August 23, 2013

Lukewarm and weak

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It's Friday night, and time for another cheat meal.  The Alcoholics were having a mini-gathering in honor of a guest from out of town, and we picked Bistronomique for some of David Lai's yummy food.  As I got off the taxi on Davis Street and made my way around the corner, I suddenly wondered if David was the new King of K-Town as far as food is concerned.  With the new Bistronomique Boucherie occupying a space between Bistronomique and Boulangerie Bistronomique, the branding and message is loud and clear.

For some reason I never realized that there was more to Boulangerie Bistronomique than meets the eye… at least mine.  The stairs on the side actually lead to not just a kitchen but a dining space above.  Now that the renovation has been completed, this space is now handling the overflowing customers from Bistronomique.  Some of the dishes are prepped in the Bistronomique kitchen, then brought around the corner and finished in the kitchen here.

It took the four of us a bit of time to put in our food order, as we seemed more intent on catching up after many months.  It's been quite a while since I was last here, and while the menu has expanded significantly, it was comforting to see that my favorite dishes have remained.  We ordered everything to share but I ended up skipping some of the dishes tonight, as I wanted to focus my calorie quota on the things I liked best.  The ladies probably found this behavior a little strange, coming from me….

Green salad with radish - I ended up having half the bowl as I tried to load up on my veggie quota for the meal.  I couldn't get rid of the offending vinaigrette, though…

Herb-crusted bone marrow - remembering from my last visit that there were two halves of a long bone to each order, I placed two orders and declared that I wasn't sharing one of them.  (Yes, OCD is quite apparently here…)  I was therefore shocked to find four of these bone sections now comprise one order…

I dug out the marrow and placed them on slices of mini baguette - having bread to soak up the fat is by far the best way.  I was in heaven.  I ended up having three of these… and almost took a fourth because no one else wanted any more…

The kitchen sent out a dish for each of us and the staff simply said this was "ravioli".  Well yes, I can see it's ravioli… but what's inside?  I detected the familiar, slightly metallic flavor of offal, perhaps liver.  Turned out to be chicken liver ravioli.  Very yum.  Very sinful.  Very bad for my diet.

Crispy suckling pig - we did a double take when this arrived at our table, as we didn't expect it to look like this…  Il Professore said they looked like quesadillas, and I kinda had to agree!  I ended up with two pieces since half the table decided not to have any.  There was a thin layer of meat beneath the crackling and fat.  While I love the taste of everything, the crackling was a little difficult to cut.  I probably should have picked it up with my hands and ate it as if it were a quesadilla

Truffled Bresse chicken - we had pre-ordered this with David, and they brought it to us to have a look while the chicken was still whole…

…and minutes later the big pan was laid down on the table after the dish was finished in the kitchen.  Honestly, this was somewhat disappointing.  While the chicken itself was tasty, the meat succulent (even the white meat) an the fragrance of the truffle alluring, the whole thing was under-seasoned.  There was simply not a lot of flavor once you got past the skin.  I'm the guy who's been on a low-salt, low-oil and no sugar diet, so if I feel the dish is under-seasoned, I'm curious to see what others would think…  As it turns out, Il Professore had the same comment, as he usually doesn't eat the skin.

Gruyère bacon macaroni gratin - can't resist this, but the macaroni was a little mushy tonight.

Buttered green beans - pretty yum.

Spinach - pretty tasty, too.

There was still a lot of food left on the table, so we passed on dessert while the others nibbled on some cheese.  I, of course, chose not to partake as I was already way, way over my quota…

The food this evening was a little disappointing.  While everything was pretty delicious, just about all of the food came to our table lukewarm.  Nothing was piping hot.  The complaint was first raised by the Specialist and it clearly affected her appetite, and I have to concur.  All the food could have been a lot hotter…

The other disappointment this evening was how weak we were.  This is the Alcoholics we're talkin' about, and we have a Korean guest!  (No stereotyping here in this space…)  For the four of us to struggle to finish 5 bottles was just… sad.  I blame the Specialist for not restraining herself at happy hour before dinner.

2005 Agrapart Minéral Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut - a much bigger nose than I expected, very toasty, alcoholic.  Ripe and acidic on the palate at the same time.  Nice.

1992 Bryant Family - double-decanted 2 hours before drinking.  Initially the nose wasn't Californian at all, showing medicinal notes along with black olives.  There was still fruit here underneath the smoky nose.  Gradually the sweetness emerged, but the wine was no longer tasting very vibrant and fresh, but rather showing a little age.  A little disappointed.

1997 Dominus - coming from a better vintage, this was sweeter and riper than the Bryant Family.  There was also brett and medicinal notes, with higher alcohol on the palate.  The bottle I tasted just last month seemed a little better.

2002 Masseto - decanted for more than 2 hours before drinking.  Initially the nose was very smoky and Bordeaux-like, but then became a little more exotic, with green pepper notes.  Nose became sweeter with time.  Pretty concentrated on the palate.

1990 Vieux Château Certan - first whiff showed piment d'espelette, strangely enough… Then green pepper and tobacco smoke.  Acidity was higher than I expected.  Slightly disappointed in this bottle…

1 comment:

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