November 28, 2023


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This is the year of collaborations, and I have long ago lost count of them. Ricardo has been doing a whole bunch of them this year, and I figured I should join one occasionally. When it was announced that Kawate-san from Florilège would be cooking at MONO tonight, I figured this should be one of those times. As always, I'm grateful to be able to have a seat at the table.

I'm always happy to see Ricardo, but also very happy to see Mauricio, too! As promised on my last visit to the restaurant, I brought along a special treat for the F1 fan in the house. I think he was pretty happy...

Ka-Kawate - this was a play on words, as the dish was made with peanuts, which is cacahuate in Spanish. The peanut flavors were quite strong in the foam, which was also made with basmati rice.

We've got crunchy Jerusalem artichokes and peanuts, along with trout roe seasoned with vanilla and olive oil, and finger lime with a good amount of acidity.

Sweet potato - the signature sweet potato was exactly as I remembered from my lunch at Florilège, smoked with hojicha (ほうじ茶) with a crispy batter on the outside while the sweet potato mash inside was really sweet and fluffy.

Sea urchin - I've had Normandy sea urchin here before, and once again it came with a hot version of a sauce or soup that is normally cold. Tonight it was leche de tigre but with some yuzukosho (柚子胡椒) added.

In addition to the sea urchin tongues, there was also a few yam propagules (零余子) along with strands of a thin seaweed. Lots of acidity, as expected, and that was really nice.

Beetroot - I'm not sure why, but lately I have noticed that some of our favorite restaurants have begun to forget our dietary preferences... such as the fact that BOTH Foursheets and I dislike beetroot. Well... tonight they thought that I was the only one who hated the red devil, so they prepared this for Foursheets. But of course I would give her the portion meant for me, which came without the offending ingredient but chayote instead.

I can imagine Foursheets having nightmares about this dish, which came with fromage blanc made with milk from Hokkaido, then both beetroot jelly as well as diced roasted beetroot. There's also salmon roe... which I love but she dislikes. The tuile on top was made with roasted beetroot which had been sliced and fried in oil. Let's just say that I wouldn't choose it was my favorite dish... and hope we don't get any more beetroot when we come back in the future.

Mushroom Eggplant ravioli - the ravioli were filled with grilled eggplant with sauce, and came with some cheese and kombu (昆布) powder on top. Served up with some eggplant purée along with a ring of kombu oil. The flavors of the eggplant were really nice without being in-your-face.

This was a cookie roll stuffed with fermented Chinese cabbage, which was still crunchy with nice acidity. Served alongside the ravioli.

Tako taco - the tortilla was made with corn but also with some perilla (紫蘇). Along with grilled octopus and the usual xnipec, the mole was made with black sesame instead of chocolate.

Gotta say that the sesame mole was really interesting, as it was very tasty but not overpowering.

The seafood soup was made with some mezcal, and this was rich and tasty as expected.

Turnip pie - I don't remember ever seeing any kind of baked pie here before...

There was, perhaps, a very thin layer of turnip mochi (餅) just under the pie crust, along with turnip confit in butter. The sauce was made with turnip purée, sake, white wine, and butter. I certainly tasted the sake in the sauce, as it's got the acidity as well as the bitterness.

Fukuoka kue with Japanese mustard and spinach - the longtooth grouper (クエ) was simply charcoal grilled.

Inside the Japanese mustard spinach (小松菜) we had purée of the vegetable, with botan shrimp (牡丹海老) tartare underneath. There was also a quenelle on top with both caviar and tonburi (とんぶり), which made for a combination of both land and sea caviar.

Piedmont veal, Ecuadorian cacao and mashua - the veal was very, very nicely done, with a sauce infused with cacao alongside the cacao fruit purée. The mashua balls were cooked but still somewhat crunchy.

Soursop, matcha and Brittany biscuit - the soursop sorbet was very fruity and tasty, and the sake foam tasted a lot like Chinese rice wine lees (酒釀) with both the alcohol and the bitterness. There were little balls which seemed like they were made of cream, and together with the sake foam they reminded me of 酒釀丸子. A very nice dessert.

Moshi - the mochi came with dulce de leche inside.

These were "Japanese sugar", which were interesting as the exterior shell was crunchy but inside the texture was a little jelly-like.

It's always nice to start with some Krug, and even better when it comes with compliments of the chef.

Krug Grande Cuvée, 171ème Édition, ID 122009 - as with last week, this was a little more grippy and "tannic" on the palate. It's full of that classic toasty brioche nose I love about Grande Cuvée. The acidity came out once it's paired with food.

We didn't take the wine pairing as I picked out a bottle from the restaurant's list which I felt would match Foursheets' palate better.

2020 Bessin-Tremblay Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume La Pièce au Comte - the acidity is here but the palate was already rounded, so while it was not quite to the point of being sweet, the sharp acidity was no longer being felt, but all things considered this was still relatively lean. Very aromatic nose and a little tropical.

Seeing my reaction to the Chablis, Mauricio very kindly poured us a glass of this wine, which he felt Foursheets would like a little better. He would be correct.

2021 Bættig Chardonnay Selección de Parcelas Los Primos - noticeably higher acidity on the palate, and leaner. Big, toasty nose. Very nice.

2020 Wa Sud Cuvée Souriez - showing eucalyptus, leather, and a little on the farmy side in terms of the nose. A little soapy on the palate, and finish has that bretty and soapy profile.

2019 Pedres Blanques - the acidity felt higher now, but the wine was still young so it's still grippy on the palate. A little farmy but the nose was pretty fragrant and fruity, with some blueberries.

Really happy to have been able to be here tonight and taste all the new dishes. And always happy to see friends, too.

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