Any up coming " good bye to foie gras dinner around town?
Went to Cavaillon Sunday night, they have a foie menu ($79 for four courses) available until 6/30. It was solid, but not spectacular, I think I'd rather just get the foie appetizer at Kitchen 1540 if they still have it. And surprisingly dead for Father's Day dinner (though we left before 8PM).
I was pretty underwhelmed by Cavaillon. You can check out the full review with photos at: http://www.gastrobits.com/2012/05/cav...
Full text for CH policy:
When I last visited Cavaillon, I enjoyed a five-course black truffle tasting menu. Since that visit, the restaurant has undergone many changes. Chef Phillipe Verpiand has left the restaurant and sold his ownership to Chef Michael von Euw, the menu has been changed, and the dining room layout has also changed.
As the Chef/Owner the current Cavaillon is the vision of Chef Michael von Euw. Chef Euw received his training from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and previously worked at The Capital Restaurant in London. Chef Euw is also the Executive Chocolatier of VE Group, a post he continues while running Cavaillon. Chef Euw's culinary philosophy is the update French classic dishes with modern technique.
While I hate to say that I only visit Cavaillon for special events, it seems like that is the modus operandi; since March, Cavaillon has been running a "Farewell to Foie" tasting menu in advance of the upcoming ban on the sale of foie gras in California. While I personally discourage any force feeding and inhumane treatment of animals, foie gras has been shown to be created in very humane methods for the ducks. Provided that the foie is sourced from humane production standards, I will continue to enjoy foie when I can.
Since nobody really thought they could eat four foie courses alone, we decided to order one foie tasting menu and then some additional item a la carte and share everything.
Being a little too anxious, I missed getting the photo for this. The carrot soup had great flavor in that it really highlighted the sweetness and creaminess of the carrot. I believe it was created using the recipe from modernist cuisine. The texture of the soup was extremely thick and creamy and very decadent. Overall I was very happy with this dish.
bread - baguette (bottom), viennoise (top
)The amuse was followed by the bread service, which offered a choice of several breads. The breads were generally excellent and everybody enjoyed them immensely. My personal favorite was the baguette, which had a nice flavor and the perfect mix of crunchy exterior and soft fluffy interior.
wild mushroom veloute
The veloute was extremely thick and contained a nice concentration of mushroom flavor. The soup appeared to contain a mixture of several mushrooms including white mushrooms and shiitakes. The consistency of the soup was extremely thick and creamy. The only minor complaint about the soup was that I felt the extra oil added was unnecessary as it gave the soup somewhat of an oily consistency.
foie and winter truffle torchon - fig & honey compote, house made brioche
The torchon contained a relatively delicate approach to the foie flavor. On the other hand, the fig & honey compote had an extremely bold expression of fig and sweetness. The flavor was so bold that the flavors stuck on my palate long after swallowing the compote. Overall, the two components of the dish did not seem to be in harmony or even in syncopation, but they were enjoyable on their own.
truffled pomme frites
The fries did contain elements of truffle flavoring, but they suffered from some technical difficulties - they were a bit under-fried and soggy as a result.
escargot - butter & garlic, ciabatta, parsley
I felt the escargot was excellent. They were cooked well with a nice texture, and the butter, garlic, and parsley sauce was a great balance of flavor. Others at the table felt that there could have been more garlic, but I was happy with the presentation as I enjoy tasting the escargot. The only real surprise to this dish was that they escargots were not still in the shells.
seared foie - du pui lentils, quail egg, bacon
I enjoyed the butter sauce that the lentils were served in. The foie was seared well and really showcased what a good piece of seared foie can taste like. Having the runny egg yolk ooze over the foie was a nice touch. The bacon was very nice and crisp, but I felt that it was out of place - the flavor of the bacon overwhelmed the flavor of the foie, and really covered up all the other elements of the dish. However, enjoyed independently as a bacon chip after the foie was consumed, the bacon was excellent.
