english muffin, whipped pork fat, chives
radish, drip of sauce (Not sure what)
long island fluke sashimi, soy sauce, spicy buttermilk (sriracha?), poppy seeds, maldon salt, chives
bacon dashi, matsutake mushroom, summer beans, baby turnips
sous-vide egg, hackleback caviar, fingerling potato chips, onion soubisse, red vinegar, herbs
sweet corn ravioli, diced chorizo, cotija cheese, pickled onion, lime zest
pan-seared halibut, pepperoncini puree, onion brulee, basil oil (missing a couple veggies here)
micro planed frozen torchon of foie gras, lychees, pine nut brittle, riesling gelee
duck breast & leg, cherries, chinese long beans, fresh water chestnuts, bean sprouts
pineapple sorbet, dried pineapple chunks
yellow cake ice cream, fresh strawberries, chestnut halvah, peanut butter soil
I also did the $50 pairing, and having watched my friend get the $85 pairing, I am very glad with my choice. In all I started with a bubbly Rose, had two whites, two sakes (the sweet sake was so good, our dates ordered it on the side for $8 a glass), a red wine, a beer and a cream sherry which was also delicious. Note: I know nothing about wine, and don't particularly enjoy it. It paired well with the meals I ate, but don't know or recall much about them.
*MEAL NOTES BELOW (I CONSIDER THESE SPOILERS PERSONALLY, BE WARNED)*
The meal was exceptional. We are going to Per Se tomorrow, and we all expect it to not be as good. Not kidding.
A few notes from a personal perspective:
(again, these should be reserved for those that have eaten there, I'd hate to potentially spoil such personal surprises for those that haven't but will!):
- Amuse's were disappointing in that I was expecting more flavor. The radish was the highlight there.
- Watching the chef make the fluke is something to behold, just so much focus. It tasted of a beautiful balance of soy, salt, spice, tang and fish... plus poppies for good measure. Memorable.
- The bacon dashi hits your nose and makes you salivate right away. The chef was quick to credit Benton Farms for that though. The rest blends in well, but the dashi is memorable.
- I could eat Onion Soubisse with Red Wine Vinegar out of a bowl and be perfectly content. I didn't expect this to be the highlight of the dish for me (I mean, egg+caviar+potato chips = awesome), but it was. Memorable.
- The pasta dish wasn't really discussed anywhere but one place which I just found. My companions called this the dish of the night. I'm not prepared to go all the way there, but this seems like it belongs big time on the permanent rotation, and I would take this over the description I've read of any dish I missed. Very Memorable, I mean.. mexican cheese, spanish sausage, italian pasta, pickled onion, and lime zest??
- Fish was the most boring to me personally. Someone else on the net said it was their favorite, although they also said it's cause they don't eat a lot of fish. Different strokes I guess, this dish was good, but thats about it.
- Foie: The pine nut brittle was the highlight for me! The torchon actually fully reconstitutes into itself if you take a big spoonfull of it at once. Pretty neat. Not the best overall flavor of the night perhaps, but so original conceptually, texturally and visually it's absolutely memorable.
- I find meat the hardest to enjoy in a tasting menu, but this lived up to the rest of dinner in a big way. Duck fat was perfectly rendered, long beans were a nice touch. Not sure about the bean sprouts, but that duck (fat) borders on memorable.
- Again, I found myself enjoying an element the most which I didn't expect to going in: The dried pineapple bits were delicious
- No fried apple pie, but after tasting this, I am glad! I haven't eaten Alice Water's food, but I expect that if she picked and served strawberries, that they would taste like this. And the Ko guys have definitely been drinking with the WD-50 crowd, cause we got peanut butter "soil" and a halvah, which the chef described as requiring some form of long named chemical to make.
One more note: I didn't leave stuffed. In fact, we walked up 8th street and each got a dessert afterwards. I could have stopped somewhere after dinner and eaten more. I didn't, and there is no need to, I certainly wasn't hungry. I just didn't leave stuffed is all (our dates did though, worth noting)
Feel free to ask me about anything, in the end: you gotta go :-)