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Degustation 10-course menu?

Has anyone done the 10-course tasting at Degustation recently? What did you eat? What did you think? Is it too much food, or sized down even more from the regular small plates?

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  1. I'm generally the first one to protest that portions are too large. However, I have to say Degustation's 10 course menu is not too much food. Every course is about 1/2 the size of the five course tasting menu. You'll be fine. And you don't have to finish every course if you have a very small appetite.

    1. I didn't do the 10-course when we went, but the diners next to me did and it didn't look like too much food to me. I do think, however, that it might be a little bit of sensory overload. My bro and I chose 5 courses each (with one overlap), figuring that we'd get to taste 9 courses that way. The restaurant also comped us 2 courses each (again, one overlap), so we ended up tasting 12 different things. While it wasn't too much food, it WAS a lot of different flavors to dissect in the course of one evening. We managed, though! :)

      1. did the 5 course last friday night and it was plenty...couldn't imagine doing the 10 course...i agree with biondanomina about the sensory overload...unfortunately, didn't get any courses comped :o( but the meal was beyond fabulous. the service was excellent too...the woman who acts as the 'moderator' in the center is wonderful & truly a professional.

        1. I did the 10-course tasting last month (report here).
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52218...

          I enjoyed it (and I was comfortably full afterwards, not overstuffed), but I found the dishes in the 10-course to be less representative of the restaurant's focus than those in the 5-course tasting. I don't know if this is a consistent pattern, but the 5-course tasting was mostly made up of "greatest hits" - predominantly Spanish-inflected dishes the restaurant's known for - while the 10 course had very little overlap with the 5-course, and had a lot of Asian influence that you don't find on the a la carte menu. If it's your first time at Degustation and you're eating alone. If you're with someone else, I'd order 5 courses per person as biondanonima did.

          2 Replies
          1. re: daveena

            Yeah, we considered doing the 5 course tasting but since they ask that the whole party participate, we figured we'd be better off ordering our 5 courses ourselves (especially since neither of us is big on dessert and one of the 5 in the tasting menu is dessert), that way we'd get exactly what we wanted and get to try each others. I think it was the right decision - and incidentally, it didn't cost much more than the $50 for the tasting - I think it was more like $60 per person, something like that. I agree that the 10 course menu did have a different focus, with less of the signature dishes included. The courses they comped us were from the 10-course menu, and while they were awesome, they weren't necessarily my faves.

            Here's my review:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/511075

            1. re: daveena

              Are they still serving that scrambled duck egg dish with the 10 course?

            2. I had it last Friday night and was very disappointed. I've been to Degustation 5-6 times before and had the 5-course tasting once...and just ordered a la carte (typically ordering nearly the entire menu in the process). The flavors were very subdued and had a heavier-than-usual reliance on serrano ham (was the dominant flavor in 3 or 4 dishes). Maybe it was an off night, maybe it was because the chef wasn't in the restaurant? I'll definitely go back but I'm likely to order off the menu next time.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mas

                Three of us had the 5 course tasting last night with wine pairing. I agree that the reliance of serano ham was a bit much. I was a bit disappointed in the slow poached egg -- a bit boring. Last time I was there the chefs were more engaging of the clients. This time -- not so much. When they are 2 feet from you, it helps if they talk a little bit and maybe even crack a smile. But the food is great. How often do they change the menu? Next time I want to do the ten course.

              2. If you go with someone else, is it enough food to split a 10-course menu and also get maybe 2-4 other dishes? Is that even allowed?

                The only other time I went we just got a number of courses from the menu, but I figure I should try some more stuff next time.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Taylor.Watson

                  they request that everyone in the party participate if you do the 5 or 10 course tasting, so I don't think that would fly.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Ah, of course, I do remember them saying that now that you remind me.

                2. We agree, this is why we stop going to these places... When the Chef isn't in the kitchen, the food basically stinks!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: links42

                    i was there friday night and had an amazing meal despite the fact the chef was out (he turned up breifly around 11:30 pm in his chef whites; maybe he was cooking elsewhere?). in fact it was probably better than any of the 5 or so meals i've had there before. we ordered 3 dishes each plus a dessert and cheese. it was more than enough food for two. highlights were the foie gras and the mushroom salad which had these amazing chive blossoms (who knew chives had flowers?). also the new service director is really great as someone mentioned above.

                  2. i made reservations for next sat and i was wondering should i do a tasting menu or order off the menu. if we both do the 5 course tasting do we get the same five dishes or different ones? i figured ordering off the menu gives us more of a variety even though it might cost more. which is the more popular choice?

                    1. I'm bumping this thread because I'm thinking of taking my girlfriend to Degustation for her birthday. I can't find a website for them - do they have one? Would you recommend I do this? I've never been there. How much do the 5- and 10-course menus cost nowadays, and where can I see the menus? My other idea is to go to Babbo, but since I don't already have a reservation and her birthday is later this month, that might not work as well (I suppose we could show up early before the restaurant is open and try our luck, but then I'd need a backup plan, but that could be Lupa, so I'll await your advice).

