November 20, 2012

Pass the Crestor, please...

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At a casual lunch with a couple of friends last week, one of my friends offered to introduce me to a bon viveur who will be passing through town.  I was of course tasked with the restaurant selection, although I was told that Caprice would be off-limits.  This was just as well, since it was doubtful I could get a table there on such short notice anyway…

So of course I turned to one of the two chefs in town in front of whom I have no shame, and asked David for a table at On Lot 10.  It seems to be my go-to restaurant these days, not the least because David has always been very accommodating to these last-minute "emergencies"…

We wanted to keep things light for my friend, so I asked David to come up with something "healthy" and let him know that this was for health reasons.  I remember specifically requesting for things that are low in fat and cholesterol.  I was really curious about what would end up on our table.

Upon arrival, I was told that there would be "only two" dishes that had been reserved for us in advance, and that we would order our own starters.  Ever eager to please, our overzealous waiter suggested (and half-pushed us into) sharing additional starters:

Hairy crab salad - not exactly good for anyone who needs to watch their diet for health reasons… Crispy bacon, hairy crab roe and Pecorino cheese on Romaine lettuce hearts.  Delicious, but sinfully rich.

Crispy tête de veau - I didn't quite remember agreeing to the kitchen sending this out… Oh well.  It's something I love, but like the last dish this is incredibly bad for my friend with clogged arteries.  Apparently the whole head/cheek was used and rolled up, slow-cooked and then pan-fried.  With a fried egg on top and truffle shavings, this was really, really yummy.  Collagen, anyone?  The bed of finely diced red onions, capers…etc. provided the acidity to cut through the grease.

Bottarga spaghetti - this was what I ordered for myself.  I'm a sucker for bottarga, and I could never get enough of it, but I did think that there was too much of it in the bowl.  The ratio of bottarga to pasta was a little out of whack… but I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the kitchen being generous!

Steamed Hong Kong Grouper - this was an absolutely delicious fish. Initially we were meant to take a whole pan-fried sole, but that's not exactly healthy, is it?!  So we took the Hong Kong Grouper (紅斑), which turned out to be absolutely delicious.  Maybe not quite steamed to perfection, but pretty damn good and succulent - I'd put it at 9 out of 10…  The flavors of the clams were infused into the sauce, which was soooo yummy.  We pretty much cleaned up the whole fish.  Later on I found out that this is now classified as "endangered" by IUCN because of over-fishing…  David wasn't kidding when he said that this was a sought-after fish... Oops…

Flower crab paella - we were pretty full but this was definitely the nail in the coffin…  Big paella pan, with two reasonably large flower crabs on top, and a total of 4 big claws.  The crabs were really, really yummy.  I couldn't begin to describe the delicate balance between the sweetness and the flavors of the ocean.  Then there were big clumps of sea urchin on top of the bed of rice… cholesterol city.  The rice was very yummy, though… finely diced peppers, chorizo… and a little charred and crispy on top.  We persevered, and polished off almost all the crab and more than half the rice.  I think our waiter was impressed...

We were stuffed.  This was quite a feast.  Despite all of the food tonight - including the fruit and vegetable salad that my friend ordered which came with a heavy dressing - being detrimental to his health, my friend really enjoyed his meal.  He just couldn't tell his wife about it afterwards… We joked that he could truthfully go home and say that all he ordered was a salad, because that much was true…

I brought along a couple of bottles to share, but neither turned out as interesting as I had hoped…

David Léclapart Cuvée L'Artiste - mineral, marmalade, nose was a little sweet on the edges.  Acidity was relatively high, and a little ripe on the palate.  This was an extra-brut blanc de blancs.

1997 Baron Thénard Montrachet - decanted on arrival at the restaurant, which wasn't really enough time.  At one point the temperature got a little too warm, so the palate got too bitter.  Nose of orange marmalade, smoky, toasty, with some sweetness later on.  Got better when we cooled it down.  Disappointing compared to the last bottle.

1 comment:

Jessica Jann said...

That looks sooo good! Been following for a while! :D Keep up the great work!

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