April 10, 2015

Que pasa

Pin It

Following our last successful expedition to NUR, ILove Lubutin decided that she wanted to hit another restaurant with me.  Neither of us have tried Quest by Que, although we've both heard good things about the place.  As luck would have it, she knows Chef Que's wife... so it wasn't a problem for us to get a table.

Grilled octopus, watermelon, pickled watermelon skin, ice lettuce - the octopus was smoky from grilling, and had a very tender texture.  But it lacked any seasoning whatsoever, therefore it was imperative to take the octopus with plenty of other ingredients in the same mouthful.  The watermelon provided some juicy sweetness, while the pickled watermelon skin added acidity.  The crispy rice paper added additional texture, while the kaffir lime leaf chiffonade and turmeric foam both contributed some fragrance, and the sauce came with a little spicy kick.  Pretty enjoyable dish to start with.

King salmon, galangal and beet root jelly, avocado, salmon roe - with basil seeds at the bottom along with salmon roe.  I couldn't taste the galangal in the jelly, only beet root.  The avocado came with finely chopped raw onions.  There was a nice touch of sweetness provided by the yuzu (柚子) in the sauce.  Overall this was pretty good for me.

The salmon was lightly torched, so it was still pretty raw inside.  The piece of crispy salmon skin at the top was very nice.

BBQ Iberico pork belly bánh mi, chicken liver pâté, black pepper chả lụa sausage, pickles - hands down our favorite dish of the evening.  This "deconstructed" bánh mi was so delicious that both of us could have swapped out another course for an encore.  The layer of chopped Iberico pork belly was incredibly tasty and crispy, and worked so well with both the pâté and the homemade sausage.  The bread at the bottom looked thin, but turned out to be just the right amount.  The pickled daikon (大根) radish and carrots on top added the requisite crunch and acidity, while cilantro and spring onions provided the finishing touches.  My one wish?  More sriracha mayo please!

Bún riêu crab cake, pickled cucumber, cherry tomato pico de gallo - more flavors of Vietnam with a new spin.  The traditional flavors of the rice vermicelli soup are made into a crab cake, with fragrant bits of lemongrass inside.  A small pile of crab eggs was added on top.  The pico de gallo had a nice touch of acidity, and the foam on the side - which I found familiar but couldn't quite pin down until ILove Lubutin declared it as crab shell / shellfish - was certainly rich with flavors.  Mmm mmm good.

Pan seared cod escolar fish, green pea purée, sweet shrimp ravioli - menu says cod, but our waitress told us it was escolar.   The pea purée was a nice surprise in terms of flavors.  The shrimp ravioli?  I'd advise against doing what I did... which was putting pressure on the sphere until the "skin" burst and all the shellfish broth gushed all over my plate.

Neither of us have heard of this deep-sea fish before, but it had a lot less fat than cod... and the texture was certainly much firmer - more akin to mackerel.  Came with a delicious fish sauce caramel and crushed nuts.

Stuffed quail, carrot purée, pickled romanesco, chipotle nước mắm - ILL and I had to think for a few minutes, but we both decided that we ranked this below the escolar.  The quail wasn't bad, but it just wasn't all that interesting even with the liver in the stuffing.  We couldn't taste the chipotle in the fish sauce foam, but it did manage to turn the carrot purée somewhat savory.  The pickled cauliflower was good, but these weren't romanesco as the menu indicated...

Strawberry compote, soursop sherbert, pandan panna cotta, macaroon - a very nice and refreshing dessert.  The pandan panna cotta came with familiar flavors found in many Nonya kuehs, and I loved the soursop yogurt sorbet for its acidity.  The strawberry compote came with fragrant lemon grass and basil seeds.  Not a fan of the "France round cookies" but I guess they did add a little texture...

Frozen Vietnamese mocha, coffee ice cream, condensed milk, chocolate meringue - what a dessert to finish the dinner with!  As if I wasn't already feeling full after the last course, this definitely pushed me over the edge.  Starting at the bottom, we have a thin layer of chocolate brownie, sprinkled with some chocolate-covered rice crispies, with a layer of marshmallow, then a big chunk of coffee ice cream, and some condensed milk poured on top.  Finally, we have bits of chocolate meringue on the side.

Because the whole thing was frozen, the brownie at the bottom was a little too hard, and the marshmallow in the middle became a little too chewy.  But that coffee ice cream was just incredible... I've never had another coffee ice cream with such an intense flavor of the roasted coffee beans.  I normally prefer fruity and refreshing desserts, but I gotta give pretty high marks for this one.

After we were done with our food, Chef Que came over to say hello.  He ended up hanging with us a little, and asked if we would mind being guinea pigs and try out a few bottles of wine he was thinking of adding to his wine list.  What, me objecting to tasting wines?  Hello?  I did think, though, that the Cali pinot would have a better time standing up to the strong flavors of his food.  And ILL did suggest to the Chef that he offer the bánh mi as lunch takeout...

So ILL and I had a second successful outing, as both of us were pleasantly surprised.  From my one and only previous experience with Chef Que's food, I knew that he could take familiar Southeast Asian dishes and reinterpret them - in the same vein that Alvin does with Bo Innovation.  While I found his food too salty at TBLS, I was happy with the level of seasoning tonight.  I would be very curious to come back and see what else he can put together...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map