Dinner – Saturday, July 25, 2015
According to my notes, we last visited Aubergine and enjoyed Justin Cogley’s cuisine in March 2014. Going further back, our one and only visit to Addison (under then and current chef William Bradley) was in February 2012 – over 3 years ago! We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend the collaboration dinner – two very different styles, finding common ground based on a dedication to perfect execution.
Whipped yogurt, yuzu, cucumber
A pitch-perfect amuse from Bradley – he read his visiting chef’s style and produced one of the best small bites I’ve had this year. As a side note – it takes guts to go monochrome on the first course!
Gougere, sherry mascarpone, black truffle
Kumamoto oyster with dashi gelee, Golden Osetra caviar
Butter-poached Alaskan King crab
Tomato marmalade, uni butter
Another course from the Addison team. The nori crisp suffered a bit from the evening’s humidity (I’m sure the restaurant did its best to keep it under control). However, the contrast between the thick Hokkaido uni butter and the sweet-tart marmalade was fantastic. The crab itself was irreproachable.
Monterey Bay abalone
Broth of green tea and artichoke leaves, sea beans
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve enjoyed iterations of Cogley’s Monterey Bay abalone. This version, with the broth served separately in a bowl (which I fell in love with), was very strong. Salty, tangy, tingly.
Foie gras pressé
Luxardo cherries, aged balsamic, chocolate brioche
4-week aged Monterey duck
Roasted peach, braised kombu, duck confit
A gorgeous piece of crispy-skinned duck, almost Chinese in style. The two types of seaweed seemed to amplify the meat’s gaminess, the soft peach its sweetness. My favourite dish of the night.
Lamb en persillade
Goat cheese mousse, squash blossoms, lamb jus
A showcase of technique. The chorizo-stuffed squash blossom was a great match for the mousse and worked surprisingly well with the basil-zucchini puree. The dish was served with a South African wine, the 2012 Eben Sadie Columella (a Syrah-dominated GSM blend), that is the best pairing I’ve had in ages – wild berries and clove, with an ocean-like salinity that lent the meat a pré-salé flavour. Brilliant!
2-year aged Cabot cheddar
Apple butter, marcona almond, torn Financier cake
Cassis sorbet, Meyer lemon sabayon
This was really a faultless palate cleanser, neither too acidic nor too sweet, and much needed after the composed cheese course. However, I take issue with calling this a distinct course in a 9-course meal – it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.
Passionfruit eclair, strawberries, fresh cream
Tahitian vanilla macaron, chocolate ganache
Under Justin Cogley, Aubergine is a restaurant that truly has a sense of place – the colours, smells and tastes speak of the Monterey coast. By contrast, for me, Addison has always been about transporting the diner to another place – from San Diego to the Old World. Cogley stayed true to his style tonight, but Bradley and his kitchen rose to the occasion, matching the guest chef dish-for-dish (although desserts were relatively weak). It was a good stage to revisit Cogley’s food, which impressed as always.