I was inspired by Fine's recent post on Chaz and decided to go there again. The food is as good as ever. For full disclosure, I want to mention that I've been recognized as a regular by the chef/owner Charles Solomon, and it looks like I'm getting special treatment beyond my previous wonderful meals there (see fish course on the house below). But I became a regular because I really liked the quiet dignified place and the uncomplicated but deeply flavorful dishes with the stellar sauces. This is one of the rare places where I get away from flashy towering foods - there's just diner-friendly presentation and pitch-perfect execution here that now reminds me of many wonderful meals in France.
Tonight I ordered a perfectly cooked artichoke with duxelles (sp?) - I think that's the mushrooms - with bearnaise sauce. The sauce gives a rich edge to the artichoke which offers a nice muted crunch, while the chopped mushrooms provide another different kind of crunch, firm and slightly slippery. The lightly boiled greens below provide yet another texture - this time a crisp leafy cruncy that leads to juiciness - it adds a lovely counterpoint to this rich sauce.
I also ordered the pheasant main dish, but after the appetizer, the chef brings out a delicious clean-flavored halibut, silky under a light brothy lobster sauce. The potatoes that come with it are wonderful - still crunchy but devoid of any raw taste. It's on the house. He said that the pheasant was going to take a while and please enjoy the fish. I was wowed by the hospitality.
The pheasant comes and is more than worth the wait - juicy, tender and almost velvet meat with skin, a savorous sauce touched with a hint of sweetness, airy stripes of celery to contrast the meat and earthy chestnuts that provide additional sweetness in their soft homey texture.
Dessert was a delectable almond financier still warm from the oven with lightly crispy outer edges, a bright and sweet raspberry sauce and a scoop of sticky fruit sorbet (I think it was cantaloupe or something but could be wrong).
It's meals like this that reminds me why this place is one of my reliable favorites.