Our dinner at Spago was extraordinary. Chef Tetsu Yahagi constructed a masterful tasting menu. I truly think he is one of the best chefs in the country and should be recognized as a world-class rising star chef. His dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are to taste. His melding of flavors is masterful. His creativity is incredible. I just can’t rave enough about how great this meal was. Spago is closing on July 9th for remodeling. The patio, our favorite place to eat, is being completely redone.

The patio

The garden is being demolished – Barbara Lazaroff (Wolfgang’s ex-wife) planted beautiful flowers in the garden that morning as a last hurrah!

BYO Champagne

Spicy Tuna Tartar in Miso Cone Cup – a signature dish

House Smoke Salmon with Lemon Herb Blini and Dill Crème Fraiche – another signature dish

Farmer’s Market Shelling Bean Hummus Tarts with zatar oil, basil oil and mustard seed

Osetra Caviar, Free Range Chicken Egg, softly scrambled – so many chefs don’t get this right – the eggs were perfect.

Sauteéd Kusshi Oyster with Mango Chutney, Madras Curry Aioli and Cilantro Blossom – another one bite wonder

Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato Sorbet with Tomato Water – refreshing and a nod to summer

Not pictured : BYO White wine: Dageneau ’09 Silex

We were presented with this box for our next dish. In the small bowl was tororo kelp (shredded seaweed)

In the box was freshly shaved bonito flakes

Santa Barbara Uni placed on top of Cauliflower Bavaloise  and Dashi Gelee. The Tororo Kelp and “Honkarebushi” Bonito Flakes are sprinkled on top. This was absolutely delicious.

Barely cooked Japanese Octopus Sashimi, Nectarine Ribbons, Rye Crisp, Celery Leaves, Frisee, Chives, Dill, Soy Salt, Black Pepper – who needs a great sushi bar!!!!

This is a close-up of the nectarine ribbon. I assumed that Chef Yahagi had sliced the nectarine on a Japanese Benriner Mandoline. When I asked I was told the Chef had sliced the nectarines by hand and then used a tweezer to fold the nectarine around the dill. Now that is over the top knife skills.

Japanese Ayu-Kishuu-Wakayama Fish( also called sweet fish) being presented

Japanese Ayu Kishuu-Wakayama “Fish ‘N’ Chips” Sauce Gribiche and Mizuna Salad – this was in a word inventive and just amazing

The dish deconstructed – the head and tail had been deep-fried and the flesh encased in tempura batter – you dipped each part in the gribiche sauce

The wonderful crunchy fish head and tail

Striped Bass Osso Buco, Ragout of Beans (black, red and summer shelling), Zucchini Blossoms, Zucchini Puree, Red Wine and Tomato Sauce, Lobster and Saffron Powder. The tail of the fish was wrapped around heart of palm stuffed with fish mousse – off the charts remarkable

Tagliatelle Pasta with Dungeness Crab and Nori Butter, Sudachi Lime and Chives – the pasta turns that color when it is tossed with the nori butter. I asked a lot of questions during this meal as I was so taken with the exactitude of Chef Yahagi’s technique and his attention to detail. Our wonderful servers were able to answer all my questions which is equally amazing.

First of the Season Sweet Corn Agnolotti, Mascarpone, Butter Glaze with Italian Summer Truffles – corn never had it so good

BYO Red Wine

Squab being presented

Slow Roasted Carpenter’s Ranch Squab Breast on the Bone, Spiced Gastrique, Caramelized Tenerelli Farm Figs, Shaved Hazelnuts on top. The sauce was made from drippings from the pan and deglazed with cognac and butter – absolutely A+

Slow Roasted Veal Loin, Farmer’s Market Pee-Wee Heirloom Potatoes, Potato Puree,  Potato “Soil” (toasted and crumbled potato bread) Veal demi-Glace – this reminded me of what David Kinch at Manresa does with his “Into The Garden” dish and his use of “soil.” Once again Chef Yahagi created an inventive dish that was remarkable for its simplicity that melded incredible taste sensations.

We were getting quite full and decided to forgo cheese and a parade of desserts.

Persian Blueberries

Sweet Puff pastry- crispy and baked, Whipped Creme Fraiche

The talented and remarkable Chef Yahagi

I wrote a thank you email to Chef Yahagi. His response speaks volumes about his passion for food – “You let me dance in inspiration.” I can’t wait until Spago reopens and I plan on many, many more meals with Chef Yahagi.


1 Response to “Spago”

  1. 1 Paul July 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I love your wines,and a few words about how they are drinking would be great.{For me at least}I actually have that Chevillon and have been wondering if I had missed it’s drink me date.Also, a thank you for this blog turning me on to Takao,the most underated sushi/food in LA.

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