Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ultimate Food Porn

This post is about two months late but I wanted to post it not only because it was one of the best culinary experiences of my life but also because it'll relate to another post that will go up this week. My friend Eli treated me to a DELICIOUS dinner at the Met Trustee Dining Room a while back to celebrate my new job. I haven't shared the experience with you all because it seemed like such a daunting task. All of this to say, I probably won't do this meal justice but here it is...


The chef at the Trustee Dining room had created this menu inspired by a sculpture at the Met. It's called "Water Stone" by Isamu Noguchi. You'll see why in a few seconds.


We started with an Amuse Bouche. My very first! It was Pickled Vegetables (Lilly Bulb, Ramps, Mushrooms, Hearts of Palm).



I have been such a big fan of Hearts of Palm lately but I think my favorite of all of these vegetables were the mushrooms. While it was clearly pickled, the vinegar wasn't overpowering. All of the veggies had crunch and tasted really fresh.

We then had the star of the meal, which was the Umami Ice Stone. This is the dish that was inspired by Isamu Noguchi's sculpture. It was Tuna Sashimi with Caviar.

Isn't this gorgeous?!


You can see how it was inspired by the Water Stone. The "rocks" underneath were raw lentils, I think, and the tuna was sitting atop this lovely ice with frozen flowers. It really was a work of art! The tuna sashimi was fresh tasting but not that different from other tuna sashimis that I've eaten. I LOVE caviar but this caviar wasn't as salty as most - which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I think that this dish was more about presentation than taste, to be honest.

We then moved onto the Tempura Soft Shell Crab with grilled green asparagus and hot honey mustard.


I'm not the biggest fan of tempura because it's usually a little too greasy for me and I don't normally like the sauce that goes with it. Although when I was studying in Kyoto, my host parents used to put salt on their tempura instead of putting it in the tempura sauce. Now I only eat tempura that way. But this tempura dish at the Met was absolutely DIVINE! It obviously didn't have the traditional tempura sauce but honey mustard! I had never heard of having it with honey mustard but since having this meal, I have had tempura sushi served with honey mustard sauce, so maybe it's a common thing...

The asparagus was cooked just right. Not too mushy and not too raw. The soft shell crab itself was also delicious and had the perfect consistency. It was easy to eat and not too chewy. The batter was really crunchy and delicious and the taste of everything all together was JUST RIGHT. I think that this was my favorite course!

I would also like to add at this point that this whole meal was accompanied by Dassai Sake. It was also wonderful. I would say more about it but I don't know much about sake to be able to give it a proper review.

Next up was Clear Soup with Clams with watercress and tofu.


This tasted kind of like a beef broth but very light. The clams were delicious and the watercress was a perfect accompaniment. I like when the greens in a soup are pretty substantial so you feel like you're actually eating something. As much as I love tofu, I could've done without it.

Next was another AMAZING dish - Grilled Wagyu Beef Teriyaki served on top of a rice cake with gingered maitake and long beans.



I am not a big meat eater but OH.MY.GOD was this beef delicious! I had to look up what wagyu actually was I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only is it a high-quality meat but it's also more nutritious than most beef. The "wa" means "Japanese" and the "gyu" means "cow". More reason to love Japan. ;) This beef really melted in your mouth and was oh so delicious. I've been seriously contemplating becoming a vegetarian lately but on days like this, I wonder if I should reconsider. The teriyaki sauce was also delicious and not sickeningly sweet like most teriyaki sauces. The rice cake was just white rice that was essentially squished to make this shape. It's halfway to a mochi consistently. And I love mushrooms so of course, those were amazing too. They were also not too mushy and lovely. Pure deliciousness!

We ended the meal with the Yuzu Custard with Orange and Balsamic Blackberries and a Tangerine Sorbet.


The Yuzu Custard was pretty good but the fruit was a little disappointing. The menu had said orange but clearly it was starfruit. The starfruit wasn't ripe at all and the tangerine sorbet had a weird after-taste. But you know what, Japanese people don't really have a tradition of desserts so I have to give props for creating a Japanese-style dessert. The good thing (and the Japanese thing) was that it was nice and light.

Again, it was one of the BEST meals I've ever had and a HUGE thank you to Eli for this wonderful meal! Yummers!!!

Next up, we're going to go to Afternoon Tea at the Met. Yay!

3 comments:

  1. That was an AMAZING meal! I think I just might dream about that delicious soft-shell crab tonight! ;-)

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  2. WOW. What a gorgeous, delicious-looking meal! I'm so jealous :)

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