Wednesday, June 25, 2014

elaia (4) - st. louis
1634 tower grove avenue
st. louis, mo 63110

this meal was in celebration of my wife carrie's birthday, and the team at elaia put on a fantastic show. service was excellent per usual, with chef ben poremba, chef de cusine josh charles, and sommelier andrey ivanov all spending time at our table presenting food/wine. there were no duds to speak of, but the standout dishes included the goat cheese mousse, lamb tartare (spiciest dish i have ever had on a tasting menu), chilled cobia (incredible texture), and the negroni inspired olive oil cake dessert (chouquette should make this in cupcake form!). elaia has continued to get better with each meal, and i am looking forward to returning to the restaurant in a few months for what promises to be another stellar experience.
crispy sweetbreads - kefir-chive-dill, "old standard" hot sauce
1933. "parisian good morning". absinthe, dry vermouth, yellow chartreuse. left bank, paris, fra

bread service - parfait of foie gras
2010. murgo, "brut rose". sparkling rose of nerello mascalese. vino di tavola (sicily), ita
goat cheese mousse - peach, celtuce, cucumber, pistachio, basil
2012. weingut brundlmayer, "kamptaler terrassen". dry riesling. kamptal, aus  

ciabatta and focaccia

lamb tartare - bulgur, moroccan paprika, argan oil, yogurt, "petits herbs", black garlic cracker
2010. barnard magrez, "kahina". syrah, grenache. gerrouane, mor

cobia "conserva" - fennel, peperonata, garlic scapes
2011. kavaklidere: prestige series. narince. cappadoccia, tur

barely-steamed salmon - charred broccoli, black garlic puree, sesame
2011. domaine douloufakis. liatiko. dafnes, gre

bonus course! goat heart, lamb tongue, pork belly

plumb granita with elderflower soda

poached sea scallop - corn broth, shitakes, summer truffle-shitake crema
2008. edi simcic. sauvignon (blanc). goriska brda, slo

filet of beef - burnt eggplant, charred romaine, crushed potato, egg yolk confit
2009. chateau musar, "hochar". cinsault, cabernet sauvignon, grenache. bekaa valley, leb

olive oil cake - gin-spiked cremeaux, vermouth gelee, campari-glazed blood orange
nv. atra pacharan, "sierra de orduna". basque sloeberry and anisette liqueur. pais vasco, esp

the rare wine co. madeira

Saturday, June 7, 2014

niche (7) - clayton, mo
7734 forsyth boulevard
clayton, mo 63105
following my last dinner at niche back in november of 2013, i stated that it was the best experience i had had at the restaurant to date. well, that is no longer the case, as this evening was even more enjoyable. the smoked trout beignets were a welcomed addition to the canapés at the beginning of the meal, and the following vegetable courses really epitomized the restaurant's mantra of doing exceptional things with humble ingredients. while the egg (always present) and pork shoulder dishes were repeats from our last meal, i was more than happy to eat them again as they are both truly excellent. as for the final savory, i greatly preferred the flavorful akaushi ribeye to the filet that was served on my past two visits. pastry chef sarah osborn's desserts were once again on point, with her rhubarb offering being a study in texture and temperature. service was flawless, with our primary server (jordan i believe was his name) showing great excitement throughout the meal. i also really appreciated members of the kitchen staff taking the time to deliver plates to our table and explain the creations. there is no doubt that my wife and i will be returning to niche in the (hopefully not to distant) future, and i look forward to sitting at the chef's counter next time for an up close view of the action!
whole wheat bread with aged goat butter

oak tea

smoked trout beignets, sorghum butter, chives

coxhina, sorrel aioli

dia's cheese bread, house charcuterie, pickles

the niche egg

asparagus soup, buckwheat, raw garlic, ramps

berger bluff carrots, quinoa, buttermilk, herbs

(supplement) fava beans, new potatoes, chives, ricotta, lemon, oregano

smoked pork shoulder, hickory, popcorn, pecan, brussels sprouts

(supplement) quail, turnip, levain, yogurt, tarragon, kohlrabi

bourbon freeze pop

akaushi ribeye, ramps, fingerling potato, pearl onion, honey

rhubarb, normandy tart, pistachio, angelica

green strawberry, olive oil cake, goat cheese panna cotta, almond

marshmallow, strawberry pate du fruit, brazilian chocolate truffle