George’s California Modern

Dinner – Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It’s become a bit of a habit for us to enjoy the TBL3 tasting here every March – it is, after all, where and when we got married. Naturally, we visit much more frequently than once a year, but evidently I have not posted about any meals here since last March – we are long overdue.

2005 Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta
We brought a superb wine from one of Chile’s premier wineries, Casa Lapostolle – a thoughtful wedding gift (its vintage marks the year we met). After a few hours of air, this medium-bodied red paired beautifully with the second half of the night’s menu.

Northern Divine caviar
Nori brioche, artichoke veloute and chips

Hamachi
Citrus, fermented serrano, blood orange juice

Local stone crab
Chino Farms beets, treviso, Miner’s lettuce

Very sweet crab meat draped in charred treviso – impressive intensity of flavour from the leaves. The sauce of beet mixed with whole grain mustard was unexpected and pulled everything together rather nicely.

Chino Farms carrots
Feta, pickled turmeric, puffed quinoa, chocolate mint

A diminutive carrot, roasted with Moroccan spices, and served with a creamy feta sauce. A simple vegetable put under the spotlight – a brilliant dish.

Achiote-cured snapper
Roasted pineapple salsa, snapper chicharron

Local spot prawns and their roe, wild fennel butter

Baja yellowtail collar
Wood sorrel harissa, brassicas

The yellowtail had been marinated in koji before cooking, lending a tremendous depth to its tender flesh. The spicy, green harissa was nicely offset by a purée of cauliflower and yogurt, which also echoed some of the tang present in the fish. Excellent.

Local abalone
Shiso, ice plant, finger lime

Foie gras and duck confit bao
Scallop XO, pickled ramps, onion flowers, natal plum sauce

Chino Farms fava beans
Green chickpeas, smoked butter, flaxseed vegetable demi

A beautiful celebration of vegetables, from the fava beans (I love them so) to the garbanzos and tatsoi. The “demi-glace”, made with roasted vegetables and thickened with xantham gum, was deep and powerful – no need for bones. I also won the Scoville lottery with this dish – one of the blistered shishitos was a real scorcher.

Squab
Morels, peas, pho broth

This plate was a sure sign of Spring. Pea tendrils and an assortment of legumes wreathed the bird. Onion flowers completed the garland, and the broth (redolent of star anise) provided an earthy counterpoint. I think this may have been the best rendition of squab we’ve eaten here.

Dry-aged New York strip
Green garlic, asparagus, bone marrow

Rhubarb sorbet, compressed and macerated rhubarb

Atole, Chino Farms strawberries
Guava, mezcal, canele crumble, vanilla bean ice cream

Ocoa cremeux
Malt meringue, nasturtium, tangerine, raisin

We were unfamiliar with Ocoa, a chocolate from Cacao Barry. Evidently, it is a “new generation” product made with their Q-fermentation process (a very hand-wavey explanation is on their website – it seems to boil down to some special collection of microbial flora). In any case, the result was a very rich chocolate with good acidity – this paired well with the other components, bridging the citrus and malt.

With a new restaurant on the horizon (a taco joint, no less) for Trey Foshee and George Hauer, we’re looking forward to how this may influence the TBL3 menu. But first, perhaps we will enjoy some mezcal and tortillas made from scratch…

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