Krys' post last week had me all teary-eyed, even though I've only been to one dinner at Bizou all these years... So, last night, I dragged my friend along to try this week's tasting menu.
After a martini for her, a glass of Prosecco for me and a dozen Kumamoto oysters to share, we finally decided to order one 5-course tasting menu and several appetizers. This turned out to be a perfect game plan, and gave us a chance to try many of chef Keller's specialties.
The starred dishes are from this week's tasting menu; our waiter served them in a different order to pair better with the other dishes we had.
Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic and Arbole Chili* - A great dish, though it really did need a squeeze of the lemon it was served with. Not much heat here, but really wonderful depth of flavors.
Batter-fried Green Beans with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce - I thought these were very good, though underseasoned. The batter was light and flavorful, the beans were still crisp, the dill-heavy tzatziki was a perfect accompaniment... but I couldn't help wishing that the beans themselves had been better-seasoned.
Roasted Sweet Peppers with Cured Anchovies and Rosemary Focaccia* - Oh, lord, this was a revelation. I do NOT like anchovies. In fact, they are the one food (along with sardines) that I have forever wondered "what is all the fuss about"? I want to like them... just... don't. Well, Loretta's touch has coverted me. If all anchovies were fresh, meaty, not "oily" like this... I would eat them every day. They reminded me of the really good "house-cured" saba I had at Hama-Ko many years ago.
Seared Foie Gras with Roasted Pears & Mache Salad - The liver was near-perfection... firm, but yielding and juicy. The roasted pears didn't really do it for me (though, I'm not a pear-lover), the mache salad was amazing with a rich, sweet balsamic reduction dressing. There was also a small square of gelee - it could have been liquor-based, though it tasted strongly of honey. Very nice little flavor accent.
Warm Fava Bean and Artichoke Salad with Pecorino and Nasturtiums* - This dish was really unique. I'm not a huge fan of fava beans, but I think if I were, I would have loved this one. The beans were cooked to a perfect tenderness, and the bright dressing cut the richness of the beans and artichoke hearts.
Smoked Butterfish with Arugula, Creme Fraiche & Caviar - I didn't care for the fish here... there was something about it that didn't taste right to me... on second though, I wonder if it didn't have more to do with the fact that I ate a creme-fraiche sauced bite right after a bite of my artichoke salad... It gave me that same sacchariny weird taste sensation at the back of my throat. Hmmmm. Interesting.
Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chop with Asparagus and Mint* - Oy, another amazing dish. This pretty much rocked. The mint sauce was reminscent of a chimichurri in it's savory-garlickiness... the chop was cooked perfectly, which can be hard to do with such a thin, bony cut. I would have licked the plate clean if I could have done it without destroying my dignity.
Bittersweet Chocolate and Coffee Vacherin with Candied Almonds* - There is a reason this dessert is famous. Our waiter, thinking we were done, picked up our plate with one last 1/2" bit of meringue left on it, and I nearly jumped OUT of my seat to stop him.
Fifty-Fifty - Couldn't pass up this Bizou classic; it's a buttermilk panna cotta layered between tangerine gelee. Fabulous. Amazing textures, with a sweet-tart flavor that is incredibly reminiscent of its namesake, the Creamsicle.