Dinner – Saturday, August 31, 2019
I was surprised to discover that my most recent post about Aubergine was last April, just before we had our daughter! This dinner marks our fourth visit since that post (!), and notably, our first since the restaurant was awarded their well-deserved Michelin star in the inaugural California guide.
With child in tow, it’s impossible to have a civilized meal in the dining room, so for the last few visits, we’ve been ensconced in their wine cellar, where our tot is free to do what babies do. While it does lead to a sense of isolation (I usually enjoy seeing how other diners react to courses), it’s a terrific way to still partake in a full tasting menu.
Morro Bay oyster
Yuzu foam, cucumber gelée
Mint, white anchovy, honeycomb, bee pollen
Soy-glazed Hokkaido uni, fried potato croquette
Melon, avocado, caviar, oyster leaf, cucumber gazpacho
Summer in a bowl! The sweetness of the produce (in particular, a thin slice of melon) was otherworldly, and the brininess of the oyster leaf and caviar were a great counterpoint. Such a great expression of the season.
Meyer lemon, trout roe, potato-nori and zucchini-saffron purées
Shiro dashi butter, clams, brioche
A new version of their shiro dashi dish, this time featuring ribbons of kohlrabi and Manila clams. As always, an airy brioche (here brushed with brown butter and sea lettuce) was provided to sop up the rich sauce.
Aged Rohan duck
Steamed corn pudding, chanterelles, chicken jus
The aged duck breast was paired with a “tamale” of corn, wrapped in a translucent skin of leek, and masterfully tied with a leek ribbon. Corn and duck are always a solid flavour pairing, but I’ve never grown to appreciate the texture of puréed corn.
Bone broth, daikon, button mushrooms
Salt-baked celery root, plums, jus
It’s been quite some time since we’ve enjoyed wagyu at Aubergine, so this was a great reminder of the triple-seared perfection. The pairing with the tender hunk of celery root (and a purée of the same) was great, but I think the sweetness and acidity of the damson and Mirabelle plums is what put this over the top for me – my favourite course of the evening.
Whipped goat cheese cheesecake, roasted fig, huckleberry compote
Rich in taste but light in body, and the texture of the whipped cheesecake was amazing. Wow, this was a satisfying dessert.
Milk chocolate brownie, marshmallow fluff, chocolate sorbet
It is a pleasure and a privilege to have come to know this team so well – the food from the Aubergine kitchen carries with it a sense of comfortable familiarity, but always with an element of excitement. I was neither surprised by the award (if anything, I expected two stars… but I hope that will come soon), nor the humility with which it was received. This is a group of people that push to better themselves no matter what, and I’m looking forward to how this recognition will open even more doors for them.