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Grand Menu Tasting: A Report

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Sweetie and I went out to celebrate his birthday last night, and spent it at dinner at Rover's. Overall, it was lovely, and we had an excellent time.

We each had the Grand Menu Degustation, and I had the wine pairing. One thing: the online menu is NOT the current menu (there was about 75% accuracy between the two). There are several things we just don't like (foie gras, I'm allergic to scallops, etc.) but the server was very gracious about allowing us to make substitutions. We made a special effort to choose items with similar price points, and made a lot of substitutions.

We began with an amuse bouche of a trio: confit of sqaub with carmelized onions, herbed goat cheese with a dot of blackberry compote, and a chilled asparagus soup. It was like a transition from winter to spring on the plate. The squab was tender and sweet, the goat cheese fresh and creamy, and the soup like concentrated asparagus. Delightful.

We then had a trio of fish: hamachi sashimi with orange, seared ahi tuna wrapped in pickled cucumber, and another preparation of tuna with olive oil, black pepper, and something else I just can't remember. Very delicious. I'm not usually a fan of seared ahi tuna, but this was delicious, the pickling added a tiny bit of crunch and sour-sweetness. Sweetie really like the sashimi.

We moved on to the petrale sole, prepared with leeks, cauliflower and a persillade. The sole was definitely the support for the other flavors on the plate -- this was a dish that worked best with each component on your fork at the same time.

We then parted ways, as sweetie had the seared diver's scallop with fennel, braised pork belly and a garlic tuille. He tells me it was superb. I had the dungeness crab with wakame hiwasbi, and meyer lemon gelee. Lovely crab, a burst of tender richness in the mouth. The gelee was especially perfect -- like summer lemonade without too much sugar, allowing the fresh burst of flavor from the lemon to really shine.

We then had halibut with a potato crisp, spinach in a fennel green sauce. This was a winner for me, not so much for S.). The greens were especially superb (Sweetie said his tasted a bit of iron, over cooked), and we both agreed the halibut was perfect.

Again we parted ways, as he tried the seared Hudson Valley foie gras with rye crumble and mustard demi glace. It was his first try at foie gras, and we are both in agreement that it is just not a food we like. I, on the other hand, had the spring rabbit in veloute with potato and carrots. PERFECT!. Rich, delicious, the rabbit was tender and the combination was meltingly good.

We then had a palate cleanser of juniper aspic with citrus. It was ok -- not very strong, or refreshing. But it made a nice pause.

I'm pretty sure we had another item at this point, but I am completely forgetting it. Which says something, I suppose.

The symphony of desserts was lovely, although nothing stands out. (I think the wine was really kicking in here!). His plate has 'Happy Birthday' written on it, and was served with a thin taper. Very classy and understated.

We finished with mignardises: a sour cherry gelee and a chocolate caramel. The gelee was nice (S. really liked it a lot), but I thought the chocolate was like the best version of a grown up tootsie roll. :-)

I wish I could tell you about the wines my meal was paired with, but it was sort of overwhelming -- each glass was presented with a lot of vintage info, and much of it went past my head. A CA chardonnay champagne, a CA chenin blanc, a french chenin blanc, a French chardonnay, a CA sauvignon blanc, a pinot noir, and a French sauternes were the types.

Service was excellent. Interestingly, Sweetie mentioned that 'the place really moves you right along' at one point, and we were shocked to realize we'd spent a solid 3 hours at our meal. The setting is lovely and we were pleased to meet M. Rautureau towards the end of our meal.

So, one more checked off our list! (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/724823

)

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Rover's
2808 East Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98112

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