Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Benu Oct 2010

Innovation, astonishing yet elegant
Savoriness, surprising yet impeccable
Service, invisible yet perfect

Had not been back to French Laundry for ages until Halloween 2009, the week right after Cory Lee left.   Waited for almost one year, we finally got a chance to try Cory Lee's creation.

We love almost everything.  The enjoyment of benu is at the same level of L'Astrance.   Outstanding !

thousand-year-old quail egg, lonsdale
Unfortunately, I am extremely picky about my thousand-year-old egg, Pei Pei too.  Only the best brand from Taiwan can satisfy my plate.  The texture is a miss.  Not bad for a home made.  Lonsdale, cocktail, is beautiful and subtle in flavor.

sea urchin and almond tofu, caviar, sparkling grape
Impaging mix a bit of savory caviar, bitter sweet sea urchin, and bitter sour sparkling grape.  Firecracker in the mouth.   Almond tofu gives this dish a beautiful presentation but a bit tougher.

abalone grenobloise, cauliflower, caper, lemon

Baby abalone is warm and just the right slight chew texture.  Lemon and caper enhance the flavor even more.

eel, feuille de brick, creme fraiche
caramelized anchovy, peanut, lily bulb
mountain yam and shrimp souffle

How I love this course.  Perfectly fried crispy eel with soft and light creme fraiche.  Caramelized anchovy, peanut, lily bulb clean palate and trick your mind to get ready for mountain yam souffle, moist and soft yet retain some of mountain yam's smooth sticky texture.  Yum.

monkfish liver torchon, turnip, pear, mustard, brioche
"Is the brioche better than L'Ambroisie?" Milton asked.  Definitely not with 8 sticks of butter but well executed.  Maybe a bit of corn to give it a nice flaky texture without too much butter.  I enjoyed the brioche alone before trying the monkfish liver, another impeccable effort in both flavor and texture again.

crispy cod milt, beet, yuzu, romaine, horseradish creme fraiche
Silly us trying the milt alone and shocked by the texture.  OK, shocked by literally the "milt" itself.  Beet, yuzu, romaine, and horseradish creme fraiche (wait.  Jeremy Fox's beet salad) compliment well with the crispy cod milt.  This is how Cory defines a great design. 

"shark's fin" soup, dungeness crab, cabbage, Jinhua ham, black truffle custard
OMG.  The Jinhua consomme is full of savory flavor.  Creamy black truffle custard at the base give this consomme its soul.   I will be back in two weeks just for this.

pumpkin porridge, lobster, black truffle
Lobster pumpkin porridge?  What a great idea to avoid the creamy butter cream yet preserve the texture of lobster bisque!

my cookie iPhone4 cover became the talk of the night.  Waiters can help smiling at this silly thing on the table.  Heh, I wouldn't put a cell phone on the dinning table but this one is too cute and deserve its own seat.

eight treasure duck
A bold move, putting Chinese herb medicine in the dish.  I ate them like raisins when I was kid.  Love this eight treasure.

beef rib cap, matsutake mushroom, pine nut, pine needle honey, mitsuba
.......... I do this at home.  Sorry, I made Milton make this at home.  After the Jinhua consomme and eight treasure duck, we can't taste the subtle flavor of this beef except the honey.  It would be nice that this dish was served before Jinhua and duck.

huckleberry sorbet, yogurt, lemon curd, vanilla sponge

chestnut custard, cranberry, mace ice cream, arlette

On the way out, we heard this loud engine noise.  Valet is parking a Ferrari and let the key next to the kitchen.  Mine!

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