Corey Lee orchestrated a perfect meal for us on Thursday night – each dish was exquisite with a subtle and flawless flavor profile. As I have stated many times before, this is not the usual French laundry meal. We love the fish canapes so our meals are definitely front loaded. One of my favorite ingredients is uni and Corey always has at least one dish with sea urchin. We usually have one meat course and rarely have more than one dessert.
As always we started with gougeres and salmon cornets (not pictured) and a half bottle of Krug.
Uni from Japan that was “packed” in natural sea water and then served with the natural sea water. This uni was from the south end of Japan and has a slightly less pronounced taste than those harvested in the north. It was served with crunchy ice lettuce and gold leaf.
Oysters and Pearls – the oysters were Island Creek from Mass and the caviar was Californian white sturgeon – this is just a perfect dish and as usual Corey executed it sublimely.
Inada – lightly grilled wild, baby amberjack served with compressed English cucumber, espellette, cilantro shoots, 1/4 inch dice of cucumber
Just look at how perfectly the cucumber has been diced – talk about perfect knife skills!
We decided to splurge and honor Didier Dagueneau who had just died in a plane crash at the very young age of 52. The 2005 Silex was superb.
Japanese Pike Conger, Japanese mountain yams (yamo imo), white miso, yuzu, perilla leaves – this was just a wonderful, subtle blend of textures and taste
Uni from Hokkaido, Japan. The water is much colder as Hokkaido is in the north and as a result the uni had a fatter “taste” feel. It was served with peeled sweet 100 tomatoes, avocado panna cotta and borrage (blue flowers). My first thought was for the poor person who had to delicately and precisely peel those tiny tomatoes. What an absolutely perfect combination – the lusciousness of the avocado with the northern uni was inspired.
Close-up of avocado panna cotta
Fresh water eel was wrapped in feuille de brik pastry and served with persian lime creme fraiche (in the bowl). We were shameless and used our fingers to lick up every drop of the creme fraiche.
On the right is the Animal farm butter. There are now six cows and the last is named Keller.
Japanese Big Fin Squid Confit (it had been packed in salt for 30 minutes and then poached in olive oil), Summer squash done 3 ways – ribbons, puree, blossoms, garlic aigre-doux, champagne vinegar and on top crispy Iberico ham, brunoise. I never receive a menu at French Laundry and every single description was recited to me tableside by the lovely new wife of Nick, Sandra. Obviously service was attentive and extraordinary from Jimmy, the sommelier, to Dennis our main waiter, Larry as always and every single person of the French laundry team, who stopped at our table to say hi.
Crispy Frogs legs from the Florida Everglades, breaded in panko, Cauliflower puree, tomato raisins, parsley shoots, Meyer lemon – just 3 quick bites – boy, I could have eaten a dozen.
Japanese Black Abalone roasted whole was then presented.
Our red for the evening.
The roasted abalone was paired with sauteed moulard foie gras, haricot vert from the French laundry garden, baby corn, light as air gnocchi, corn foam and emulsion – I was one very happy camper!
Anago (sea Eel) tempura, Hobb’s bacon, beech mushrooms, Romaine lettuce ribs, red radish, cippolini onions, bacon emulsion – another absolute winner.
Signature Truffle Custard
Japanese Wagyu, sweet Nantes carrots, turnips, snap peas, pea tendrils, bordelaise sauce – how many ways can you say perfect.
We decided to have a cheese course and this was one of the best we have ever had at French laundry – Heirloom tomato tart on puff pastry with burrata, topped with a splash of olive oil and a bit of 100 year old balsamic vinegar
As usual, we just had one dessert. Me – Grilled pine nut gateau (soaked in honey), Jacobson’s Farms figs, Fig marmalade, Pine nut mascarpone ice cream, mint syrup and toasted pine nuts
John – Coffee and Doughnuts
There is just no way to convey how sensational this meal was. There was just not one wrong note and what made it so incredibly perfect is that from beginning to end, this was a symphony. Sometimes tasting menus can just be a string of dishes – this was anything but and that is why I call it a symphony. To make the evening even more special, Thomas was there and we chatted for a bit.
Thank you Corey and thank you to the French laundry team for a very, special and incredible evening.