We thoroughly enjoyed the tasting menu on our recent trip to Spago, to celebrate a special occasion. We made the request for the tasting menu at the time we made the reservation.
We parked in the public parking lot a block from the restaurant, since I prefer to self park rather than hand my car keys to a stranger, for valet parking, whenever I can.
We were quickly seated, our server asked about food allergies, and then the decadence began. We were served a series of 6 Amuses, all wonderful. The Amuse with the most “wow” factor was a squid ink cracker, which looked like a small polished stone, filled with sturgeon mousse and then topped with caviar. This was arranged in a box with seashells and herbs mimicking seaweed. It was a vignette of the seashore at low tide.
After the Amuses, a bread tray was presented with about 6 different selections. I chose a couple, and they were delish. A server with a bread tray returned later in the meal to offer a refill. It was hard to maintain restraint on the bread, it was so good! I kept some bread on hand to sop up sauces from the plates.
The first course was a palette cleanser of cucumber sorbet, of which the server poured a savory tea over. This was a pleasant combo of flavors. Next was a cheese soufflé in a pool of mushroom soup. The soufflé had the texture of a cloud and the soup had a pleasantly intense mushroom flavor. Next, Thai infused Santa Barbara spot prawns, sweet and perfectly done. Crusted Loup de Mer was next. A delicate fleshed fish served with a crunchy crust and accompanied by a cute squid ink sausage that looked like a black olive along with a sweet bite of lobster. Agnolotti followed. While very good, this was the weakest dish of the night. The sweet pea flavor rang out, but the dish lacked the complexity of the others. Next up was duck breast, cooked to a perfect pink and with a delicious jus. The last entrée was American Kobe beef. This had some of the tiniest brussels sprouts I have ever seen, and sauce worthy of sopping up to the last drop with the bread.
The cheese course followed. I’m not big on cheese courses, but the 3 cheeses served were quite good - a creamy cheese blend from Italy, a hard aged Gouda, and an Oregon blue. They were served with thinly sliced walnut bread, honey and a fruit puree.
The first dessert was a warm rhubarb cobbler with oranges and maybe another fruit, served with a very vanilla ice cream. The last dish of the night was a “Chocolate Bar”. I was well into happy food overload at this point, so my now spotty memory of this dessert is dark chocolate bottom layered with a lighter chocolate, a bit denser than mousse, topped with caramel corn and tiny crunchy chocolate balls, and accompanied with chocolate sorbet.
Service was attentive without being obtrusive. Our water glasses were kept filled. The dishes were well described by wait staff as they were set in front of us. Part way through the meal we asked if we could have a list of our tasting menu, and this was brought to us after the check, which came to $145pp, before tax and tip, food only. There is a 20% service charge applied, which I do not begrudge one bit. Service was excellent.
It was good to walk the one block to our car after the meal, in fact it probably would have been better for me to jog a couple miles, to work off some of the calories. What a wonderful meal!