We were so happy to hear that Bread Bar extended the guest chef event with Chef Sugie. The only downside of the evening was finding a parking space at Westfield Shopping center in Century City. We resorted to valet parking.
I had made the decision to get there early so we could be ahead of the rush and really have some one on one time with Chef Sugie. Unfortunately, Chef Sugie wasn’t there and I was slightly worried that this would be a dining disaster. Chef Rogelio was more than up to the task; he had worked with Ludo during Ludo’s guest chef event and he has certainly mastered Chef Sugie’s signature dishes.
Unfortunately, many of the dishes I wanted to try were not on the menu i.e. the monkfish liver and foie gras terrine, uni, shima aji, mirugai.
We told Chef Rogelio we wanted omakase, had no food allergies or dislikes and we were in no hurry.
1. Pickled Beets (several varities of red and striped), micro chives, walnuts and almonds – a great first nibble
2. Salmon croquettes with a Tomatillo dipping sauce – excellent
3. Lobster seviche served in an upside down hollowed out lime, with young coconut, jalapeno, red onion, coriander, tapioca, lime juice – this was listed on the menu as mirugai seviche, But Chef Rogelio explained that the Century City crowd were afraid of mirugai and wouldn’t order it. What do they know??? Still an excellent dish, although I would have preferred the mirugai.
Empty Lime Shell
Bread was then presented – a flat bread selection with shichimi pepper, nori and white sesame seeds.
4. Blue Fin Tuna Tartare, pickled fennel, dry capers, pistachios, sushi rice puree, extra virgin olive oil and topped with crispy fennel. This was sensational and the quality of the tuna superb. There is absolutely no stinting on ingredient quality.
A word on the service – it was exceptional – we didn’t want for anything – Chef Rogelio’s timing of the dishes was perfect and every server was quick to meet any and all of our needs.
5. Hamachi sashimi, grated lemongrass, daikon radish, hijiki, pea shoots, hibiscus ponzu – another winner.
6. Crab guacamole, wild rice puff, lemon confit, preserved lemon puree – a thinly sliced avocado served as the bottom and cover for the crab with the puffed rice adding the textural crunch – also excellent
7. Shishitou pepper, edamame, lime salt – this was boring – after a couple of bites, I had enough.
8. Beef Carpaccio, grated pecorino (aged and smoked in grape leaves), extra virgin olive oil, mizuna. The beef had been spiced with Chinese 5 spice and then seared. Again ingredient quality was superb.
9. Beet tartare (roasted), goat cheese, olive oil, cornichons. golden beets, mache salad and a tapenade sauce – good
10. Lobster soup with Crispy Chickpeas. This was a surprise – delicious. Chef Rogelio and I then had an extended conversation about tomalley – they have been tossing theirs. Oh No!!! One of my favorite things
Jasper White has a wonderful recipe for Tomalley croutons:
From Jasper White’s Cooking from New England |June 1998
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup cooked lobster tomalley
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 baguette (long French bread)
1. Sauté the garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon butter. Let cool somewhat, then mix with the remaining butter and parsley. Whip in the tomalley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the French bread 3/8 inch thick and toast on both sides. Spread each piece with the tomalley-butter mixture. Place on a sheetpan and put in the pre-heated oven or under a broiler until croutons are crispy and hot. Serve immediately.
Back to the meal:
11. Ricotta Gnocchi, brown butter, deep-fried sage. The ricotta is sourced from Norbet of the Cheese Shop in Beverly Hills, LA’s best cheese shop – again quality ingredients. The gnocchi were as light as air.
12. Shoestring fries (Yukon gold potatoes) with rosemary, garlic, hickory salt – this was just not good – the potatoes were cold and basically a let down given the inventiveness of the other dishes.
13. 4 different Sliders – Lamb Meatball, Crab Cake, Salmon and Beer-battered Brie served with mizuna, pickles, spicy red chimichurri – these were OK, but other than the lobster soup and the gnocchi, I much prefer the raw bar more than the cooked items. However, I have heard that the Black Cod slider is sensational.
14. As we had more red wine left, we decided to have a second beef carpaccio.
15. Sake Panna Cotta, Strawberry Coulis, granita – delicious
16. White Chocolate Risotto, dried fruit, almonds – also very good
NV Champagne Herbert–right on delicious.
2003 Meursault, Martenot-Talbot–clean, spicy, very full bodied, great finish.
1999 Gevery Chambertin, Raphet–excellent, great nose, full of raspberries and flowery fruit…drank beautifully.
This was an amazing, wonderful evening – fun, good food and we were treated like the King and the Queen. We are hoping to go back when Chef Sugie is there and have him do a special meal for us, but Chef Rogelio was and is a dedicated and passionate chef.