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Jun 26, 2012 12:42 AM

Foie Gras Dishes Still Being Served (Post Your Recommendations)

There’s only five more days of legal foie left in the state of California, so I thought I’d round up and recap the foie gras dishes that I’ve had recently that are still available until the ban goes into effect. Rather than rank them sequentially, I’ve thrown them into three buckets:

Foie of Utmost Importance (“I’m making a special trip for this...”)
Foie of Least Resistance (“It’s on the menu, and it sounds pretty darn good...”)
Foie of Last Resort (“Well, can’t get it after Saturday, guess I’ll order it...”)

Obviously, the bucket names are a bit tongue-in-cheek, so take the raking in the same spirit. The dishes are listed by price in each bucket below.

Foie of Utmost Importance:

* Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait, Fig Marmalade, Grilled Baguette ($16, $8 from 5-6 PM; FIG)
* Foie Gras, Biscuit, Maple Sausage Gravy ($25, Animal)
* Foie Gras Ravioli, Aromatics, Parmesan, Italian Summer Truffle ($35 Lunch Main Course, $28 Dinner “Hot” Starter; Providence)

I picked three very different foie gras preparations at this rank. Each are amazing in their own way, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these dishes. Animal’s will give you the purest taste of foie gras of the three, but the foie gras really “makes” the other dishes too. It’s just a matter of what form you'd like your foie to be in when you consume it.

Foie of Least Resistance:

* Foie Gras Saikyo-Yaki ($20, Shunji Japanese Cuisine)
* Summer Berry Gazpacho, Armagnac Poached Foie Gras, Pickled Beets ($22, Petrossian)
* Bobo Farms Foie Gras, Apple-Rosemary Butter, Caramelized Cippolini, Molasses Toast ($25, Hatfield’s)

I am not sure if the saikyo-yaki is still on Shunji’s menu, but if it’s not, Son of a Gun has a potentially-similar miso foie gras dish that I haven’t had but have heard good things. The other two are very different from each other, with Petrossian’s gazpacho light and refreshing, and Hatfield’s foie gras rich and and comforting; both had generous portions of foie for the types of dishes they were.

Foie of Last Resort:

* Smoked Eel & Foie Gras Terrine, Piccalilli, Soy Gastrique, Brioche ($14, Waterloo & City)
* Asparagus with Foie Gras Ravioli, Black Summer Truffles, Little Gem Lettuce, Truffle Jus Vinaigrette ($16, Petrossian)
* Foie Gras Sauté, Grilled and Partially Dehydrated Strawberries, Black Sesame, Green Almonds ($26, Providence)

These dishes are not bad by any means, but the foie gras was not the highlight of any of them. The unagi with the terrine worked well with the foie, but did not let the foie take the spotlight. The foie in the ravioli reminded me more of chicken liver, and the star of the dish was definitely the asparagus. The strawberries in the sauté stole the show, its sweet/tart-ness overshadowing the foie completely.

So that’s it for me. I hope someone finds this useful. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to squeeze in more foie gras before the ban goes into effect, but if I can, I’ll be looking for your personal recommendations.

So post your own list below, using whatever criteria or ranking you'd like, but please be at least fairly confident that the dishes are still available, so that whoever wants to try them may still be able to do so in the time remaining.

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  1. At this point, after 3 different foie gras dinners in L.A., foie gras ice cream, and two whole canned tubes of foie gras with black truffles I (& many guests) enjoyed at home (purchased at Petrossian) , I'm all foie gras'ed out, man.

    Even with all the foie gras I've had lately, the one foie gras dish in California I'll still always crave is the Foie Gras au Torchon at French Laundry in Yountville. Hauntingly spectacular.

    2 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      I'm nearly foie'd out too, but for those who want to get their last taste, what's your personal rec for specific place or dish in the area that's still available?

      1. re: J.L.

        Oh man, I remember that torchon also!! Bouchon has a wonderfule terrine that reminded me of it as well. Which reminds me, I need to get back down to their bakery and get some for my reserves. .

      2. i just recently had a very good foie gras torchon with cocoa nubs at boneyard bistro. $16 for a generous portion. definitely worth going if you're in the valley.

        1 Reply
        1. The hilarious thing is that the Idiot who thought up this ban has -- in actuality -- created what I'm sure is the biggest single month of foie consumption in California history. I'm filling my fridge, and will bring back more each out of state trip.

          In fact, doesn't this affect interstate commerce? Unconstitutional I say! If porn porn is protected by the 1st Amendment, why not food porn?

          14 Replies
            1. re: gph2os

              I agree. I went to Animal last night, or tried to, but couldn't get in by 10:45 PM, when they seat their last customers for the night. The hostess said they have plenty of openings next week after the ban. Hope all these restaurants are putting all the "extra" money they're making this month on foie gras in the bank for the "rainy days" of lower revenue/profit ahead. ;-)

              1. re: PeterCC

                Out of curiosity, what time did you get there??

