Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Collaboration Dinner: Haru Kishi and Marcel Vigneron at Chaya Brasserie

Chaya Brasserie may be a landmark in the Beverly Hills dining scene for more than 25 years, but Paris-born new Executive Chef Harutaka Kishi is bringing new experiences to its diners, new and old. One of these experiences is a series of special dinners where he collaborates with different chefs. It's not a pop-up. It's not a guest chef dinner where each chef creates their own dishes. It's entirely a collaboration where both chefs work together to create each dish.

The first of these dinners was held with Top Chef contestant Marcel Vigneron, formerly of The Bazaar and Bar210(and now star of Syfy's Marcel's Quantum Kitchen).

Haru Kishi and Marcel Vigneron
Chefs Harutaka Kishi and Marcel Vigneron
Our meal started with a beautiful Thai Lobster Roll, Avocado, Roasted Banana, Thom Kha, Pickled Red Onion
Avocado, Lobster
How beautiful is that dish? It looks like a garden. Despite the delicate look, the the flavors was pretty bold with the thom kha sauce. The richness from the coconut milk added to the creaminess of the avocado.

The dishes were prepared with cocktails made by Devon Espinosa from Tasting Kitchen (and also Marcel's bartender on Quantum Kitchen). The thai lobster roll was paired with the Thai Reviver (Plymouth Gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blonde, Fresh Lemon Juice, Thai Basil Leaves) - a great pairing if I may add.
Next is an equally gorgeous Compressed Curcubitacea (Jaimes Farm Melon, Japanese Cucumber, Almond Cream, Heirloom Tomatoes)
So "cucurbitaceae" is the name of the plant family that includes melons, squash, and cucumbers. A refreshing dish that could almost work as a dessert.

Paired cocktail: Summer Crush (Plymouth Gin, Lime Juice, Lillet Watermelon, Cucumber, Almond Jelle Espuma)
Summer Crush Cocktail

Moving onto the bigger entrees, we had a well cooked and moist Olive Oil Poached White Sea Bass, Gloria’s Farm Summer Squash, Momotaro Sofrito, Castelvetrano Olives
Poached Sea Bass
I wondered if these dishes had more of Chef Haru's influence. This and the next dish were "heartier", less "molecular".

Hatcho Miso Cured Duck Breast, Crispy Thigh, Coleman Farm Kale, Brown Turkey Figs, PX Gastrique , Jus
Next to the breast, shredded, confit duck leg had been wrapped and deep fried. I really liked the earthiness of the kale combined with the gamy duck, with bites of sweet fig as a palate cleanser in between.

Speaking of palate cleanser, I could eat this granita all day long.

For dessert: Regier’s Farm Roasted Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Almond Cake, Lavender Blossom
Grilled Peach
It didn't look like much with the blackened peach and loosely shaped almond cake, but looks can be deceiving. This was a great dessert with airy, delicate almond cake and sweet, juicy peach.

This dinner was a nice change from the usual "guest chef" dinner. Instead of having one dish from each chef (and the customers subsequently comparing each chef's dish), they both contribute to all the dishes. It seems to better capture the camaraderie between them.

The September dinner is still in the works, but mark your date for October 20 featuring Iron Chef Marc Forgione (and his father Larry Forgione from St Louis)!


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