August 27, 2011

Wrong Danny

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The name Danny's Kitchen has been known to me for a while.  One of my foodie friends seems to frequent this place and knows the owner well; and I keep seeing their makeshift counter at Eslite (誠品) in Tianmu, where they are selling wines from their selection.  When it came time to try another restaurant in Taipei tonight, I made a reservation here and dragged my friends here.  I made the reservation rather late, and I think we got just about the last table in the basement...

We were presented with one menu for the three of us.  I don't know why restaurants keep doing that... Yes, a few tables had just walked in at the same time, and the table behind me was doing their ordering and hogging a few menus... but still!  Anyway, I was surprised when I saw the menu, and kinda suspected that I had really wanted to go to the other restaurant in town with the name Danny in it - Danny & Company.  Oh well... we were already here, so we should just make the best of it.

Baked snail in chrispy pastry (柏根地田螺千層酥) - yes, the menu did say "chrispy"... Welcome to Taipei, ladies and gentlemen...  This was actually not bad.  There was a lot of caramelized onions and button mushrooms on top, and the sauce - and there was a lot of it - was pretty sweet.  I didn't ask whether the escargots actually came from Burgundy...  Anyway, the flavor was very Taiwanese and not really authentic - especially with the use of local basil (九層塔) - but I didn't mind at all.  It tasted fine, and my plate was clean in no time.

Grilled U.S.D.A. OP rib (炭烤帶骨OP肋眼 22 oz.) - I confess that I don't know my meat cuts well, and had no idea what "OP" ribs were...  As it was the only steak available - and here's where I knew I had come to the wrong restaurant - I decided to share it with a friend.  Pretty big hunk of meat, it was.

Unfortunately, it was clearly not "medium rare" as I had requested.  What's worse, the beef really didn't have much flavor, other than for the strips of fat on the side and the charring on the surface.  Definitely a sorry-ass piece of meat.  Sprinkling a little salt helped, and I was so desperate I decided to try on some of the sauce that was provided on the side.  I was joking and wondered out loud whether it would be like the "Swiss sauce (瑞士汁)" found in some restaurants in Hong Kong... and it was!  It was basically like gravy made with kecap manis...  My friend couldn't take the sweetness, and decided to squeeze some lemon juice on top and mixed it up.  Oh and don't ask me why they gave us lemon wedges together with our steak... I have absolutely no clue!

Were it not for the steak, I would have ordered the duck confit.  I did get to try a piece of both the leg and the breast.  While the leg was OK but nothing to write home about, the breast was surprisingly gamey and yummy.

We asked for a menu as we wanted to order dessert.  When we had finished deciding what to order, we asked a waitress to come over so she could take our order.  We were then informed that last order from the kitchen was at 9pm, so many desserts would not be available as the kitchen had knocked off.  Huh?  Shouldn't they have bothered to check with us whether we wanted anything else before 9pm?  And the waitress started suggesting which items we should order based on availability, instead of checking with the kitchen whether they could still make the items that we wanted to eat.  Sheesh!  In the end we decided just to get the bill and leave.

1986 Cos d'Estournel - mom smelled the cork when I first pulled it out, and remarked that it smelled "aged and damp".  She's got a pretty sharp nose, and I knew the bottle might be in trouble.  An hour after opening, the first pour from the decanter was definitely a little muted and smells of mold and wet cardboard.  Perhaps it was lightly corked.  After further aeration and a further chill-down in an ice bucket, both the nose and the palate got better.  There was some fruit but it wasn't very prominent.  Not very complex at all on the palate, perhaps as a result of heat damage?  A little smoky on the nose.  Could this be the first failed bottle that I've drunk from Acker?  Definitely a far cry from the very first bottle of this wine that I've ever tasted, all those years ago...

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