Water Grill -- Fabulous Meal
- Bob Brooks
My wife and I had dinner last night at the Water Grill and I would say it was one of the best meals I've had in years.
Started with three incredibly succulent oysters from Mass. Then had the torchon of foie gras with a quince puree that was a knock-out.
Main course was incredible. Wild Italian blue fin tuna with sweetbread ravioli and roasted asparagus. Served very rare, with a spicy peppercorn sauce, it tasted like the best warm sashimi I could imagine. I'm still thinking about it.
My wife had their California bouillabaise, which was also excellent, although the very flavorful sculpin they used has way too many small bones in it to be much fun to eat.
Finished with three cheeses; manchego, explorateur and robluchon, served nicely with grapes and an excellent raisin bread.
Desert was a molten chocolate cake topped with vanilla bean ice cream that had been rolled in pistachios. Great.
The service was near perfect, both in attentiveness and knowledge about the menu, as well as in providing all of the little niceties one expects in a high end dining experience.
This really is a very impressive place. I can't recommend it enough.
I have also had the Tuna, and agree that it is remarkable. The same for the restaurant. What a terrific place.
As someone who grew up on the Gulf Coast and is a shell fish fanatic, but has yet to try - how can this be? - raw oysters, I would love a short "How to" lesson from a chowhound about what to order and the best way to eat them. Growing up, I was always told to slather them in sauce and swallow them whole, and I thought, "Well what's the point in that?" For the past couple of years, however, I have really wanted to try them, but I don't know anyone who eats them and so I never order them as I don't quite know what to do.
re: Tom P
Although I am a great fan of oysters, I am hardly an expert. I do know a couple of things, however, that might be helpful to you.
First, if you're going to have your very first one, by all means have it at the Water Grill. You know it will be impeccable. The waitress last night recommended one from Mass. (I can't remember its name) that she said was particularly plump and flavourful. It was luscious!
Traditionally, a red cocktail sauce is served with oysters. That's a big mistake since it does, indeed, mask the taste.
At the Water Grill, they serve them with a sauce mignonette and some grated horseradish, along with a wedge of lemon. While these are certainly the best condiments to use if your going to use any, I resisted anything other than the slighest squeeze of lemon. I did, however, enjoy dipping my bread in the mignonette and playing with the freshly grated horseradish just as a separate little nibble.
To my mind, the best oysters come from the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast. In fact, the only oysters I have generally not cared much for have been those from the Gulf Coast.
I don't think I'm alone in my view of Gulf Coast oysters, so maybe it's a good thing that you didn't begin your experience with one of them.
In any event, there is a certain mythology that says you should only eat oysters in a month with an "r" in it. Apparently they spawn in the summer months and can have a rather milky and slightly off taste. That was certainly not the case last night.
I urge you to take the plunge soon, and don't forget to sip the juice that the oyster leaves in the shell...it's tastes of the essence of the sea.
re: Bob Brooks
Have to say I agree. I enjoy the more petite oysters that are delicate and intricate in flavor with just hints of lemon or such, but being from the Gulf Coast the big oysters slathered with lots of horseradishy cocktail sauce are pretty good too. But if you are going to go the Gulf Coast way, make sure you have a good beer to wash them down, like Shiner Bock. P.S. Love the Water Grill!
re: Vanessa On The Town
I don't get the chance to eat oysters as I like, but when I do, I eat em nekid. The oysters, not me.
Several months ago, I was at Bouchon in Yountville, and we had raw oysters with our dinner. After dinner we went over to admire the raw bar. The gentleman working the bar (the schucker?), James, noticed our interest and began talking to us. It became obvious that he was very into his craft and was very knowledgable. He explained some differences in west coast and east coast oysters. Then selected a few, started shucking it, and passed it to me and my date. At first I held it thinking, "What do you want me to do with this? I have no sauce." But watching him slurp one that he shucked for himself, we followed suit. You can definately tell a difference in flavors between oysters from different regions when you don't mask it with sauce or even a lemon. They were not fishy at all. So if you have some high quality, fresh oysters, try them without garnish!
Had the fois gras torchon for the first time tonight and with the first bite it became a top contender for my best dish in LA.
Apricot mousse, currant and quince juice, toasted brioche and tokay-- round and sharp and tart and furry and no it can't have been a half inch of the bloc but it went on that long and rich and careful.
First time I veered from fish there and while I can't be sure it's better I can say it is equally nonpareil.
For those who don't normally buy it, the most recent issue of the Los Angeles Magazine has a story on a couple, the Klausners (sp?) who are known on a worldwide basis by a significant percentage of the great chefs at the most famed restaurants, (and the restaurant owners and their staffs). The main meal described by the author is one he has at the Water Grill with this couple. An extremely interesting article about two people I have never heard of, who are chowhounds to end all chowhounds. Buy it or borrow it for this one article alone.