Saturday, August 7, 2010

April Bloomfield Dinner at Melisse

Although this year there has been no news on the 5x5 Dinner series, Angelenos can still indulge in guest chef dinners at Melisse. This summer, Chef Josiah Citrin welcomes Chef Christopher Kostow of Restaurant at Meadowood, Chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in NYC, and Chef David Kinch of Manresa.

I was able to go to the Bloomfield dinner and enjoyed a six (more like seven) course meal prepared by Chef Bloomfield, Chef Citrin and Takayama of Melisse, and Chef Ray Garcia of FIG. Chef April Bloomfield opened The Spotted Pig, New York's first gastropub, in 2004. It was a huge hit and the restaurant with its seasonal British-pub/Italian has maintained its one Michelin star since then.

This dinner is a collaboration hosted by Melisse, so naturally the amuse bouche and bread come from Melisse.

The meal started with Foie gras with yuzu and Melon, mint, pistachio.

Bread service: Basil brioche, bacon focaccia

Since it's Monday and I didn't want to spend even more money, I opted for a glass of wine instead of doing the wine pairing (an extra $75). I ordered the 2008 Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine de La Solitude which was meant to be paired with the Boudin Blanc course. Despite being a fairly young wine, I found it pretty smooth.

Wild Japanese Kanpachi
Sorrel, cucumber, passionfruit-espellete // Josiah Citrin and Ken Takayama
The richness from the sorrel nicely highlighted the kanpachi.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
Crisp olives // April Bloomfield
This gazpacho turns out to be a good introduction to the food of Chef April Bloomfield: bold flavors and strong on the spice. The crisp olives were a nice textural touch and were something I could munch on all day.

Squid Basquaise
Nduja, forbidden rice, piment d'anglet, prosciutto // Ray Garcia
Part of the squid was stuffed with nduja, a spicy pork sausage which originated from Calabria, and forbidden rice (a type of black rice). The dish was finished with chorizo romesco sauce. This dish is a good followup to Bloomfield's gazpacho with its equally strong flavors. The squid had a great texture although there were a little too much nduja in the pieces that were stuffed.

Boudin Blanc
Sauteed market potatoes, basil & pickled mustard seed // April Bloomfield
This boudin blanc was made with pork and veal. The potatoes were flavorful and moist although I preferred eating them separately from the sausage.
Interestingly, I didn't think the Chateauneuf du Pape actually paired that well with this dish. The boudin blanc brought out the tartness and acidity in what was before a rich and smooth wine and unfortunately this tartness overwhelmed the food.

Arctic Char
Spiced lentils, anchovy-pine nut bread crumb //April Bloomfield
The fish was cooked perfectly and had a nice skin but the lentil and anchovy-pine nut crumb were a little too salty and strong in flavors. Fortunately the tomatoes really helped cut this saltiness. I enjoyed the flavors but the salt could be toned down - or add more tomatoes.

Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef
Chanterelle mushrooms, Brentwood corn, summer truffles, "jus de boeuf acidule"
// Josiah Citrin and Ken Takayama
In the back were braised short ribs and potato galette. Even without reading the menu, upon looking at and tasting this dish you should know that this was not April Bloomfield. The dish had more subtle and balanced flavors. Yes, this was very much a Melisse dish. My only complaint was that the wagyu was tougher than I would've liked.

Strawberry, Basil, and Pistachio //Josiah Citrin and Ken Takayama
Berry sabayon, brown butter ice cream over pistachio vacherin, finished with basil emulsion. A solid and refreshing dessert from Melisse (although my heart still lies with their Passionfruit Parfait with lemongrass soup).

Persian mulberries, apricot, creme fraiche, canele, and a housemade raspberry chocolate truffle
The Persian mulberries were the juiciest and sweetest mulberries we've ever had while the delightful truffles melted in our mouths.

The three dishes by Chef Bloomfield gave a pretty good idea of her style. Each dish was excellent with strong and bold flavors which no doubt would work wonderfully at a casual gastro-pub but in my opinion as part of a tasting menu where progression of the meal itself is important, their flavors are too strong. They lack the restraint that Chef Josiah Citrin showcases in his dishes.

Next up: Chef David Kinch of Manresa on Monday, August 23rd!

8 comments:

The Flop Shot
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mbrigha

I really enjoy your blog. I'm new to L.A. and it's been a pleasure to read as my wife and I get acquainted with the local food scene. I've already been to FIG and I'm looking forward to Melisse in a couple weeks(I live right around the corner). Keep up the great entries!

burumun

mbrigha: Thank you for the comment! I'm glad you're enjoying my blog :) There are plenty of good food around you - are you getting the $65 anniversary menu at Melisse?

mbrigha

I recall a post about a 10 course $150 anniversary menu, but not a $65 one...what's that about?

burumun

oh that was their 10th anniversary. They're having $65 4-course menu July and Aug. Here's the menu:
First Course
Lobster Bolognese
Fresh Cappelini, Black Truffles, Basil
...
Second Course
Alaskan Halibut
Vietnamese Spinach, Courgettes, Curry-Kefir Emulsion

Entree
Prime Beef Strip Loin
Heirloom Carrots, Swiss Chard, Maple-Horseradish Jus

Dessert
Passion Fruit Parfait
Lemongrass and Coconut

Diana

Oh my gosh - that $65 tasting sounds awesome! I may have to find some dining partners to check it out with me when I get back from my work trip. Thanks for the tip! :)

Kung Food Panda

Looks like the meal was excellent, though sadly I wasn't too impressed with April Bloomfield when I had brunch at Breslin, though I will try her restaurant a 2nd time in the future.

That 4 course $65 was fantastic!

nelehelen

I absolutely loved Spotted Pig... So sad I missed this one.. *sigh* I've been missing quite a few, but glad I can catch up via your great review! Gotta stick to cheap eats for now! When are you going to Simbala again? Haha :P

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