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Report: 5x5 Dinner at the Water Grill!!

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The 5x5 Collaborative Dinner at the Water Grill, featuring Giuseppe Tentori of Boka!

As usual, photos (and lots of em this time!) are on my blog: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...

After reading tangbro1's review of the 5x5 Collaborative dinner at Melisse, I decided I had to try at least one of the upcoming ones, so I made a reservation for the Water Grill dinner on August 31. The guest chef for this dinner was Giuseppe Tentori of Boka (Chicago). Portion of the proceeds goes to the SoCal chapter of the Special Olympics.

We started with some amuse bouche by David Lefevre (of Water Grill). No, these aren't all mine. There were three of us, so one of each :)From the right was daikon radish, then crab cakes, and ... foie gras!
My favorite part of this amuse bouche, was of course, the foie gras!
The foie gras was amazingly smooth and rich! It was soooo good! It was served with an apple gelee, and the sweetness complements the foie gras perfectly! It was a bite of heaven! >_< Loved it!!

Next, still on the amuse bouche, was uni/sea urchin
A nice dish. All the accompaniments cut the richness of the uni and complement itvery well. You really have to eat them all together to get that unique combination of flavors!

Big Eye Tuna with Petite Mache, jicama, watermelon, pineapple. Served with quail egg and black quinoa, shellfish emulsion
Giuseppe Tentori, Boka
This was a nice and refreshing dish, with the watermelon etc on top of the fish. The tuna slices were nice and thick and the fish was fresh.

It seemed to me that the big eye tuna dish would've worked better as an amuse bouche and then followed by the richer foie gras and uni dishes ... not that I would've traded the fact that Chef Lefevre wanted to give us foie gras and uni for anything in the world O:

)

Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with American Caviar and Yukon Gold Potato
Michael Cimarusti, Providence
The sauce was myer lemon-based but it was not tart as I was expecting. The diced potatoes gave it a bit of crunchiness - it reminds me of eating kettle chips :)
Scallop was nice, big and juicy. I think the saltiness of the caviar really took the dish to the next level.

Santa Barbara Spot Prawn Risotto with Asparagus
Gino Angelini, Osteria Angelini
I love Angelini's style - just simple yet excellent. The prawn was amazingly fresh and tender. The risotto was al dente and flavorful without overpowering the prawn. When I get hungry one night, out of all of tonight's food, this would probably be the one that I crave for.

Roasted John Dory, Mushroom Tart, Chorizo-Torpedo Onion Marmalade, Red Wine Mushroom Jus
Josiah Citrin, Melisse
This dish was good and nicely presented. The John Dory was tender and flaky. Overall it would've been very good, but then ... it was a little on the cold side, like it's been sitting out for a while :( Such a bummer ... Also, the toast was no longer crispy/flaky - it had gotten soggy due to sitting under the mushrooms.

Hawaiian Mero with Kobe Oxtail and Red Wine Sauce
Walter Manzke
Mero is a type of bass. It was nice and tender but it was cooked in duck fat on top of being a bass, so it's a very rich piece of fish.

Also, from the left we have the kobe oxtail on top of potato, followed by bone marrow on top of a slice of carrot, then spinach on top of celery root (and then the mero itself).
As you can see, this was a very rich dish. I started eating it, and while it was very tasty I felt that it needed something to cut the richness, so I decided to order the wine that was supposed to be paired with this:
Demetria, Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley, California 2005
The wine had been previously decanted and the result is an outstanding, smooth red wine! In the end the glass came out to $15, but it truly did go very well with the dish and cut the richness for me.

Yogurt Parfait with White Nectarine Sorbet and Clementine Sauce
John Park, Water Grill
This was also served with pistachio cake and pitted bing cherries. The white nectarine sorbet was superb. The yogurt parfait was nice and tangy - it has the consistency of flan, except not as smooth (since it's yogurt). Goes well with the pistachio crumbs and the clementine sauce.

Next came a big platter of the petit fours, including churros, pistachio and chocolate macaroons, lychee and pear jelly, peanut butter and jelly in white chocolate, and chocolate ganache.
The churros were extra sweet since the ratio of sugar coating/dough is particularly large in this case.
My favorites were the chocolate macaroons and the chocolate ganache.

Although we were stuffed, there's still one more little thing to devour. A small malt ice cream dipped in chocolate with rice crackers.

Overall it was an amazing meal! Having these chefs cooking for you themselves instead of the chef de cuisines really made a big difference, I think!
All the dishes were very well prepared and well thought of. If you guys can make it to the next one at La Terza, I would recommend it :)

Also, I managed to take photos with the chefs after the meal, fun fun :P

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  1. Your comments are pretty much inline with my own. One different thing that I noted is that you guys got crab cakes instead of risotto balls in the canapes.

    Where were you sitting? My table was the 5-top at the most north western part of the restaurant, sort of near the street. I was with tangbro1 as well as tubs of tubntubby.blogspot.com. Three bloggers all armed with cameras was quite a spectacle.

    Did you manage to catch Giuseppe? We were told that he had to tend to an emergency, in Italy I believe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kevin h

      Nice! I was sitting in the booth 2nd closest to the kitchen, and I was sitting facing the kitchen so I can peek at whoever may be near the window :)

      I didn't see Giuseppe at all that night - the emergency would explain that! Josiah Citrin was walking around the dining room quite frequently - I think I saw him the most (might explain the somewhat cold john dory?)

    2. Nice report!

      Dommy! and I have to make it over there one day

      1. thanks so much for the report. am i right in thinking there is one 5x5 left to go? i vow to be there if I am correct.

        3 Replies
        1. re: lotta_cox

          The next one Sept 22nd at La Terza with Alain Giraud, and as far as I know, that is the last one (but someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

          Do be there! :)

          --burumun
          http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com

          1. re: burumun

            The word is Anisette, but I haven't heard any official details.

            But since Alain Giraud will be a guest chef at La Terza, I wonder if he'll be guest chef again, or if it's going to be more like a 6x6 with perhaps another guest chef?

            1. re: burumun

              unfortunately I don't love La Terza. I know it will be a guest chef, but for some reason even the atmosphere rubs me the wrong way. why is this?

          2. Nice report and pics. We were so disappointed at 5 x 5 at Melisse that we decided to forego the rest. Wish we'd gone to this one.