Had dinner w/Mr. J on 1/2/04 at Marinus. We requested the Chef's Table @ the advice of a friend, not quite sure exactly what this would mean (other than that we would be seated in the kitchen)!
My overall assessment: the food is absolutely amazing here but my advice is: if you are going to spend the $ to dine here, experience the Chef's Table if you can!! On top of an incredible gastronomic experience with A+ service, you watch a non stop show and depart with a most unique experience.
Here's our menu, executed by Chef de Cuisine Christophe Grosjean, who graced our table many times during the evening and left us grinning at the end.
Amuse: salty cod brandade cake
1st: Hamachi with osetra caviar, Japanese cucumber and yusu vinaigrette. Very well done but basically, a combination of outstanding ingredients.
2nd: seared main dayboat scallops served atop a Dungeness crab filled ravioli with blood orange and mint foam
3rd: Chestnut butternut squash agnolotti (raviolis) with truffle foam and roasted hazelnuts not sick of foam yet and at this point, Mr. J is smitten with the cuisine.
4th: free range squab with chestnut-shallot ragout and black truffle shavings perhaps the greatest dish of the evening, despite a "very sad truffle season", says the chef. $1K/lb vs. $400-$500/lb avg for winter truffles.
5th: seared Kobe beef with pomme dauphines with truffles and chanterelles .chef tells us he cannot procure Kobe anymore (is this is tit for tat between Japan and the US over recent mod cow ban by Japan on US meat?) but claims this meat from PA is even better we agree and have a picture to share but cannot figure out how to upload it (sure, they show you the meat before throwing it on the grill, 8 feet in front of you!)
6th: cheese plate of morbier, tete de moine, valencay, and perail de brebis, with walnut bread, apricots and other dried fruits
7th: cara cara orange sorbet with citrus salad and mint we cried Uncle at this point, nixing dessert, but pastry chef, Cameron, said there is always room for sorbet and to brought several fresh cara cara oranges to our table, sliced them and told us all about their origin, in order to convince us.
Total food tab was $85/person, which I thought was very reasonable compared to restaurants I have been lucky enough to experience (Gary Danko, French Laundry and Charles Nob Hill). We added a few special wines to drive our tab up (1/2 btl 00 Sauzet Puligny Montrachet (chard), 98 Rayas Chat. De Pape (red blend) and ½ btl Dujac Clos St Denis (pinot)) but I was incredibly impressed with the sommelier and wine program they had more than a few bottles under $30, and PLENTY under $50, which I have never seen in their peer restaurants.
Sorry so long - I just felt like the details were necessary to give this place its due description. I cant recommend it enough!
I hope I am posting this in the correct spot - it is not quite "rest of CA" as it is less than 2 hrs from SF.