we left. All told, the bill was $240 including tip and the $50 wine. Too expensive for me to ever do on my own budget, so I'm glad I had the chance. If I had the money, I would love to eat there again.
And the next morning, for breakfast....a cream filled chocolate cruller from Mike's Donuts on Route 99 in Everett. Gigantic, crumbling slightly, glazed with sugar, the cream adding an over-the-top decadence that was not needed but was appreciated. Washed down with a medium regular coffee. Best way to start the day in greater Boston.