                      14 Replies
                        1. re: AC Captain

                          Um, I know about menupages. Did you look at the "menu" for Degustation there? As of last night, at any rate, it completely omitted any entrees.

                          1. re: Pan

                            Pan
                            there are no entrees at Degustation. the menu on menu pagers is teh menu. The exception is the tasting menu has special dishes just for the tasting menu. Each day is a different offering. The quail ,the croqiettes, the foie gras, is highly recommended. The seating is all at the tapas bar. i think there are 16 seats.

                        2. re: Pan

                          I went for my birthday in November and it was smashing! At the time, 5 course menu ws $50 and 10-course was $75. Wine pairing was extra (and totally worth it). One of the best values around. And the food was wonderful. It was also very cozy as you are seated bar style - so seated next to each other. Which my BF and I happen to prefer over sitting across from each other. Have fun!

                          1. re: Pan

                            Pan,

                            We have never been to Degustation. That said....

                            You can't find a website because they don't have one. Ridiculous!! There is a menu on MenuPages, but it's just the a la carte/small plate offerings. And how up-to-date-it might be is a mystery.

                            You could call the restaurant, ask the current prices of the tasting menus, and request that they fax you the menus. It is possible that the tasting menus change frequently and may not be exactly what will be served to you and your g.f. when you eat there.

                            1. re: RGR

                              It's close to me. I think I'll walk there and talk to someone in person.

                              Thank you very much for all your feedback, everyone.

                              $75 for a great tasting menu would be an excellent price.

                              1. re: Pan

                                They have at least one menu(I think the a la carte)posted outside so you can check it anytime.

                            2. re: Pan

                              Pan,

                              Here's the story on Degustation:

                              The menu on menupages is not up to date, but is a pretty good example of the dishes they will have. The 5-course menu at $50 is made up of dishes from the regular menu. The 10-course at $75 is almost entirely comprised of dishes NOT on the regular menu. I highly recommend having the 10-course. It is really special.

                              1. re: rrems

                                I'd say go for the 10 course. My SO brought me there for my birthday in Jan. and it was fantastic. I think we wound up with 14 or 15 courses total, and I was pretty full.
                                The 10 course definitely doesn't follow the menu too closely, but we inquired about some of the on the menu items, and got them as well, some comped, some not. Had the wine pairings, and enjoyed almost all of them. Really enjoyed my time there, and look forward to eating there again. Don't know the tab, as it was my bday gift, but think it wasn't too bad compared to other meals of the same caliber food we had.

                              2. re: Pan

                                Degustation is excellent. I had probably my favorite meal there of all time during my only visit, last summer. The menu pages menu is similar to the one they have now, but you will find that probably all the courses have changed, barring the Spanish "tortilla" and the croquetas. (Note: the "tortilla" was our least favorite dish of the night, while the croquetas was one of my favorites.)

                                I have not had the had either tasting menu. I would not recommend the 5 course menu, as you can save money and try more things by sharing an assortment of small plates while on a date. On the other hand, the 10 course menu seems awesome.

                                I think the restaurant is fantastic. It is a great deal, but prices can vary. We spent 50 pp including tax and tip, but without drinks or dessert (wanted to hit dessert truck). You can spend much more, but it will still be a great deal compared to similar options.

                                If you are interested, make sure you engage the chef. He is very nice and excited to see that you are interested, and will also be happy to make something interesting for you to try.

                                1. re: ian9139

                                  Thanks for the tips. I'll make sure to report back.

                                  1. re: ian9139

                                    the chef is a korean woman. the sous chef is a nice guy. the staff is very accomodating

                                2. When discussing the "signature" items on the menu, what would those be? I'm going next week and want to order off the regular menu for two of us. BTW, how many items off the regular menu would be good for 2 people?

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: Corporate_40

                                    the 10 course is too much. It also has several choices that I'm not crazy about. The menu changes so it doesnt really matter what dishes I had. I prefer ordering a la carte so to speak. My favorite dishes there are the croquettas, the quail, the foie gras, the ceviche, pork belly if they have it. Sometimes there are special dishes on the tasting menu , and i have to ask for favor to get them individually.

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                      I'm going there Tuesday, and I'm seriously considering the 10-course menu. But perhaps I should reconsider. Which dishes are you not crazy about?

                                      1. re: Pan

                                        i am crazy about the croquetta, the quail, the foie gras, the rabbit when they have it, the pork belly when they have it, the ceviche of hamachi or madai( its good quality fish from jewel bako), i had a scallop dish that was very good too. But the croquettas i always order twice its so good. there wines by the glass are very good also

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          Thanks a lot. And the dishes you DON'T like much? By the way, how flexible are they in substituting things within the tasting menus? Do you have any choices in which 5 or 10 dishes you get?

