Category Archives: Michelin meal

A symphony of (Michelin) stars

Yo-Yo Ma is playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major (Prélude). I walk into a room that radiates style and substance. It was only when I sat down did I realise that there was no music in the background. The goose bumps on my arms – the room did that all by itself. I am at Daniel, one of New York’s most revered restaurants and my first ever three star Michelin adventure.

An ordinary danger of a “party for one” (as they say in the US) is that ‘the one’ is more often than not settled into a corner. Not tonight. I spent the most electric evening in the company of great food, excellent service, and had the best seat in the house.

I am in New York; the city that demands single women order a Cosmopolitan. But the latest Sex And The City movie has left me disgusted and I could not bring myself to pay tribute to the TV series. The White Cosmopolitan (Vodka, Elderflower Liquor, Lime Juice, White Cranberries) at $19 is a delicious compromise. Its served in a martini glass with a giant ice cube decorated with frozen orchids. The show has definitely begun.

I opted for the 3-course Prix Fixe menu ($105). The sommelier helped me choose two reds that would be perfect with the scallops and beef I ordered. I started with the Louis Jadot Beaune, 1er Cru, 1999 ($25) and went on to the Californian Ridge Santa Cruz Mountain Estate ($25). Both wines were completely luscious.

I am not sure if it was cleavage or charisma but something worked and what followed (instead of standard 3 courses) was a symphony of “with compliments of the chef”. I am no food critic and I would much rather eat the meal than describe the ingredients but I have to make an exception this time. Here is what I was served:

–          Amuse Bouche 1: A trio of beet including roasted yellow beet and beet cured octopus

–          Amuse Bouche 2: Clams with horseradish and pineapple

–          Amuse Bouche 3: Crab salad with Persian cucumbers and sesame coulis

–          First Course: Hazelnut crusted scallops with morels, Swiss chard & pink peppercorns

–          Amuse Bouche 4:  Sesame crusted cod with asparagus tempura

–          Second Course: Duo of Beef: Black Angus Short Ribs and Wagyu Tenderloin

–          Third Course: A selection of 5 cheeses included my favourite  Époisses de Bourgogne

–          Surprise Dessert 1: a strawberry soup with strawberry sorbet and strawberries

–          Surprise Dessert 2: freshly baked madeleines

–          Surprise Dessert 3: a selection of 6 gorgeous petit fours including a pistachio macaron

And as a bonus, my request to meet the chef was rewarded with a tour of the kitchen. Oh the joy!!! Even though patron Chef Daniel Boulud was in the house, the five minutes I spent with Executive Chef Jean Francois Bruel were far more inspiring than the several minutes Chef Daniel spent at all the important tables.

For several reasons, starting with holiday remorse, I had to force myself to go out this evening. There is much to be said about working from the inside out. Tonight, I had to work from the outside in and discovered that it works just as well. So go on, be your best sexy and watch the world smile for you.

-p

Daniel on Urbanspoon

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Filed under French, Michelin meal, New York, Restaurant, Tasting menu

Ever afters

It has been one step forward three steps back – both emotionally and gastronomically. My last blog post didn’t go down too well with some well-wishers. I understand – nobody likes hearing a ‘no’, especially when they think they are helping. So I got a bit of a lashing and words like ‘ungrateful’ and ‘patronising’ didn’t act as the Band-Aid they were probably intended as. I had no hopes of an emotional fix this week but my food soul was craving for some loving. This I could do.

I took the day off from work, dressed in my best Veronica avatar, and made my way to brand new Bar Boulud – Michelin star chef Daniel Boulud’s first London restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Best decision of the year.

Bar Boulud is a sexy restaurant. The manager led me to their charcuterie bar designed along an open kitchen. I backed the restaurant and faced a team of 10 very good looking chefs. Absolutely perfect for this single diner who needed a day of nobody else.

I think I had London’s most charming waiter at my service who helped me choose my meal today: I started with the Dégustation de Charcuterie (£14) featuring their signature Pâté Grand Mère of chicken, pork and cognac, and a glass of Hochterrassen Grüner 2008 (£6.50); next was their Piggie Burger (£13.50) with a yummy Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2008 (£10.50); and to end a Gâteau Basque (£6). You know you’ve done Veronica proud if the chef comes over to talk to you. The Executive Chef Dean Yasharian came over and talked to me. It was a perfect meal – the Universe was conspiring to distract me from the most awful week. I try and try and try some more, but don’t know how in the world to stop thinking about the Ex. I also reflected on a question my friend Elie asked me last week. He wanted to know if it was the Ex I missed or the being in a relationship? Hmm….

I don’t ever remember my parents saying, “Let us help you prepare for a life on your own”, or a fairy tale that  didn’t end in “… and they lived happily ever after.”, or a single day when it was better to come home to an empty flat rather than to a hug from someone who truly cared about me. Intellectually I know that there isn’t always someone for everyone, that a lot of people very successfully find their own happy version of an ever after. But that has never been enough for me. How do I now convince myself that it is okay not to want someone who will want to share my life, and allow me to share his?

Today as I reluctantly start talking myself into finding my own happily ever after, you will forgive me for being confused about what I miss.

-p

Bar Boulud on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Bar, Bar food, Burger, London, Michelin meal, Open kitchen