Spago tends to start the tasting menu the same way each time. As long as you don’t go too often, it is almost a reassuring and familiar beginning. I apologize in advance for some very blurry photos.
Spicy Tuna Tartar in a sesame tuile
Hamachi Ceviche served in a Chinese Spoon
Smoked Sturgeon on a Lemon Herb Blini with Crème Fraiche and topped with Salmon Caviar – this was excellent and the sturgeon replaced the usual salmon.
In a tart shell, an avocado, cream and béarnaise mixture topped with Iranian Oscetra Caviar – absolutely delicious.
Duck Liver Pastrami Sandwiched between Toasted Rye Bread Served With Apple Butter – I miss the foie
Duck Liver Mousse in a Bartlett Pear filled tart
Bacon Confit en croute – an old favorite
Black Truffle with Quail Eggs served on a Crouton, Truffle Sauce –absolutely delicious – what’s not to like – egg and truffle!
Hog Island Oyster Gratin with Butter Yuzu Hollandaise and topped with Oscetra Caviar - again a great combination of oyster, caviar and yuzu hollandaise
Maine Diver Scallop Sashimi, Santa Barbara Uni, Matsutake Mushroom, Baby Greens, Micro Greens, Meyer lemon – Lee knows that we love uni and the combination with the finely diced scallops a nice flavor combination
Sautéed Nantucket Bay Scallops, Pickled Ginger Vinaigrette, Asian Cabbage
Pan Roasted Sweetbreads, Kohlrabi puree, citrus gastric, toasted almonds, chanterelles – the sweetbreads were crunchy on the outside, but meltingly tender
Risotto with black truffles – toothsome risotto
Roasted Langoustines with Light Thai Red Curry – Lee loves this dish and he excels at Asian cuisine
Served on the side, a bowl of Pad Thai Noodles
Wild Scottish Pheasant, served on Rutabaga Puree with Juniper/Thyme Jus and a ragout of turnips, carrots and black trumpet mushrooms – another winner
Served on the side Gnocchi with a ragout of the braised leg of the pheasant – the gnocchi were as light as a feather. (absolutely horrible photo)
Roasted Filet of Venison, Chestnut Puree, Braised Red Cabbage and Roasted Pear in Huckleberries – we were getting very full and I really didn’t do justice to this dish and the accompanying Shepherd’s pie.
Laurent presents the Shepherd’s pie – I am guessing that the minced meat was the venison and the potatoes were sweet potatoes.
Cheese – Basically the cheese tray was sloppy looking, but the cheese was delicious.
Many of these dishes I have had or variations of them. This is not an innovative dining experience, but it is global as well as representative of California cuisine. Spago is definitely a scene – at least 2 turns a night – although our table is usually just one turn. Therefore, our experience at Spago is not what the “ordinary” diner might receive. Laurent, AGM, “manages” our meal. We are known quantities and Lee makes a special effort to get ingredients that we particularly like i.e. uni. I don’t have a clue what the usual tasting menu is as we never order or even look at a menu. We bring our own wine and share with everyone. Spago is fun and it is more than a scene if you are a “regular.”