foie gras terrine - house made curried bread, date mousse
This was my favorite dish of the evening. The foie terrine contained a much more concentrated foie flavor than the torchon, and the silk mouth feel of the terrine made it work as well. The date mousse was much more restrained in flavor while still conveying the fruity sweetness that really enhances foie flavors. Finally, the curried bread provided an excellent contrast in flavor as the curry really accentuated the richness of the foie even more.
braised lamb shank - cous cous, carrot puree, lamb au jus
The lamb shank was braised very well to the point of tenderness. However, the game-taste inherent in lamb was absent or covered by the curry in the cous cous. As I really enjoy the gamey flavor in the lamb, I felt that this dish was missing something. The carrot puree was another great presentation of carrot that really had a nice sweet contrast to offset the other parts of the dish.
cocoa coated foie - seared foie, exotic fruit compote
This seared foie was superior to the previous one. While the cocoa flavors could not be tasted individually, the cocoa gave the foie an extra exterior coating to provide textural contrast. The fruit compote was both sweet and sour, which seemed to complement the richness of the foie well. The only slight complaint about this dish was that it felt like the foie was swimming in a pool of oil.
While I enjoy foie immensely, I cannot really recommend the Farewell to Foie dinner to others. The foie dishes generally seemed to suffer from certain balance issues, and the entire four-course menu is too much for a single person to enjoy. Most of the time, the individual elements of a dish were good, but the overall composition of the dish did not see those individual elements come together well. Further, most of the food seemed as if too much oil was used during the cooking process.
Meanwhile, Chef Euw's approach at Cavaillon seems to be offering larger sized portions at low prices. While this seems like a great value, this generally signals larger problems for the restaurant in general, so it is ultimately not a good indication of what is to come.
Just so you make an informed decision, while many San Diego chefs are "outraged" by the foie gras ban, only a small handful of chefs signed the petition to keep foie gras.
These chefs are:
Matt Gordon, Urban Solace
Victor Jimenez, The Cowboy Star
Daniel Barron, Evolve Cuisine
Greg Daniels, Haven Gastropub
Paul McCabe, Delicias
Stephane Voitzwinkler, Bertrand at Mister A’s
Michel Malecot, The French Gourmet
It is up to you to figure out who to support, but I think there is some differentiation between chefs that actually care about foie gras versus those that are just looking to make a quick buck.
You can find out more about the activism on this issue at: http://www.rodzillareviews.com/2012/0...
Excellent, timely, and informative post. I for one will be sure to patronize these establishments.
I happen to know two of these chefs quite well. One showed me an anonymous, handwritten letter mailed to his restaurant containing veiled but still scary threats for his public stand against the law. I'm sure he's not the only one.
Hey thanks for the mention guys! Of that list I believe The Cowboy star is the only one advertising a foie menu with their mighty moulard prixe fixe.
I've heard of 2 others around town, but I'm so put off by their lack of support or even aknowledgment of the ban up until this point that I won't mention them.
I'm sure the other restaurants from the list would be able to accommodate a foie request if given enough lead time
I wonder how long until chefs/restaurants in CA go the way of Chicago, who, after the ban on "sale" of foie gras there started offering "free" foie gras if you purchased some other dish? This approach so effectively skirted the ban that it was repealed.
I suppose another possibility in CA would be to purchase in Reno or Las Vegas (who are stocking up) and bring to a restaurant in CA to prep. Possession and consumption are not outlawed!
Reading the wording of the law, it sounds like the ban is related to the force-feeding of poultry. I know there are a few sources that procure foie gras more I guess "ethically" by taking advantage of the natural gorging cycle of ducks to get the fattened liver (I specifically remember reading about one guy in Spain who does it); would these sources of foie be considered legal under the new law? Think they'll start showing up more often now?
I didn't know there were ways other than force feeding to produce this product. That adds to the host of problems with the law's enforcement, including how can it be proven that the product on the plate is indeed the result of a bird that has been force fed? Do you get a search warrant for the Chef's kitchen?