Neva cuisine has mixed reviews on Chowhound, and mine will probably add to the "mixiness".
Also, I find most reviews online describe this place as bistro or bistronomy... but I think things have shifted, because the food I ate was more creative and refined, and I'm pretty sure Chef Beatriz Gonzales is moving away from the bistros and has her eyes looking at the stars...
My dinner there was like a roller-coaster, with some amazing heights, and some rather dull lows...
-- The highs --
"Octopus 'a la plancha' - celery - cucumber - Kochi yuzu"
This dish (pictured above) looked amazing. Like an ikebana that has lost its zen, and went into a baroque mood. With a dish like this, there is a great risk that the tongue will not see eye to eye with the eyes, and if that happens the dish becomes a ridiculous joke... But hopefully it was the opposite. While the octopus could have been a little bit more tender, everything else was greatly balanced. The smooth guacamole was electric and whipped the cephalopod's ass which was itself seasoned with panache. And the vegetables added texture and mingled with everyone else with a green mellow and light taste.
A truly memorable dish.
"Mille-feuilles - Tahiti vanilla - fleur de sel caramel - peanuts"
I don't think I ever had a dough as flaky and light as this one. Nicely browned to bring out its nutty aromas, it contrasted beautifully with the whipped cream with vanilla, airy and comforting. The caramel added a nice spiky note to this otherwise very subtle dessert.
I love crème patissière, which is usually used in mille-feuilles, but in this case, I did not miss it one bit.
-- The lows --
"Cod brandade - amuse bouche"
I will not go into details about the lows, but this brandade was barely ok and soft, but definitely not a good amuse-bouche (which is supposed to awaken the palate).
"'Crousti-fondant' sweetbreads - cider braised celery - granny smith apples - meat jus
The sweetbreads were soft and tender (fondant), but not crisp at all ("crousti")... but what made the dish sink for me was a parmesan cheese sauce, with lemon and lemongrass, that gave the whole plate a slightly disturbing cheesecake taste.
I don't know what to make of this meal. Most people would find that at 42€ for the menu, if half the dishes were not up to par, then the dinner was a failure, but the good dishes were not just good, they were outstanding. So even though I may be in the minority, I do feel it was worth it, and I admire chef Gonzales' creativity, even if it is not always successful, because when it is, it's a freakin' party.
For a longer review in Moliere's language, and some other photos of the beautiful looking dishes, head over to : http://www.chezfood.com/2014/05/22/ne...
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