Monterey/Carmel Report: Aubergine, Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant, Henry's BBQ
Quick Trip report:
Aubergine was good and up to expectations. Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant had a great view, but the food was decent. I expected more with Cindy Pawlcyn's much announced involvement. Henry's BBQ was the find of the trip. I couldn't find much on CH, but it was very good BBQ.
1. Aubergine at L'Auberge in Carmel. Food was pretty good. Wine list had a nice selection of burgundy. Setting is small and intimate. Very nice evening. We opted for the 4 course tasting
Garden vegetables. a mini version of Manresa's garden salad consisting o baby greens and root vegetables.
Dungeness crab salad, baby beets, horseradish, dill. Tasty. Nice presenstation. Very straightforward. Tastes as it reads.
Abalone nori, puffed rice, mushrooms. Tender and well seasoned. My favorite dish of the night
Turbot with celery root, caviar, nasturtium. Also skillfully prepared and perfectly cooked and seasoned turbot. My second favorite dish of the night.
Squab with black trumpet mushrooms and coco nibs. Very good preparation of squab.
Risotto with herbs and perigord black truffles. A bit salty and the truffles lacked much flavor. The letdown dish of the night
Cheese course (supplemement). Decent selection of 4 local cheeses. Nothing I would like to have in the future
Milk Chocolate something and Valrhona chocolate something. I was too loaded up on wine and champagne to remember the details but I finished the milk chocolate dessert.
2. Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant (not Cafe)
-Clam chowder. Light on clams. Not any more remarkable or tasty than the samples being handed out at the Wharf.
-Dungeness Crab cakes. Pretty good. A bit spicy on the end.
-Oyster Po Boy. oysters were very small and mostly batter. Served with decent slaw and buttered lobster roll
Convenient, but not a dining destination.
3. Henry's BBQ on the corner of Lighthouse and Drake. Lured by the smell of BBQ smoke. I had already filled up on a big breakfast at Rosine's but had to take one for the team.
The pulled pork was excellent. Had it in sandwhich form. Slaw was good. Chile was top notch with bits of beef in it.
Pork ribs were huge. Spareribs. Not babyback. Not fall off the bone tender which may upset some but they were meaty and delicious. A bit light on the smoke flavor but solid pork ribs. Beef tri tip smoked and grilled to medium. Very flavorful and delicious pieces of beef. Service was very slow and we sat there for about 30 minutes without a menu. But it wasn't so bad sitting outside and soaking up the perfect weather. It's no Memphis of Texas BBQ but definitely good BBQ by California standards. Overall, my favorite meal of the trip.