January 6, 2015

Birthday Season

Pin It

It's the first week of the year, and that means time to get together with a certain group of friends to celebrate a couple of birthdays.  Our regular organizer suggested that we check out Seasons by Olivier E., whose chef Olivier Elzer was in the headlines recently (or rather, on the front page...)  I had been biding my time for the right opportunity to visit, having heard very mixed feedback over the last few months, but I guess it was finally time to do it...

Olivier doesn't remember me from a hole in the wall, but we were dining with a VIP, so we were very well taken care of.  While the rest of the group asked Olivier to do as he saw fit, I had to be the troublemaker and pick out my own dishes... and I ordered 3 from the à la carte menu, but chose dégustation portions.

I made the mistake of kinda starving myself during the day, so the minute I saw the bread baskets I grabbed the fattiest thing I could find - the buttery, layered roll with rosemary.  And then I inhaled a second one.  Before the first course even showed up.

French pink radish, Guérande salt and homemade butter - the tips of these radishes are dipped in butter before being placed on ice.  I didn't dip them into the salt but chose to eat them "as is".  Unfortunately for me - and this was possibly an issue with my own palate tonight - I thought the radishes were extremely bitter.  In fact I had to drink water and eat some bread to get rid of the bitter tastes left on my tongue.

Pork cromesqui, "Sotchu" style - pretty nice with that hot and liquid salpicon made with trotter... and herbs.  Of course it's always nice when something's deep-fried, innit?!

Grilled tuna with 5 spices, avocado crush and crispy shallot - this was what the others were getting as their first course, and the kitchen decided to send me a portion, too... Merci!  This was very, very good.  The tuna was grilled just enough to cook the outer ring, and that sauce!  Made with soy sauce, ponzu, and maybe a bit of lime juice... wonderful acidity that was tempered by the rich and creamy avocado.  Liberally sprinkled with finely diced chives, red onions, (green?) peppercorns, and deep-fried shallots.  A beautiful way to start.

Grilled langoustine, risotto venere and masala butter - I was debating between this and something else I love, but decided to order this since it was labeled as a "signature".  Well, I guess I overlooked the word "venere" so I wasn't expecting no black rice...  The langoustines were faultless, and I have to admit that 3 seemed a lot for a tasting portion - but I wasn't gonna complain when they tasted this good!  The risotto venere was pretty interesting, with a bit of curry that added the kick, along with some Chinese chives on top.

Red prawn carabineros, chioggia and beetroot chutney - yes, more shellfish!  It's been a while since my last carabinero, so I wasn't gonna let this one slip by.  I wasn't disappointed.  The tail was, of course, really full of umami... but the main event was the head.  That wonderful, big head that somehow is never big enough...  Oh, I picked up the two split halves with my fingers and greedily sucked everything clean.  The radish on the side was OK, but the winning garnish was the diced beetroot and quince chutney sandwiched between two thin wafers of radish.

As if I didn't have enough bread already tonight, I just had to take some and wipe my plate clean of that incredible prawn sauce.

French wild deer, quince and red wine sauce - this was wonderfully tender.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I had deer that was this soft and tender.  These were wrapped in Parma ham (or so I was told) which, naturally, provided wonderful flavors.  Lots of different veggie garnish here, including a very nice piece of quince.  Very rich and hearty, perfect for the season.  Not a fan of the earthy flavors of the red sorrel leaves, though...

Pigeon pastilla - I took a little piece of this from my neighbor to taste.  This wasn't on the à la carte menu but I guess it's one of the specials.  I've always looooved pastilla, especially ones made with pigeon.  Here it's made with pigeon breast, foie gras, pine nuts and then some.  I wish I had taken another bite, but I was just way too full.

As I had already stuffed myself with four courses and plenty of bread, I didn't think I needed extra calories from dessert.  Maybe next time.

I was a little lazy to go back to my cellar to fish out a few more magnums for tonight, so I just brought two single bottles to share among us.  It was probably not enough wine for the 7 of us...

2007 Cloudy Bay Te Koko - the usual green apple and muscat grape notes, a little flinty.  Still love it.

1988 Clinet - smoky, earthy, minty, with some fruit.

I'm glad I finally made it here some 6 months after opening.  The food was very good - actually better than I had expected.  It wasn't a cheap meal by any means, but I thought the pricing was fair.  I'd love to come back on another occasion soon and get that pastilla...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map