Mike's Bistro: Chef's Tasting Report
I'd have never considered the chef's tasting if not for the Chowhound community, but I finally jumped in tonight and gave it a try. As someone who prefers sub-$30 meals, this was a lot more expensive, but it was also a very worthwhile experience. (Everyone should try it at least once.)
I should add that I'm a picky eater. I'd rather try something with ingredients I'm familiar with than go completely "blind." But I went blind, and I'm definitely not regretting that I did.
Course 1 was a cauliflower bisque. It was thick but perfect. I think it was probably my favorite dish.
Course 2 was a Panzanella salad. Probably my favorite part of this was what I think was salami on the top. The portion was relatively small but there's a good amount of varying tastes throughout the salad, and the salami topping was no exception. I realized at this point that to enjoy Mike's dishes, you really need to taste each individual piece of food one by one - this is something I've never really done before.
Course 3 was a Hawaiian Walu fish on a Mediterranean salad. I don't like fish in general (I can tolerate salmon and sometimes even cooked tuna) and this was a welcome change in scenery. Again, it had a really good mixture of subtle and strong tastes throughout the dish and was quite exciting.
Course 4 was the famous gnocchi, which included duck feet (?) in a mushroom sauce. After everyone said that it was Mike's famous dish, I guess I expected more, and it didn't meet full expectations (maybe because the portion size was smallish), but that said, I still found it very good. Parts of the dish reminded me of a chow mein or something, though, and I remember trying that in my elementary school cafeteria...
Course 5 was roast chicken with a kasha pilaf with cranberries. This one was a good dish as well.
Course 6 was the black angus filet on potatoes and some sauce on the side with Hawaiian salt on the other side. The meat was probably smaller than my small fist but it was good. I liked the potatoes here especially, and the subtle carmelized onions added to the dish, though it felt like the potatoes and onions were not so much part of the steak as a "side" dish (but not quite portioned like one).
Course 7 was what Mike himself called a "whim souffle," and he said it was the first time he ever made it for the restaurant. It was basically a hot souffle of "wintery spices" and came with a raspberry sauce that you poured in the center, topped with powdered sugar. It was very good, but the best part for me was scraping the sides of the souffle dish at the end; I'm pretty sure I was enjoying pure sugar at that point. My friend mentioned that it'd have been better with some ice cream on the side, though, as it was rather hot. (She also had coffee, but I did not.... maybe that also contributed.)
All in all, it was a good experience and one that I'm happy I got to enjoy. As I'm not one to go out and really eat out at all (I'm a new mom, so I kind of can't do this often; this was my first night out in a very long time!), I'm extremely glad I got the opportunity, and I think the Chowhounds for the recommendation.
Thanks so much for posting such a detailed review. I've been thinking about doing the tasting menu at Mike's for a while. We love Mike's, though we don't get there often. I actually appreciate the small portions there, while others complain, because I can't stand enormous portions that are more than a human should be eating in a sitting, no matter what the price.
I love the gnocchi--and just fyi--it's made with duck confit. Don't think the feet of the duck would be all that tasty. :)
Yeah, I should've added somewhere that I don't know much about good food in general or what all of it even is really called. I knew it didn't look like feet! :)
I should really add that the gnocchi itself tasted quite good, again, with a mix of flavors like previous courses - I liked the potato consistency for sure. I guess the duck itself, in the way it was presented, might have thrown me off a bit. Perhaps the sauce of the duck too.
This was actually my first time ever at Mike's. I'd definitely go back to try other dishes the next time I am able to.
[p.s. spotted a typo at the end of the last sentence in the previous post - that's I "THANK" the Chowhounds for the recommendation. That's what I get for writing this after a 7 course meal late late late at night :) ]
Thanks for the review! I've been to Mike's many times, but never had the tasting menu.
All the dishes you mentioned sound fantastic- I've had some but not all. The black angus fillet is one of my favorites... it's a steak but it's presented so nicely and it's not like a slab of meat thrown on a plate.
How are they with special requests? I don't eat fish.. will they prepare something different?