November 25, 2021

White truffle feast

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'Tis the season for white truffle, and this year word is that the harvest was poor due to the season being too dry.  Nevertheless, one needs to indulge a little - even just once a season.  Due to poor planning we were not able to secure a table at the usual venue, so I turned to my good friend Hairy Legs for help.  He may not be the "truffle king" but I don't need to worry too much about the quality of truffle being served at Caprice.  

As usual, I let him decide what to serve us - but I did specify that we wanted lots of white truffle.  So naturally the dishes should work well with the magical tubers. He worked with Victor (the sommelier, not the restaurant manager also named Victor) to propose a menu which would match the wines we were bringing tonight, and we were looking forward to see how everything would work out.

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar

Pita with curry chicken mousse

Pork croquette with foie gras and pistachio - one can never go wrong with a bite-sized morsel of breaded and deep-fried fat...

Alaskan king crab with white truffle - this is dish I'm familiar with, having tasted it a few times. Tonight, though, we've got shaved white truffle on top instead of the usual black truffle... with a few drops of hazelnut oil.

I love the shredded crab meat for its sweetness, with savory crustacean jelly underneath providing umami. The crab meat looks green thanks to plankton mixed in with mayo.

Japanese abalone carbonara with 36-month pata negra - Hairy Legs knows how much I love this dish, as it was the only thing I asked for at my wedding dinner.

The dish works equally well with either black or white truffle, and tonight the truffle came shaves in slices instead of chiffonade.

Mixing quail egg yolk, discs of Parmesan, chiffonade of jamón pata negra, onion compote, and shredded abalone "noodles" together delivers an amazing mouthful. Of course, throwing white truffle into the lot doesn't exactly hurt...

Hare soup with roasted hazelnuts, girolles, and white truffle - this was... as I had expected. Very rich and unctuous, but at the same time acidity from the 3 different vinegars helped to provide counterbalance so that one is not completely overwhelmed. The hazelnuts and argan oil helped to deliver additional layers of flavor.

Toast with white truffle, foie gras royale - also with blue cheese and quince purée. Always pretty, and that hit from blue cheese always makes one do a double-take. Gotta say that quince and blue cheese work very well together.

Kinki with stuffed zucchini flower, sauce ruby - the "sauce ruby" has beetroot as one of its main ingredients - normally off-limits for Sankala and I - but tonight there were figs in the mix and we also have a piece of fig on the side. The execution of the broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次) has always been faultless here, and works well with the thin wafers of button mushrooms on top. The zucchini flower was stuffed with a mousse made with lobster claw as well as trimmings from the fish, and it's always such a pleasure to cut it in half and see how beautiful it is... before getting a sense of the wonderful texture and flavors seasoned with lobster heads.

Greffeuille lamb with chickpea "cremeux", stuffed Swiss chard - a surprisingly rare miss, but the skin that came wrapped around the lamb saddle tasted a little strange and off with the first bite. I felt as if I was eating some moldy wood... so I cut out the skin and focused on the lean meat in the middle. The star was always gonna be the Swiss chard on the side which was been stuffed with bits of lamb leg, and served with a little ras el hanout.

Baked Mont d'Or with truffle - in lieu of the usual "cheese selection", Hairy Legs proposed this whole Vacherin Mont d'Or that was baked whole, then shaved with white truffle when served. This was just... sinful.

As it turns out, there was black truffle as well as diced onions or shallots stuffed inside the cheese. Just beautiful! We offered some of this to friends at a neighboring table.

Brown butter cake with kiwi, mango, and passion fruit - this is always a good pre-dessert, since it's refreshing and fruity... helping to cleanse the palate.

Chocolate, Earl Grey mousse, pear - so here's a dessert I haven't seen before... but the most important thing, of course, is the gold foil on top.

Inside the white chocolate sphere we have a layer of Earl Grey mousse, with diced pear, pear sorbet, and chocolate ganache. I liked how the fruity flavors of the pear worked together with the chocolate.

Banana bread - so good that the Baller requested a few extra to take home to his son.

Pistachio and apricot profiterole

Chocolate with hazelnut and liquid chocolate caramel

Lemon tart


While the original goal tonight was get some white ttuffle, the main focus was squarely on the wines. And we kinda decided to do a "France versus US" match up with the reds - all from a single vintage.

2009 Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet - very fragrant, not too toasty. Good balance between ripeness and acidity, kinda soft on palate, good ripeness and kinda alluring.

2003 Pascal Lachaux Richebourg - served 3½ hours after opening. Very fragrant nose with a little leather, some smoke, a hint of savory notes. Opened up nicely with time and showed more toasty notes.

2003 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard - served 3½ hours after opening. Definitely showing more fruit, very fragrant, sweet and alluring. More eucalyptus and mint. Sweet on the palate when tasted with blue cheese. Showing very nicely 5 hours after opening.

2003 Latour - decanted 2 hours after opening, and served 2½ hours after decanting. Very open and fragrant, smoky with cedar notes, very minty, and still showing nice fruit. Amazed that the tannins were still here. Such a classic claret, and just fucking beautiful.

2003 Harlan Estate - decanted 2 hours after opening, and served 2½ hours after decanting. Smoky, but definitely sweeter both on the nose and the palate. Ripe fruit on the palate with more plummy notes. Showed some coconut notes 6½ hours after opening.

While I don't come here as often as I probably should, it's always a fun evening out with wonderful cuisine and of course, great wines to match. Grateful for the kitchen for coming up with dishes to match our wines, and of course Victor for prepping the wines so that they were served to us during their optimum drinking window. I'm really looking forward to my next dinner in a couple of weeks, where there'll be big wines to go with the heavy game dishes.

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