Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table Review
Since we had our wedding reception at Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant, we return here every year for our anniversary. We prefer to eat at the Chef’s Table, even if we can’t get it on quite the right date, which happened to be the case this year.
Our amuse bouche course was incredible, so we began the meal with exuberance. The Cream of Cashew soup was sweet and incredibly creamy, and the candied cashews added an interesting crunchy texture that contrasted nicely with the thick creaminess of the soup. There were small pieces of squash in the soup that my husband could have done without; he felt that they didn’t add anything to either the flavor or the texture.
The next amuse was Lobster en Crepe with Vanilla Aioli. In contrast to the soup, this was very light and delicate. We wished that it had a bit more flavor; the strongest taste came from the vanilla. I wished that there had been more caviar, because there is usually a caviar-based amuse bouche.
Our final amuse was Monterey Abalone with Preserved Lemon. Neither of us had ever had abalone before, so this was a new taste for us. In my husband’s words, it tasted like “an awesome fried clam.” It was clean and tender, with a bright taste, and was fried delicately, so that it wasn’t greasy at all. This dish and the cashew soup both had that “wow” factor.
My husband’s first course was Seared Colorado Buffalo Tenderloin, Braised Fennel, Radishes and Blood Orange Vinaigrette. He could only taste the outside of the tenderloin: the sear and the seasoning. The inside wasn’t as flavorful, so it got lost in the stronger flavor of the crust, which tasted almost like beef jerky.
My first course was upsetting to me, mainly because it included *gasp!* prosciutto. As I’d specifically told them that I didn’t eat meat, and as Chef Aimee had confirmed this with me prior to the start of the meal, I was surprised that they’d made this glaring omission to their usually dietary vigilance. I peeled the prosciutto off and gave it to my husband, and then proceeded to eat the (no longer) Prosciutto Wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Melon Coulis and Pickled Watermelon.
My husband had the Crab Stuffed Tempura Squash Bloom with Grape Must Mustard. The tempura batter was light, not greasy, and the crab was sweet, which provided a nice foil for the fried batter. This dish was great. The mustard was creamy, not too pungent or strong, and it was light enough to pair with the crab without overpowering it. Every ingredient was beautifully matched.
My dish was a Vegetable Ratatouille Stuffed Tempura Squash Bloom with Tomato Broth. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. I’d had the crab stuffed squash blossom before and had been a big fan, so I was at first disappointed to get a different version. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of tomato broth, but, again, every ingredient worked so well together. The faintly tart tomato cut through the light, fluffy, crispy tempura batter, while the bits of vegetable added an interest to the texture.
My husband’s next course was a Pondichery Peppered Quail with a Four Grain Pancake, Georgia Peaches and Corn. He said that this was so nice. The best part was the cracked pepper on top of the quail egg; it tasted like no other cracked pepper he’d ever had, and it worked well with the quail. The theme was pancakes and eggs, and the pancake was okay. It was a nice background but didn’t really add anything to the dish. The quail was juicy, tender, and extremely flavorful.
My next dish was a Vegetarian Consommee with Potato Gnocchi and Morels Mushrooms. I thought that this was the weakest of all of my dishes. The vegetable broth was very light, and, though it had some flavor, it was still lacking oomph. I was underwhelmed. The potato gnocchi was very light and fluffy, but, again, wasn’t as interesting as it could have been.
My husband’s next dish was a Ballotine of Poulet Rouge with Duck Consomme and Morels. This was his weakest dish. The duck and the consomme were both rich and flavorful, but the chicken didn’t go very well with the mushrooms. The chicken was too mild tasting, and didn’t pair well with the earthiness of the mushrooms.
I had the Seared Wild Turbot with Brown Butter Sauce and Toasted Capers. Chef Aimee said that Turbot was her favorite fish, and I agreed that it tasted wonderful. The fish was deliciously flavorful, and the rich, creamy brown butter sauce contrasted beautifully with the tartness of the capers. Despite the rich sauce, this dish was not too heavy at all.
My husband then had the Duo of Pan Roasted and Chilled Terrine of Foie Gras. The foie gras had a great taste, but it was a bit greasy and weighed heavier than it normally would have, given how full he was. It was slightly over-salted, as well.
My next course was Virginia Beach Striped Bass with Oyster Sauce and Asian Vegetables. The bass was good, and the oyster sauce added a nice flavor to the mild taste of the fish. The sauce was enjoyable, but not outstanding; it tasted like standard oyster sauce.
My husband’s main course was a Tasting of Japanese “Wagyu” and Australian “Kobe” Beef Tenderloin with Oxtail Jus.The Australian “kobe” was tender like butter. He didn’t really need to use the knife with this. The flavor, also, was mild. He’s had this several times before, at just about every meal. The jus had an anise, licorice flavor to it and was very rich. The Japanese Wagyu, in comparison, was like night and day. It had so much more beef flavor. It was extremely well seasoned and had more marbling, which is probably why it had so much more flavor. He definitely preferred the wagyu to the “kobe.”
My next dish was an Alaskan King Salmon with Bamboo Rice Blend,Coconut Broth. The salmon was great. It had a lot of flavor, and there were crispy, very salted pieces of salmon that tasted almost like bacon. I enjoyed it very much, especially since I’m a big salmon fan but don’t often get salmon of this quality.
We then each had a cheese course next: a Comte Saint Antoine, Pierre Robert, Monte Enebro and Fourme D’Ambert. Unfortunately, we don’t remember much about these!
We then had a course of fruity desserts: Wild Strawberry Sorbet, Mango-Yogurt Panna Cotta and Miniature Banana Gateau. The sorbet was a nice palate cleanser, and we preferred this course of fruit-based desserts followed by a chocolate dessert to the meals from years past when we had a chocolate course followed by another heavy or rich dessert. The Mango-Yogurt Panna Cotta was also light and refreshing, and the banana gateau was very sweet and creamy, but still fairly light.
Our final course was the chocolate course: Tanzanian Chocolate Pyramid, Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Souffle and Peruvian Chocolate Ice Cream and Puff Pastry. Of these three items, we’d had two before: the souffle and the pyramid. The ice cream and puff pastry was new to us on this trip, and I didn’t like the way it looked. It reminded me of a small, spiky animal. It wasn’t enough to keep me from tasting it, but I just didn’t find the presentation to be very appealing.
Overall, this was an immensely enjoyable experience. We always appreciate the care and attention to detail that go into our meals at Victoria & Albert’s. The service was very smooth, and the only glitch was the prosciutto that found its way into my shrimp dish.
For the full review with photos of each dish, go to our dining journal:
Again thanks for the review, we did go for our anniversary and would you believe that we got a phone call that day that there was a cancellation at the Chef's Table and would we like to take it. YES! I will do a review under another post, but it will not do yours justice.