                1. re: namstermonster

                  I left my place at 10 PM, and as I was leaving I called to see how busy they were. The hostess said that they had several parties still waiting and they stopped seating at 10:45 PM. I mentioned I was dining solo, and she said she had one other solo person ahead of me. She was honest about my chances of getting in, or lack thereof, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway.

                  I arrived at 10:30 PM and spoke with the hostess again, and she said that the other solo diner that she had mentioned was still waiting. (I had the distinct feeling that the solo person had already been waiting a while when I first called at 10 PM.)

                  I decided to cut my losses, since it seemed highly unlikely I'd get in, and headed to sister-restaurant Son of a Gun, which was half empty at 10:40 PM. Unfortunately, they no longer have the miso foie gras. Instead, I had some kumamoto oysters, which were kind of meh; the lobster roll, which was alright for what it was but not very lobster-y to a New Englander like me; and the soft shell crab tempura, which was very good.

                  1. re: PeterCC

                    hrm...i wonder how long that other soloist had waited. i dined @the bar last night and noticed that solo goers were indeed being seated sooner than most others. best of luck if you decide to go again!! going solo is most definitely the smart way to do it :)

                    1. re: namstermonster

                      Thanks! What did you have last night?

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        agnolotti w/liquid foie gras, loco moco, poutine, and of course, tres leches. good thing i ordered the agnolotti when i did because the guy who sat down next to us tried ordering it and was informed that they were out...this was probably around 830. i have to say, of all the times i've been to animal (none of which i partic liked save for thr tres leches), last nite was pretty great (minus the vino).

                        1. re: namstermonster

                          Nice. As much as I want to get in one last time before Sunday, I am looking forwarding to taking the fam there after the ban starts and having a slightly more low-intensity dining experience there.

                          1. re: PeterCC

                            so between hatfield's bobo w/molasses toast and fig's chicken liver parfait, you'd recommend the latter?? i haven't tried either and it looks like i won't have time to try both. before reading your post i was planning on popping in @hatfields but now i'm having thoughts about changing that to fig. your wise insight would be greatly appreciated :)

                            1. re: namstermonster

                              I think the parfait at FIG was one of the better tasting things I've had, foie or otherwise, so no problem with where it ended up in my rankings. I did say in another thread that I thought the parfait could survive without the foie, if they could substitute in non-foie duck liver (or maybe poach the chicken liver in duck fat), and I really hope that FIG will retool it and keep it on the menu sans foie.

                              I struggled with which bucket to put the Hatfield's foie gras. I do think it's more foie-y than the parfait, but that's to be expected as you're eating a solid piece of foie versus a parfait with other ingredients. In the end, I threw Hatfield's in the middle bucket to keep things even, but it probably deserves to be in the first bucket too.

                              I think for the sake of getting in more pure foie-y goodness before the ban, I'd go with Hatfield's.

                              1. re: PeterCC

                                thanks!! i do hate being so indecisive... :/

              2. re: gph2os

                Actually I think it does.

                the Commerce Clause, specifically the Negative Implications of the Commerce Clause where the state is imposing an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

                Let's get this Constitutional issue going...

                And get back our foie gras.

                  1. re: kevin

                    The state can probably ban certain things within its state as long as it does not favor in-state producers over out-of-state producers. The Supreme Court struck down bans that some states had on the shipping of wine from out-of-state into their own state, but only because the states allowed in-state sellers to ship wine. It is unlikely that, where the state treats in- and out-of-state producers the same, the law is unconstitutional.

                    There may be an issue about online sales of foie gras. The California Legislature has said that an online sale made from a computer in California to an out-of-state seller is "made in California." That was done for sales tax, so California can claim sales tax on those sales. But it could be argued that a sale is consummated in the place where it is accepted, i.e., the seller's location. And the California Legislature's logic would seem to support the argument that an order made from out-of-state by a friend or relative is not a sale in California, even if the product is shipped to California. That could be a major loophole.

                1. Little Next Door and Bouchon both offer an excellent terrine. And as of today Little Next Door has it available.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: JudiAU

                    Thanks! Hmm, they close at 11 PM tonight. Should I go even though I assembled my own mini-farewell tonight at FIG:

                    1. Foie Gras Torchon with Stone Fruit

                    2. Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait

                    3. Sturgeon with Prosciutto-Foie Gras sauce

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      what about the donut at umami? i hope they still have it, maybe i'l hit it up tonight.

                      dang, the lengths we go to before the ban goes into effect.

                      1. re: kevin

                        I haven't gotten any reports back. As far as I know, it's still being sold, but you might want to call ahead.

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          Dang, i missed the last few days of foie gras, but i did hit up shunji's again. great stuff.

                    2. re: JudiAU

                      My husband went to Bouchon today at lunch and they were already sold out of the terrine. I am so depressed!