Salt and Pepper Tasting Menu at Ritz Carlton (Moved from General Topics)
I recently had excellent salt and pepper tasting menu at the Ritz.
I was at Michael Mina a while ago. Impressive trio efforts, was a little green. Still one of the best. Fifth Floor, my favorite, is in a hotel, too, come to think of it. For some reason, I don't think of them as hotel restaurants, although I think of the Ritz differently. Perhaps because they succeeded despite the odds, and developed a separate identity? Conversely, they succeeded because they started with a separate identity?
(Perhaps I am terribly biased against hotels?)
I found a small piece of paper with cryptic notes from that dinner (I think it was the Ritz dinner - it says "hickory smoke" on top.
Amuses? I wish I had better memory - perhaps someone with a fresher experience can explain what I wrote down.
"sunchoke, scallops, foam"
"uni panna cotta, infused oil, martini glass" - actually, yes, I sort of remember this one - just the general presentation. One teeny bit of delicious gelee at the bottom of a martini glass.
"Tonga from Brazil" - the rock salt?
I will look for the menu for you tomorrow. Am ready to go to bed soon. An excerpt (mine):
"At the Ritz-Carlton dining room, the "ingredient" I found the most interesting, yet the least successful aesthetically, was... hickory smoke. One of the amuse bouche offerings, it -yes, the smoke- came in a cup, sealed with plastic wrap. A little hole is covered up with a little spoon, and flavorful smoke is released when you lift the spoon. Doubtful how much it helps the taste of osetra caviar and a quail egg which sit atop. If you want theatrics, perhaps you should opt for dry ice smoke...
The hickory smoke did cast a spell, though - I found the rest of the dinner bewitchingly palatable.
My wine choice : Chateau Prieure Lichine, Margaux"
I think this menu was pretty much what I had. I numbered the dishes so I can make a couple of comments. Sadly, its memory is already fading... oh, well.
In 2) dish, in addition to the beech mushrooms, it came with a bit of something which tasted like matsutake. I do remember the 6)Bolivian rock salt clearly since it was a humongous piece of light brownish rock they grated onto my plate, as if it were cheese. Unnecessarily showy, but hey, why not.
Everything was executed perfectly. The service was almost casually confident and attentive. At the end, I did have some room left over for some cheese and mignardises, both of which I could pick from the carts.
1) LEMON VERBENA SALT & PINK PEPPERCORN GELÉE
live spot prawn sashimi, umi budo, wasabi
2) TAHITIAN VANILLA SALT & MUNTOCK WHITE PEPPER
seared toro, beech mushrooms, mirin reduction
3) FLEUR DE SEL & LONG PEPPER
foie gras medallion, pickled huckleberries, pear reduction
4) SMOKED SEA SALT & ESPELETTE PEPPER
maine lobster, pork belly, clam broth
5) MALDON SEA SALT & PONDICHERRY PEPPERCORNS
sonoma duck breast, assorted radishes, black grape essence
6) BOLIVIAN ROCK SALT & SCHEZUAN PEPPERCORNS
dry-aged beef ribeye, abalone mushroom steak, red torpedo onions
7) CARDAMOM SEA SALT & PINK PEPPERCORNS
pink peppercorn pear sorbet, pear cider
CITRUS FLEUR DE SEL & TASMANIAN PEPPER
meyer lemon napoleon, citrus terrine, raspberry sorbet