October 24, 2020

Two buckshot

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A week after my last dinner, I'm back at Neighborhood to meet up with DaRC and Ro Ro.  One benefit of knowing the boss is that he is aware of all the dishes you had just a few days ago, so The Man in White T-shirt made sure that the kitchen sent out very different dishes.

Smoked sea bream - once again the kitchen sends out a smoked fish, but tonight this was sea bream (臘魚).  While I didn't mind the very soft flesh, DaRC found it too mushy for his liking.  While we didn't get slices of bottarga, it was instead grated over the plate to ensure the flavors were still present.

Poached artichoke / liver pate / truffle - it has been a long time since I last had artichoke here, and tonight instead of the usual aioli we have chicken liver mousse topped with some black truffle.  Very yum.

Handmade garganelli / abalone / liver - this was a real surprise.  I was just going to request the garganelli with deer ragù when this showed up.  Definitely off-menu, this came with slices of Australian abalone and sea urchin.  While the small amount of light, creamy sauce was tasty, we felt it need a little kick to pick up the flavors... so The Man in White T-shirt brought out some piment d'espelette powder.   Later DaRC would suggest pairing with some yuzukosho (柚子胡椒).

There were lots of chunks of abalone liver.  Yum.

Lasagna / porcini / fallow deer ragu - as if the garganelli wasn't filling enough, the kitchen sent out a second pasta course!  Hello Kitty and I quickly made the decision to share one bowl and packed away the other to take home.  The sheet of lasagna was wrapped around something and came with a mushroom and fallow deer ragù.  

Once we cut into it, we realized that there was a big, whole porcini inside!  Given the presence of a tray of fresh porcini on the bar counter, I guess we should have expected it to show up at some point.

Roast wild mallard / pigeon / foie gras / spiced pear - our "only" main course was a tray bearing two game birds - a wild mallard (presumably from France) and a Racan pigeon - both roasted with a spice rub that included cumin.  There were also chunks of roast foie gras as well as pear which had been marinated in spiced red wine.  This was a real treat!

It's game season, and I love me some mallard breast.  Very nice in terms of doneness, although I could have taken it a little more raw, too.

I am generally careful when I bite into game that is supposed to be wild, as I have long heard stories of people chipping their teeth on birdshots left inside game birds.  Sure enough, I could not one but two birdshots in this one piece of breast.  I guess this one really was wild and not farmed!

The pigeon thigh was pretty nice, too.

The chunks of foie gras were very tender and sinful...

Polenta / mallard / pigeon / Comté - the polenta came with the legs of both the mallard and the pigeon.  This was very, very rich, and pretty heavy and a tad on the salty side without the polenta.  The chunks of chestnuts here were nice.

Warm vegetable casserole / black truffle - the usual bowl of vegetables, which was a welcome sight after such a rich main course.  Love the romanesco, and the chestnuts reminded us that fall is here.

Apple tatin - thankfully the four of us shared just one portion of this, as we had run out of room.

Canelés - I noticed that we were given two for each person, so after I ate the two allotted for me, I proceeded to eat the two meant for Hello Kitty.  And knowing Ro Ro wasn't going to eat hers I ended up eating another one that she chose not to touch...

We were surprisingly civilized in terms of alcohol tonight and actually ran out before the end of the meal!

2000 Egly-Ouriet, dégorgée en mai 2008 - nice and ripe on the palate, slightly bitter.  Lemon citrus, a little marmalade, and nice toasty notes.

Hanagaki Kyukyoku no Hanagaki Daiginjo (花垣  究極の花垣  大吟醸), 2019 - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%.  Really sweet on the nose with tons of banana and fermented rice notes.  Nice and complex, rich on the palate.  Initially sweet on the palate but became more dry with aeration.

2000 Antinori Solaia - decanted 1½ hours prior to serving.  Very smooth and drinking very well.  Minty, not too sweet.  

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