We went last night and used a $200 gift certificate from my mommy (thank you, Mommy!) to help pay fo the tasting menu.
I had made reservations a month in advance. Last week I called to confirm (I cannot stress the importance of doing this in these high-end places!) and asked them if they could indeed do an entire tasting menu for me in light of my nut, nut oil, and oyster allergy. The hostess took my info, went to talk to the chef, and called me back to say it was no problem.
Last night we got there at 6:30 and were whisked right to our table. On the advice of this board, we decided to not do the wine parings, and instead brought a magnum of Rodenbach belgian beer and a small bottle of Kalyra vintage port.
Now, I have to insert here that one can no longer get Rodnebach in this country. it is no longer imported, and hasb't been for years. I lucked out and found the magnum, all dusty and forgotten looking, in a wine shop on ventura that had found it while cleaning out the stockroom (behind a shelf, it was) and had no clue what they had on thier hands. The somallier had never seen nor heard of it, and was so impressed by it's rarity, he took the bottle to go meet the chef and other mucky mucks. We had to sit at the table, the bottle got the grand tour.
The instant we sat down, we were inundated with the most amazing service ever. One of the managers came over, introduced himself, and said, "Now you can't eat nuts, nut oils, oyseters, clams or mussels, but shrimp, uni, lobster and such are fine, right?"
I perked up. Never in my history of allergies has this happened. Some places never rasp that a nut will kill me (n oysters and stuff, too) no matter how many different ways I word "I will die if I eat it." This place made sure the ENTIRE STAFF knew. Throughout the staff, from the manager, to somallier, to chef, to drink guy, to all the waiters, even the bread dude-they all already knew who I was and not to let me near anything that may have been in a room with a nut. My flat bread came from a special stash- and so on. amazing.
As soon as the manager walked away, Kapow! the tasting menu begn. Instantly, I mean within SECONDS, a waiter brought us the spicy tuna tartare in a crisp sesame shell. Then another tuna in a spoon, the Bam Bam BAm! Several types and preparations of foi gras.
Every time our beer goblets or water glasses reached 1/4 full, the drink guy came over and refilled them.
There was a dish of fantastic creamy uni on maitake mushrooms in a cream sauce. a palate cleanser of heirloom tomato sorbet. an heirloom tomato "sandwich" with two diffferent tomato slices and a cream in between.
Geez, it was so good, and had so much variety, I am losing track of order and even some of the dishes. There was a beautiful striped bass, and a turbot dish with a reduction sauce. There was a fabulous dish of roast rabbit, and a yummy squab plate.
Each dish was just a taste, but each brurst with flavor. All the fish and meat was cooked to perfection, and every plate was fresh and exciting. Many of the dishes were served by the manager or the somallier.
Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, was suddenly at a table accross the room! Whee, it was fun.
I have to say, I DID miss out on the cheese plate and the luscious chocolate dessert, as the chef was too nervous about nut contamination on the cheese (he told me he was unsure how the cheesmonger stored it) and the pastry chef had told the management that nuts were just all over every place in her spot in the kitchen, and she couldn't prevent cross contamination. Instead, we both got large plates of the sweetes and freshest mixed berries I have ever had. They were a perfect match for the port.
Corkage was$25, but we were not charged for the port. Nor were we charged for the many bottles of Evian we went through.
we were there for about 3 and a half hours (we lingered over some dishes) and loved every minute.
I mean, at one point, this elderly lady with what smelled like a gallon of scented bug spray on sat next to us. The manager noticed my distress, asked me what was wrong (once he got close he pretty much figured it out), and quickly went into action when I asked if he could help. He went away to see if he could move us, came back, and tactfully said aloud "So, if you're too cold here, I can move you to that table." such grace and style is rare.
I would say, that without corkage, it was about $130 or so per person, maybe less..hard to tell, with the gift certificate being removed and not covering tax or gratuity.
The tasting menu is definitely worth the trip and they quite happily will tailor it to meet many allergy or dietary need. I'm sure there are some limits, it would be harder to do, say, a vegan tasting menu...but a pesca vegatarian one would probably be easty (thugh no fois gras, bummer).
What a great meal!
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