This was our last meal with Corey Lee at French Laundry, but stay tuned, as he is opening a restaurant in San Francisco. Sous Chef Timothy Hollingsworth will be taking over for Corey and knowing Thomas and his organization, everything will be fine.
Corey knows I love uni and had prepared 4 different preparations. What was interesting is that Corey used 3 different types of uni from Mendocino, Santa Barbara and Japan; each type of uni had a different taste and mouthfeel.
“Lonsdale” – gin, apple, mint, coconut “snow”, a small dab of chili on top – this was a pop in your mouth “cocktail” in one bite.
Island Creek Oyster with Raspberry Vinegar and Cucumber Foam – another one slurp wonder
Mendocino Uni with Green Apple Granite – what an incredible combination – the icy cold granite with the smooth unctuous uni
Fresh Water Eel with Akita Komachi Rice, Marinated Trout Roe and Perilla Leaves – This had a pronounced Asian flair – the trout roe was spectualar, the rice a perfect complement and the eel delicious
Frog’s Legs with Filet Beans from the French Laundry Garden, Heirloom Tomato, Parsley, Lemon – Sometimes I hate the less is more theory of the French Laundry
Ensui Uni (Japan) with Almond Panna Cotta, 1/16″ dice of apple, Black Truffles, Edible Gold Leaf – this uni was very different than the Menocino uni – it had a salty ocean taste. Who would have thought that almond panna cotta would even work – it did.
Sauteed Big Fin Squid from Japan, Confit of Eggplant, “Tossed” Navel Orange, Cashew Nuts, Scallions, Mizuna – I love squid, but too many restaurants cook it until it is rubber – not Corey. The citrus orange brightened the dish and the cashews added texture.
Hen Egg Omelet, Santa Barbara Uni, Red Ribbon Sorrel, White Sturgeon Caviar, Creme Fraiche – This was THE dish of the evening – absolutely spectacular. Scroll down to see my notes taken that evening.
Inside of the Omelet – gorgeous!
I have a small notebook in which I take notes. I had our server take my notebook back to the kitchen to show Corey. He loved his grade!
Now Butter and Bread is served: Animal farm Butter – the newest calf is named Keller and Andante Dairy Butter (Petaluma) – The butter is made by Soyoung Scalan, the Andante cheesemaker. She lets the butter sit with the cheese so the butter picks up the bacteria and texture of the cheese and therefore its texture becomes more cheeselike.
Second White Wine
Japanese Blue Fin Tuna with Sunchokes, Pinenuts, Cherry and Nicoise Olive Emulsion – nothing fancy- just a pristine piece of fish
Prawns from Louisana, Roasted Deep-fried Garlic, Globe Artichoke, Chorizo, Garlic Foam, Romesco Sauce – This is when Corey demonstrates his ability to do cuisine that represents many different styles and what I find most fun about eating at the French Laundry. This was definitely a Spanish influenced dish.
Russet Potato Gnocchi, Uni, Uni Emulsion – Pairing gnocchi with uni is a first for me – the gnocchi were as light as air and then—-
Australian Winter Black Truffles were added tableside.
Fricasse of Pork Belly, Milk-fed Poulet, sliced into ribbons, Golden Corn, Filet Beans, Romaine leaf, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – This was almost like eating a haute cuisine chicken salad.
Sbrinz, a cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland (the “godfather of Parmesan), Sweet 1000 tomatoes, Mustard, Pain Perdue, Frisee, Cippolini Onions
Nectarine Sorbet, Boysenberry Puree, Ginger Gelee
Coffee and Donuts
Vanilla Custard, Grilled Pinenut Cake, Silverado Trail Srawberries, Cherry Sorbet
A huge thank you to Corey Lee and the staff for so many wondrous meals. I never take our dining experiences at The French Laundry for granted. I appreciate the effort, the dedication, the thoughtfulness, the extraordinary sourcing of unusual ingredients and the unique combinations. Yes, it with sadness that I bid Corey good-bye, but I look forward to a Timothy Hollingsworth meal.