Restaurants & Bars

Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Café for your Holiday Consideration

Krys Stanley | Nov 17, 200401:33 AM     2

This might make a nice stop when considering a holiday lunch. Also the brightly colored American Caviars would make a beautiful holiday display on a buffet table. There’s a bright red beet and saffron whitefish caviar and colorful green wasabi whitefish caviar that would bring the colors of Christmas to the table.

The American Caviar Sampler is a colorful and economic splurge ($15). A warning !!!
Eat the ginger and wasabi Caviar last. After the wasabi, you don’t taste anything but wasabi … the rest of the day. Both the ginger and wasabi are so assertive, I would say that they are paired best with sake or vodka. The plate is colorful. All the caviars in this plate had a pleasant snap. Eat the cavier itself with the little pearl spoon to appreciate the flavor. Eat the sweet little blinis with crème fraiche after most of the cavier has been eaten.

I also splurged on the premier caviar sampler which were more silky and buttery without the pop. The flavors ranged from very bold and salty (not my favorite) to buttery and mild. In my opinion, the assertive flavors are better as part of a dish. The blinis and crème fraiche took on a whole new dimension with the assertive caviars. A real holiday present at $46 a plate of six tastes.

I don’t know much about caviar and truthfully I never much cared for what I did try. I was pleasantly surprised by the sampler and would actually purchase some of these.

What did draw me to the restaurant was the Sturgeon and Ahi Tuna Sashimi which has a bright blue live tropical fish swimming around in a brandy snifter under the sashimi.

I’ve heard animal rights people are up in arms over this. I thought nonsense. After all, I’m not EATING the live fish. It sounds like a fabulous presentation.

In the end, I felt sorry for my fish friend.

I’m not that fond of sashimi and this wouldn’t win me over BUT, I had one of the BEST, I mean the BEST, things I have ever eaten. Nestled in the Sashimi was a kumoto (spelling) oyster topped with crème fraiche, wasabi cavier and, I think, paddlefish cavier. Good, good, good. The briny oyster, the bite of the wasabi, the crème fraiche bringing it all together and taking the edge off the more assertive ingredients. Salty, hot, buttery. What a wonderful idea for a holiday appetizer. I’d probably pair the red beet caviar with the wasabi for holiday color.

BUT .. the poor little fishy. It turns out there is a glass cone that dips into the brandy snifter, giving the fish a narrow corridor to swim about. I mean the fish LOOKED depressed. His pretty little tail and fins drooped forlornly. He (I assume for no reason) refused to move.

I asked for a separate empty brandy snifter to move the food to. The fish perked up slightly and swam a bit in the in the now more roomy snifter.

Also, I don’t know if a fish thinks, but I thought it might get nervous seeing me pick off the dead fish piled on top of the glass. Would it wonder if the next time I dipped the chopsticks into the dish that I would grab it and pop it in my mouth. Shudder. I think they need to lose the live fish. It IS cruel.

There are also sandwiches, salads, and egg dishes featuring caviar and smoked fish. Has anyone tried these?

I had a concern about the farm raised caviar given all the bad press about farm raised salmon. However, if you look under the sustainable farming link, you will see that this is all very EC (ecologgically correct). They even grow organic veggies with the recycled minerally enriched water. The company is teaching the Cinese how to raise EC cavier.

In all, a different and pleasant little stop to take a break from holiday shopping to gather with office workers for a mini celebration.

Located in the Ferry Building on the Slanted Door / Taylor’s refresher end.

Link: http://www.tsarnicoulai.com/cafe/deta...

Image: http://www.tsarnicoulai.com/cafe/imag...

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