                                          1. re: Pan

                                            When I went, they asked if we had any allergies or aversions so they could serve us accordingly. Personally, I hate the taste of foie gras no matter how many ways I have tried it. So, they gave me something else while my SO had the foie gras for that course.

                                            Im not sure if you can make special requests of dishes you know you want to try.

                                            Know that a lot of what we had was NOT on the ala carte menu. We LOVED the 10-course tasting. If you are hungry when you go, it will be plenty, but not too much (at least it was for us - I have a standard to robust appetite).

                                            My only complaint about the night was that they don't serve coffee or tea. They got us green tea from next door which just isn't what Im looking for after a large meal.

                                            But the food was outstanding. Squid ink risotto, rabbit soup, duck bacon in a soft boiled egg...it was delightful all around.

                                            1. re: piegirl74

                                              There are certain foods I'd want to avoid not because of allergies, but because I either don't like them or they're too hard for me to digest. Pork belly is too fatty for my system to deal with (though I can eat foie gras, probably because the quantity is so much smaller, in which case, maybe a small portion of pork belly is OK?), and I've never liked rabbit, though I might be willing to try again (it's also slightly emotionally hard for me, because I used to have pet guinea pigs, which are related to rabbits). Hmmm...maybe I should just relax my usual "don'ts."

                                              1. re: Pan

                                                10 course is too much food. Im not crazy about dishes with eggplant, and the dishes with raw egg. The menu pages menu has changed alot I dont order the salads. THe croquetas will always stay on the menu those are grea. SOmetimes they have pork belly sometimes lamb belly. Sometimes short rib ,,, I recommend the 5 course tasting perhaps and then add crequetas, and quail to it. t

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                  Foodwhisperer -

                                                  Have you had the 10 course - and been disappointed?
                                                  My DH hates eggplant - and most likely won't eat raw egg - can you elaborate on the dishes you mentioned?

                                                  Are they flexible about requests for changes?

                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                    They seemed flexible.

                                                    I really want to thank the hounds who recommended Degustation.

                                                    I had a great dinner there with my girlfriend two nights ago. I didn't take notes during dinner, because I was concentrating on the experience, and it was a post-birthday present for her, but we both had 10-course tasting menus and shared 5 glasses of wine (roughly 2 1/2 each, with the last glass divided in two for us by a waitress) plus comped half-glasses of muscatel with dessert. The portions were very small, so the amount of food was substantial but not ridiculous. Service was superb, and the experience was thoroughly indulgent and pleasurable.

                                                    To the best my girlfriend and I can reconstruct, this is what we had:

                                                    Amuse bouche:

                                                    Pork croqueta on one side of the little dish, tortilla of runny quail egg and some other things on the other side. Both excellent. I liked the croqueta more, and she preferred the tortilla.

                                                    1st course:

                                                    Hamachi crudo with a delicate, herbed accompaniment; I forget the details, but we both liked it.

                                                    2nd course:

                                                    Slightly breaded, fried artichoke hearts with raw clams or oysters (I forget which) in mussel broth with grapefruit foam. Like everything else, this was beautifully presented. I love artichoke and enjoyed that part of the dish, but this was the only dish that, on balance, I didn't like - but through no fault of the restaurant; I simply have always hated raw clams and oysters, no matter what. My girlfriend loved this dish.

                                                    3rd course:

                                                    Sardines. On the left, a small piece of skin-on sardine that I believe was topped with some herbs and was over some kind of vegetables; on the right, a "sandwich" of sardine and, I believe, confit of shallot inside two small pieces of toast, topped with one or two miniature slices of hot red pepper. This course was rather salty, but as always, combined with other flavors (spicy, oniony, etc.)

                                                    Fourth course:

                                                    Flash-fried baby cuttlefish (my girlfriend remembers delicate breading on them - maybe the waitress said oatmeal breading), accompanied by some kind of non-rice risotto (amaranth? oats? I think amaranth) in black squid ink. This may have been a course that included some deliciously fresh parsley.

                                                    Fifth course:

                                                    Scrambled but still partly runny duck egg presented with black pepper and salty, delicious, crunchy lamb bacon, presented in a cleaned eggshell whose top had been neatly cut, presumably by some kind of circular cutting implement. Very salty, but very good in the small portion we were given - kind of upscale, gourmet comfort food.

                                                    Sixth course:

                                                    Grilled pork belly (small piece) and octopus (two small pieces). Neither of us remembers exactly what accompanied this. I believe it came with an herbal broth that was drizzled on the plate and several kinds of herbs (tarragon, parsley?), but I'm not sure. Anyway, pork belly has too much of a solid layer of pure fat for me to love (I ate the meat and left behind most of the fat), but I loved the octopus, and both of us really enjoyed this dish. The crackling on the skin of the pork belly (I believe, done with a blowtorch) was also very much enjoyed by both of us.

