January 2, 2015

David Lai x2

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My beloved On Lot 10 is closing, so a bunch of us are trying to go as often as possible in the little time we have left.  The Specialist has complained on more than one occasion that she never had a great meal at On Lot 10, even when she went with me - which was absolutely BS since she chose to only remember one particular meal that didn't work for her.  In any case, she insisted that I organize one last dinner there for her, so we rounded up a few accomplices and settled on the first Friday (and also the first working day) of the year.

While we waited for a few late arrivals, the kitchen was kind enough to send us some iberico ham to nibble on.

With the main courses already set up for us by David, we decided to order a few starters...

Wild game paté - I suspect I enjoyed this rustic dish more than the others...

Boudin Basque "Christian Parra", pimente d'Espelette - originally the menu carried a "black pudding risotto", but the kitchen decided that the "old version" was better, so that's what they sent us.  Well, I would never say "No" to this boudin basque... not with all that richness. Loved it.

Hokkaido scallops: iberico ham/sunchoke/truffle - slices of black truffle were wedged inside scallops like pork bellies in a guabao...  Scallops were perfect - slightly golden exterior and done mi-cuit.  I'm growing more and more fond of sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes, and I do like it lightly pan-fried.

Beef tartare "battuta": capers/anchoiiade - hmmm... I don't see any anchoïade, just anchovies.  Pretty decent, though... since it's hand-beaten.

Lot 10 fish soup - just a small cup that the kitchen sent out before the main courses, but all the familiar flavors are there - with a ton of "sediment" at the bottom.  Beautiful.  Our friend with prawn allergy was smart not to take a risk with this one...

We were told there were three dishes for main course, but very few of us were enthusiastic about truffled fish milt (read: sperm), so that was passed over...

We started with the collar and back of another wild giant grouper (龍躉).  I had the good fortune of being served half the head of a big one a few months ago, and tonight was just as amazing.  Once again he's done it with capers, lemon juice, croûtons and potatoes.  David was in his other kitchen tonight, so I didn't get a chance to ask him how big the fish was...

I am normally not a fan of acidic sauces, but this fish has so much collagen and fat that you need the acidity here.  I got the "little" pectoral fin, which was bigger than the tail fin on most fish we normally come across.  Simply awesome.  I wish I had more stomach space...

Chuleta de Rubia Galega - I begged David for the ribeye instead of the striploin, and thankfully he obliged me.  What more can I say about this beef that I haven't blabbed in numerous posts over the last year?  Simply incredible.  None of my friends could believe that this came from a 12-year old animal, and even the "end cuts" were rare and tender.  I guess it's because of the extended aging for more than 120 days... which produces that wonderful blue cheese flavor that I love.  Thankfully the cheesy flavor wasn't too much for anyone.  And yes, EVERYONE loved the taters... and some wanted seconds.

I was surprised that at this table, all the ladies wanted the rare pieces in the middle - which were certainly the largest pieces.  So by the time I served the guys, all they had were the end cuts - meaning they ate less beef than the ladies.  And which piece did I take?  Why, the bone, of course!

We were all pretty full but at least one of us had a sweet tooth, and the tarte bourdaloue was just too good to pass up.  We had asked for this "with ice cream" but it was obvious that the staff misunderstood us... when it arrived with quenelles of whipped cream.

The night was still young, and we still had a bottle that we hadn't opened, so I called up Neighborhood and asked them to save us a table.  We were going over to get ourselves some ice cream and have a few more drinks...

First order of business upon arrival was to pick out a black truffle.  David very kindly dug into his stash and fished out a few good ones...

...and we just foolishly picked out the biggest.  Bigger isn't always better, but what the heck!

But before we get to anything else, let's have ourselves some cat anus pastry canelés!  Very delish, as always, although the shapes were slightly uneven today.

First up, scoops of vanilla ice cream.  We shaved liberally, of course...

Then someone complained about not wanting any sweets... and wanted something savories instead.  So David very kindly went back into the kitchen to whip up some scrambled eggs for us.

Seconds later, it turned into this... Of course this was just the most delicious scrambled eggs I've ever had!

I sensed that someone would appreciate a little chocolate, so I asked for the chocolate palette and shaved some black truffle on top, too!

But there's more!  The Specialist had brought along a box of Pierre Hermé's truffe blanche et noisette macarons...

As delicious as these were - and they're my favorite from Pierre Hermé - I couldn't resist the temptation to try out something I call black and white... white truffle macarons with black truffle shavings.  Now THAT was awesome!

On top of all this food, of course we had plenty of wine to go around.

2000 Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill - very smooth and lovely.

2000 Krug - nose of lemon citrus, a little yeasty.

2009 Peter Michael Ma Belle-Fille - really ripe, really sweet, oaky, vanilla, and sooooo buttery.  Very ripe on palate, too.

2003 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard - nose was leaner than expected, a little flinty, pretty big toasty corn notes, oaky, buttery.  Nice acidity balance here.

2002 Anne Gros Clos-Vougeot - ripe nose with nice fruit, a little sharp and alcoholic on the nose.

2008 Flor de Pingus - after 2 hours in the decanter, a little smoky, alcoholic, kinda tannic due to its young age.  Some sweet coconut butter came out after 3 hours.  Needs lots of decanting time to open up.

1994 Dominus - really beautiful.  Smoky nose with grilled meats, animal, leather, pencil lead, minty, and slightly stinky.

2004 Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon - very toasty nose, ripe on the palate.

Yes, another wonderful evening featuring the cuisine of my favorite chef in town.  I'll be going back to On Lot 10 a couple of more times this month and... let's see what the future holds!

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