|10:23 pm - Tao soup, snails and sweetbreads|
Edward took me out to my favorite restaurant this evening as his belated-birthday-present to me.
We started the meal in different ways. I ordered escargots in garlic butter, which were served in the shell. I had a tongs-like device to hold said shell as I picked out the snail within with a small fork, made just for that task. He decided to have soup. It looked rather Tao-like when it arrived, since it was actually two different soups in the one bowl, with a curving dividing border that made the plate as a whole look like a yin-yang symbol, with cream of asparagus on one side and cream of mushroom on the other. If there hadn't been escargots on the menu, I probably would have ordered the same soup, but it had been quite a while since I'd had the delectable terrestrial mollusks, so I indulged myself with their garlic-y goodness instead.
I sipped a very nice Côte du Rhône grenache as I savored the fish course -- grouper in a red wine reduction with butter and tomato, accompanied by small roasted red onions and potatoes shaped into quenelles. Edward had the same thing, but we differed for the meat course. He had the maple braised pork while I had veal sweetbreads, served with a scattering of peas and some small vegetable-filled pasta dumplings that seemed to be a cross between a gyoza and a wonton. It had been quite a few years since I'd last had sweetbreads -- longer even than for the escargots -- so I was very happy to see them on the menu. They were as delicious as I remembered them to be and I wish that specialty organ meats like this were more common on menus, since I rarely see them available when I dine out, even here in New York City. I guess most diners are too squicked by them, but it's a shame, since they're very tasty.
For the salad course, they did something a little different from what they normally do. Usually, the salad is a lightly dressed mixed green salad. This time, there was that, but a smaller portion of it (and with a lot of frisée in the mix of greens) and there was also a small round of goat cheese, topped with a bit of beet sorbet. The beet sorbet was not sweet at all and it was very tasty. I'd never had a savory sorbet before, and I like the idea very much. The few non-dessert sorbets I've had in the past usually were at least a little sweet and they'd worked well with the dish they'd accompanied, but I really liked this beet sorbet and I might try making it myself as part of some future meal.
Edward and I chose the same dessert, panna cotta with strawberry rhubarb compote. It arrived in conical desert glasses with the panna cotta at the bottom, surmounted by the compote and garnished with a triangular wafer cookie embellished with a squiggle of chocolate. Generally, when one comes across a strawberry rhubarb dish, the strawberries and rhubarb have been cooked together, but that was not the case this time. Like the soup earlier, the compote was divided into the red strawberry compote on one side and a chartreuse stew of rhubarb on the other. The rhubarb was quite tart and it reminded me of the stewed rhubarb desserts I grew up with, made from our own prolific pie-plants. The strawberry side was very sweet and contrasted nicely with its companion, while enhancing the creamy delicacy of the underlying pudding.
Now pleasantly full, we lingered over our meal a while longer, chatting of things both large and small, and some that were of no consequence at all. Then, as the other diners departed and the restaurant stilled, we gathered our things before departing into the New York night.
Current Mood: full
Current Music: "Pleasant Moments" by Scott Joplin