Sunday, July 01, 2012

More foie @ Alexander's Bar

Friday night and we were approaching the final two days of being able to get some foie.  Since we'd just had two 7 course foie dinners the previous nights, and were planning 9 courses the next night, we decided to take it easy and just get a seared and a chilled preparation.  We went to Parallel 37, since we'd heard great things about their seared.  And then had our hearts broken when they only had a chilled version available.  We got it, but left disappointed and saddened.

The only solution was to head to a spot we knew always does a great seared foie gras: Alexander's Steakhouse.  We felt slightly ridiculous since we'd be going the next night for 9 courses, but ... sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!  We also hadn't ever tried their latest seared preparation, but I knew it came with peaches and marshmallows, which sounded downright fantastic!

We walked in, and the hostess immediately joked "uh, you are a day early!"  The place was bustling, insanely busy.  We sat at the bar, and watched the bartenders fly back and forth like blurs.  I don't think they ever stopped moving for even an instant.  The staff there always impress me with the level of intensity they possess.  Moving nonstop, always focused, all night long.  This is part of what makes the place so great!

Anyway, I've reviewed Alexander's so many times now that I even have a tag for it on my blog.  I won't go into any additional details here, other than describe our dishes.  Needlesstosay, Alexander's saved the day, and we ended our night happily, having now consumed a chilled foie, a foie mousse, and a seared foie!
Amuse: broken beets, fizzy campari, sorrel.
Even though we had only ordered the seared foie gras, we were presented with an amuse bouche.  However, it was ... WATERMELON.  Danger!  Danger!  I have a severe allergy to watermelon.  As in, use the same knife and cutting board on watermelon and something I eat and I'll go into anaphylaxis.  I immediately sent it away, and was shocked by how quickly a replacement amuse was brought out.  We didn't expect an amuse in the first place, and I certainly didn't expect a replacement!  Such fantastic service.

This was a tiny little bite of a dish on the regular menu, the broken beet salad.  The fun part of this was the fizzy campari.  Basically, pop rocks.  How many times have you eaten beets and had things bursting in your mouth simultaneously?  A playful start to the meal.
Special gift: foie mousse, maple syrup powder, french toast brioche.
A few days ago, the chef tweeted a photo of a version of this, a custom dish he made for someone.  It was basically this dish, but with cherries.  I thought it sounded amazing.  I've long been a fan of the foie mousses that they do at Alexander's, and the sound of french toast and maple syrup seriously appealed to the sweet-tooth in me.  I was beyond delighted to receive this extra bite!

The powder was intensely maple flavored.  I loved it.  I grew up in a household that ate a lot of maple syrup since my godfather makes his own, so this really hit the spot for me.  The sweetness was of course delicious with the foie.

The mousse was cold and creamy, but didn't have as much foie flavor as previous mousses I've enjoyed at Alexander's.  I'd have preferred less cream and more foie.

The french toast brioche was a thin crispy cracker.  Combined with some of the maple syrup powder, it truly did remind me of french toast.

The dish was spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, which went perfectly with the maple flavors, and added to the breakfasty feel of it.

I had a hard time figuring out how exactly to eat this dish.  My large fork seemed too big and cumbersome.  I also tried to spread a little of the mousse on the brioche, but the brioche was too crumbly and broke immediately when I tried to spread the mousse on it.

This was tasty and creative, and I really enjoyed a bite with all of the components together, but I think it would have been downright mind blowing if the french toast brioche was transformed into a more substantial component, and served warm, similar to the amazing foie gras and waffles from Spruce.  Imagine the mousse melting into hot french toast like butter, combined with the maple syrup powder ... OMG.  I want that for breakfast tomorrow!  (I'm not joking.  If they were open for breakfast or brunch, I'd totally get this).
Seared foie gras, toasted peach marshmallow, bourbon baked graham, ume boshi.  $29.
And finally, some seared foie gras!  I'd also seen photos of this before.  Alexander's has always done my favorite seared foie gras.  And I love marshmallows.  And what is even better than just marshmallows?  Toasted marshmallows, reminding me of fluffy meringue!  And what is my favorite fruit season?  Stone fruit season!  This dish had my name written all over it.  I had to try it!

The foie was pretty much exactly what I've come to expect from Alexander's.  Creamy, flavorful, quality product.  Emil thought it was seared perfectly and declared this in the top 5 seared preparations he has had this year.  I would have preferred it to be more seared however, with a better crust.  I'm starting to think this is just my personal preference though.  Emil agreed that more sear would be nice if being served on a steak or burger, or even with some brioche, but stressed that in this sort of preparation, more sear would overshadow the delicate flavors.  That does make sense to me, and I do see his point.  Hmmm.

The toasted peach marshmallows were as awesome as I'd hoped.  Sweet, with a great peach flavor, lightly toasted on top.  They could have easily gone on any number of desserts, and I loved them on their own, but they also paired perfectly with the foie.  Sweetness and fruit are often paired with foie, but this was a really creative way to do it.  I loved the texture from the creamy marshmallow rather then crispier fruit slices as well.

There were also some dabs of assorted stone fruit purees, which injected some intense flavor and complimentary sweetness.  The ume boshi upped the complexity by adding a tartness as well.

The one thing I didn't care for was the bourbon baked graham crumble.  It was bit too bitter.

Overall, a successful seared preparation that I'd certainly order again ... if I could :(
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