Thursday, June 8, 2006

A Perfect Politically Incorrect Dish

I hardly ever taste something so exhilarating that it revs up my appreciation for fine dining. But that's the experience I had recently at Le Bernardin, the famed New York restaurant that specializes in fish. I try to visit Le Bernardin at least once a season and I'm often in for a surprise when I do. The name of the dish that turned me around recently is Foie Gras Terrine; dashi "en gele," mache, Hijiki Seaweed Salad.
Usually when I see a title that long I flee to another part of the menu, but at this meal my guests and I had ordered the tasting menu so we were in for this dish before we knew its name. For the most part I avoid foie gras, not because it is considered politically incorrect (at least in the States), but because if I'm going to overload on calories I'd much rather get them in the form of, let's say, an extra glass of wine or two. But the smokiness of the dashi-infused gee which was cut up into tiny squares, atop the smoothest, creamiest foie gras served on a perfect toast round was absolute genius. To top it off, the mache salad, dressed with a slight citrus finish, tossed with little specs of hijiki and seaweed matched perfectly. It took the whole thing to another level. What that level was can only be described in my humble opinion as perfection. The real genius of the dish is the way it introduced fish into the mix. If I was handing out stars, I would have to invent a fifth one.
To go with this course we had a 2003 Kamptal Gruner Veltliner "Thal" from Hiedler. A refreshing wine with a slight white pepper finish that worked well with the Foie Gras. Very reasonably priced and a perfect match.


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