Thank goodness, we had very few really bad dishes in 2008. But these, in no particular order, were the worst.
The beef tartare - zero taste – Les Fines Gueles – Paris
The next three dishes are from Clos des Sens – Annecy
Huitres Speciales, chou vert, caviar d’Aquitaine served with a wasabi Rouchefort sauce. Essentially this was a green cabbage, oyster, eggplant terrine encased in some sort of gelee. The dish was completely out of balance–the oysters got lost and all you tasted was cabbage – horrible. Clos des Sens – Annecy
A huge bowl of “salade de jeunes pousse de fleurs”…in our opinion “a bowl of weeds” There was no finesse, no creativity–just a bunch of baby shoots thrown in a glass bowl…dressing boring, over-all rating a 1/10.
Gratin d’ecrevisses recuisine or translated as a gratin of crayfish recooked. There was a crayfish mousse ball enclosing crayfish liquid with cooked crayfish, surrounding the ball. The ball sat on a square crayfish chip. The crayfish were overcooked and rubbery and the saucing way out of balance.
Shown is the final dish. This course was actually 3 dishes introduced separately and then put together as one dish. – Gagnaire – Paris
1. Ballottine of scallops from Erguy flavored with maniguette [West African Spice]
2. A bowl containing a pungent cabbage soup with pieces of cabbage.
3. Tepid scallop tartare with small dice of cucumber topped with salmon eggs.
The waiter presented the beautiful scallop tartare, then poured on a large ladle of the soup and topped it off with the scallop ballottine. The cabbage completely obliterated the delicacy of the scallops. This was an example of the whole is worse than the parts. The final dish. What was a mess!
Hereford Beef Ribsteak with Macaroni with foie gras and truffle stuffing, confit of baby turnips.
The beef was presented whole in the pan and returned to the kitchen for plating. The biggest disappointment was the macaroni that was a gluey mess of congealed noodles with zero taste of truffles and the foie was “missing in action”. Cotes St Jacques – Joigny
4 raw slices of scallops on a bed of carrot puree and hazelnuts. This had zero flavor. I have had over 12 scallop preparations on our March trip to France and this ranks as the worse - Le Ponts aux Chats – Strasbourg
Hoisin Glazed Baby octopus, Thai Pancetta, caramelized onion and Japanese eggplant – this was so tough and chewy that 2 bites was all we could manage. Spring – Chicago
Yellow Fin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado Puree, Spicy radish, Chili Oil, Ginger marinade – the saucing was added tableside and I found that the tuna was drowned out by the saucing which added a very unpleasant acidic note. Jean Georges – New York
Warm tuna carpaccio with roasted peaches, crispy guanciale and basil oil – what a mess. Thick slices of tuna on a bed of mushy something – could have been peaches, but sure didn’t taste like it. There was zero crunch so I am guessing the Guanciale was missing in action. That green glop on top was a paste of basil and oil – too much, way overpowering. Vicenti – Brentwood
Escargots persillade – burgundy snails, garlic butter, parsley – this was poor – way too much parsley, chewy snails. Comme Ca – West Hollywood
Steak tartare – Anisette – Santa Monica
Notice the “sauce” left on the plate from the tartare above
The grilled calamari with the sautéed swiss chard was a mixture of very tough overcooked pieces and 2 tender ones. Very poor. - Il Carpaccio- Pacific Palisades
The next three dishes are from Primehouse – American Dim Sum Brunch – Chicago
Bread Pudding with Chocolate sauce – this was sickly sweet and inedible.
Tempura Green Beans – think tons of grease
Sesame Crab Balls – completely dried out
Some sort of stale bun filled with ????
Pork dumplings and Vegetable Egg Rolls. These must have been fried hours before they were served. Think cold and greasy inedible bites.
Duck with Crepes – overcooked dry duck with cold soggy crepes- Mako – Beverly Hills
Dim Sum something – think glue – Hee Hing – Oahu
Potstickers think grease Hee Hing – Oahu
Next up Best Dishes of 2008 – there were many!