Qui: The Good and the Meh
Was in town for one night and had to try Qui out. I sat on the counter, which was fun given the open kitchen.
started with the Ode to MIchael Bras. A turnip dashi with a medley of smoked, pickled and raw vegetables. I loved this dish. The varying textures, aromas and tastes played so well with the dashi. However, I did notice that the broth was a bit salty, which unfortunately was a theme throughout the night. That being said, I could have easily had another serving of this as I't was basically the best cold soup I've ever had.
Venison tartare with coffee. This was fine enough. Venison was incredibly tender and flavorful. But it was overwhelmed by the sauce (I believe soy sauce based) and the coffee foam was basically non-existent.
Pasta. This was squid ink noodles with foie reduction and smoked trout roe. I loved the texture of the noodles. But this dish was incredibly salty due to the roe... to the point of making it unenjoyable by the final bites. I realize most restauarnts tend to be more heavy handed with salt than the average home cook, but this to me was way too much.
For dessert, I had wanted the halo halo, but the server convinced me to get the cheddar ice cream. Wow. What a great choice. Possibly my favorite dessert of all time. If you like sweet and savory, this is a gerat combination. The cheddar ice cream is subtle and sandiwched by two peanut butter wafers, drizzled with honey and topped with shaved cheddar. I couldn't stop eating this and wanted to order another.
Overall, sort of bifurcated meal. The things I enjoyed were some of the best things I've ever eating. But hte things I was ok on really were nothing more than 1 - 2 star type dishes to me.
With time, I think this place has a ton of potenetial though because the highlights are pretty incredible.
I had the squid ink pasta dish too but it was with roe and uni and I also found the dish way too salty and had to have it remade.
I think aside from the roe, the problem is that there is a tendency for chefs to salt pasta water and while this is normally a great idea for normal pasta, for squid ink pasta which already has some salinity due to the squid ink, this might not work out so well.