Monday, July 10, 2006

can I still fit into my pants?

As some of you may know, my good friends kevin, misty and don owns two eating places here in the bay area. The boxed foods company in the financial district serves very good sandwich and salad for lunch. B restaurant in old town Oakland has excellent, rustic, and seasonal dishes, along with a well chosen, sensible and reasonably priced wine list. They work extremely hard, and I am super happy with their success so far.

A third place will be open in the Yurba Beuna Garden later this summer. This is going to be a slightly more ambitious project. A lot of work goes into opening a restaurant, one of the element of course is find someone to cook the food that not only taste good, but fits into the vision of what this place is going to be. Well, this afternoon, I was lucky enough to sit in on the tasting done by a very promising candidate to be the future chef at B restaurant San Francisco.

We started with a scallop and calamari ceviche. A lot of components were in this dish, but the freshness of the seafood came through effortlessly. This was followed by more scallop, thick slices of raw scallop served on top of a half shell, with a impeccable smoke salmon beurre blanc on top that was caramelized slightly so the scallop was cooked just enough to change the texture. Shaved asparagus topped the dish. This was probably the best scallop dish I have had. Not only the flavor was good, but the way the scallop feel in my mouth as I chewed was unlike anything else. This was followed by a addictive black eye pea salad with grilled ahi tuna. He admitted that smoke trout may work better with the dish, but I can't stop eating that fucking salad anyway. Next was snow crab legs and snapper in a light but salty broth, I have never been fans of larger crabs, but it tasted good. The snapper was cooked only by the heat from the hot broth, it was just about perfect.

After that, it was chicken three way. The breast sealed and cooked in water bath, there is a french sounding term for that shit but I can't spell it. Thigh was partly de-boned and roasted. The small tenderloin was battered and fried. Truffled mash potato and juices from the roasting was also on the plate. The breast was as good as chicken breast can possible be, but the leg meat was awesome (especially good was the skin). I am stuffed, and needed a nap at this point, and there were two more dishes and dessert to go.

Butter braised bass was next, grilled torpedo onion was sweet and good, but I can't remember too many details by this point. The final savory dish was grilled new york steak, with a thick lobster bisque, sauteed mushroom and grilled bok-choy. It was an interesting take of surf and turf. Along the way, we had a nice ripe 2004 german riesling, a 1995 haut-medoc (cantemerle), that was fragrant and supple and a bottle of 1998 far-niente cabernet that was alright. Finished the meal with bread pudding served with hazelnut ice cream and root bear syrup and a half bottle of 1996 La Tour Blanche sauterne.

The guy has sound technique and lots of creativity. It may take a little bit of polishing and shaping to find his own style. But there was enormous amount of potential. I know how hard kevin, misty and don has worked to make this new place happen, I really hope this works out to be a productive working relationship (well, I guess he is not officially the chef just yet).

I almost felt guilty to be eating and drinking like this for the second sunday in a row, but I am definitely don't feel bad for enjoying it.

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