Ad Hoc Farewell to Foie Gras at FIG Friday Night
As I was writing this at 12:30 AM last night/this morning, I started wondering if the people at Animal, which was still open, were able to order foie gras for the previous half hour, since it was now July 1st and the first day that the foie gras ban is in effect. I also imagined how much extra business restaurants serving foie have been doing this weekend. And I wondered how many restaurants will pay the $1,000/day fine to continue serving foie.
Mostly, though, I was hesitant in posting this, afraid it would be cruel to post a review of three dishes my fellow Chowhounders won’t be able to order anymore. What's the point? But I decided to post it anyway, since, who knows, the ban may someday be repealed, and these dishes may appear on FIG's menu again.
So, I returned to FIG Friday night, less than a week after my first visit, and proceed to order everything on the menu that contains foie gras.
The first dish was one that apparently was on the menu when I was there last week, but I had somehow overlooked: Foie Gras with Stone Fruit. In this case, the stone fruit was not peaches or nectarines, as I expected, but cherries. It was also served with crushed pistachios and accompanied by two mini-baguettes.
In general, I prefer foie gras seared rather than au torchon. I think it loses a little bit of its punch when cooked thoroughly. I felt this was the case here, that the torchon did not have as strong of a duck-ness that is inherent in a piece of foie gras gently poached or seared to medium-rare. Don’t get me wrong, it still tasted like foie gras and not liver from a chicken or pig, and the mixture of sweetness from the cherries and savoriness from the pistachio really played off each other and worked well with the foie gras.
Next was the Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait, which I had had last week. The parfait came in a glass jar and was served with grilled baguettes and fig marmalade.
The parfait was smooth and fatty and salty and paired beautifully with the subtle sweetness of the fig marmalade and the buttery crunch of the baguette. The combination actually reminded me of buttered popcorn.
Last, but kinda least (foie gras-wise), was the Sturgeon, Celery, Apple, Prosciutto-Foie Gras Sauce. The foie-ness of this dish was way lower than any of the other foie gras dishes I’ve had recently. Although I’m sure that the taste of the sauce would likely change dramatically without the foie, the foie was not all that apparent in the sauce.
However, the dish itself was excellent. The sturgeon was moist and tender but yet firm. It did not fall apart at the first sign of provocation. The sauce was indeed delicious, while the other accompaniments were quite light and refreshing. The little delicate discs of what I think were radishes, and dollops of whipped (probably) radishes as well, gave a creaminess to the dish, and the celery was perfectly cooked and infused with flavor.
As the conclusion of my ad hoc farewell to foie gras, the sturgeon didn’t really fit, but it did contribute well to another fantastic dinner. So once again I leave FIG (at Five) happy, but also sad that foie gras can no longer be (legally) served in California.
[Full-size photos, with captions, at http://offaloffal.com/2012/07/ad-hoc-...]
The "Farewell to Foie Gras" tasting menu at Petrossian also featured foie with cherries and crushed pistachios, though, at Petrossian, it was a seared preparation and was delicious. One of the other courses was a Summer berry soup with little bits of chilled foie bobbing in it like small croutons so cherries are not as odd an accompaniment as you might think.