                                                    Seventh course:

                                                    Grilled sweetbreads in an orange hot sauce. We both really liked this dish. I thought it was brilliant, and probably the best sweetbreads dish I've ever had.

                                                    Eighth course:

                                                    Slightly cooked foie gras on toasted Mallorcan flatbread with lots of little bits of the green parts of scallions, some tiny pieces of green pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt (garlic chips may have come with this). My girlfriend called this "orgasmically good." I liked it, too. :-)

                                                    Ninth course:

                                                    Breaded oxtail served with potato (my girlfriend says a slice of potato, but I remember the potato being mashed or nearly so), garnished with a slice of hot red pepper. We both really liked this. I think this course may have had a lemon chip on top.

                                                    Tenth course:

                                                    Brioche soaked (overnight, I think it was) in cream, sprinkled with sugar, blowtorched to caramelize, and served with slices of orange and pink grapefruit.

                                                    We had two glasses of a Spanish (Basque, I believe) Gewuertztraminer/Chardonnay blend that was wonderfully fruity and floral (it was the first wine on the wine list); a sparkling Txacoli', sort of halfway between a Champagne and a sweeter sparkling wine like an Asti or Prosecco; another wine whose name and other useful descriptions I can't remember, but which I started out not liking because of a particular kind of perfumy overtaste, but which worked better for some later courses; and a very good Rioja; and finally, the comped Muscatel, which was somewhat dry for a Muscatel and cut through the brioche nicely. We found that different flavors were constantly being balanced by one another - salty, hot-peppery/black peppery, sour/acidic, herbal, oniony/garlicky, fatty, sweet - and by the wines we chose in consultation with the waitstaff. Our primary waitress, in particular, was impressively knowledgeable about wines. We both enjoyed the composition and presentation of the dishes - a kind of artistry that we two musicians were able to enjoy on an aesthetic as well as purely gustatory level - and the progression of the courses, which struck us as going from lighter to heavier. We also enjoyed the fact that different kinds of dishes and cutlery were used for each course - not really an important part of the meal, but definitely a nice touch. My girlfriend said it was one of the greatest meals she's ever had, and for my part, it was definitely one of the best I've had in the last few years. It's sad to say, but I've been disappointed by high-end meals several times. This was not one of those times. It was an expensive meal, for sure (I believe it was exactly $200 even before tax and tip), but the entire experience was worth the money, although I surely won't do it again for at least a year if not longer.

                                                    My only caution to anyone who'd choose to do the 10-course tasting menu is that while they definitely ask about food allergies beforehand and I do believe they'd be willing to be somewhat flexible about foods diners hate, you also have to be flexible and adventurous. If not, I feel fairly certain that the staff can put together some kind of meal that will please you.

                                                    One final thing I didn't mention yet, but which I think shows something about the establishment: The man who checked my down jacket and woolen sweater on that cold night also poured some of our wine and performed some other tasks, which demonstrated to me that he is part of a team of staff with multifarious duties. I was about to hand him a couple of dollars as a tip before leaving, but he declined, saying "If you enjoyed the meal, that's all that matters."

                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                      Wow! I am so glad you enjoyed your meal. Certain things remind me of my excellent experience there (we ordered an amazing grilled octopus dish) and others just make me really want to go back. The last bit is very interesting and I agree that the service in general is great. Also, was the restaurant busy when you were there? I hope so, but the last time I was there it was very empty and we were able to get a same day (albeit early) reservation.

                                                      1. re: ian9139

                                                        It was not full, but was moderately busy throughout. I'd have to say it was probably half full, though, so I would encourage anyone to seek a same-day reservation there, or even try walking in.

                                                      2. re: Pan

                                                        Sounds terrific! If I weren't so lazy, I'm sure I could easily find out for myself, but what is the price of the 10-course tasting menu?

                                                        http://culinarystudio.blogspot.com

                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          Wow Pan excellent report!
                                                          Thank you so much -

                                                          We are booked for 10:00pm tomorrow night.
                                                          I'm half nervous because my DH thinks it's too late for such a feast, and I have read that people often linger so we may sit down even later than that.
                                                          But at the same time I am really excited and since we are normally early birds, it will be a unique experience for both of us.

                                                          Your meal sounds amazing and I'm glad you enjoyed and savored it; I hope our experience will be similar!

                                                          Cheers!

                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                            Nelly:

                                                            I have no idea how booked they are on Saturday nights, but I'm guessing you won't have to wait for your seats. However, YOU may be lingering at the end of the meal. Enjoy!

                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                              Thanks Pan!!
                                                              Definitely will!

                                                              Cheers!