Mum Mum left yesterday, but not before she babysat so that Darrin and I could go out to eat by ourselves. Kind of for my birthday. We found a lovely French place close to our house. It was easily the best meal we've had, maybe ever.
One plus was that it was so...quiet. Our time here is giving us much more family togetherness than we are used to. But at this dinner, nobody spilled their drink, punched their neighbor, or started crawling under the table.
Here's the decor. Gorgeous. Simple. Empty. Modern Japanese. Too bad you can't see the perfect little Japanese garden out the window.
We each got a different prix fixe. Here are some pics for Kurt. Eat your heart out, dude.
Amuse bouche. That's a persimmon under that ham.
Beef carapacchio. Perfect.
This was a course of garlicky pasta with some uni on top (sea urchin). Darrin's course. But Darrin hates uni. We figured that this is about as good as uni can possibly get. But, the verdict? Now he can officially say that uni is nasty. In his opinion, of course.
The lovely wine we enjoyed.
This soup. Oh my god.... Japanese sweet potato base, cream, truffle oil. When the staff weren't looking I licked the whole plate. This was the best! The best. Kurt, please figure out how to make this.
A fish course for Darrin.
Darrin's next course was foie gras on a chunk of oden. In my opinion, this dish had two potential strikes against it--first, foie gras. I've never had it, but you know, there's all that protest about the force-fed ducks. So I wasn't sure I wanted to taste it. Second, the oden. Oden is a kind of Japanese hodge podge--chunks of mystery meat, shaped tofu, overly boiled vegetables that are stored indefinitely in a vat of foul smelling, fishy--soy water. At least, that's my exposure to it from the 7-11. This time of year there's a steaming pot of the stuff near the register and it smells nasty. Our friend V's mother used to call it "dog food." As in, "let's have dog food for dinner tonight."
Well, it turns out that in the right hands (like a Japanese French chef who interned at Gramercy Park), oden is pretty darn good. And duck liver, when served whole, is also pretty amazing. (I think that the social guilt adds a special something). The combination of the two flavors changed my life. Here it is:
My main course was lamb chop...so good. Plenty of salt.
Darrin's main course was beef.
And here's my dessert. Some of you probably think that creme brulee is so cliche. But you may not know that "cliche" also means "perfectly delicious" in Japanese. I forget what Darrin had for dessert. I was a busy eating this.
Finally cafe au lait. How did these guys know that I usually have two desserts? Aren't those brownies kawaii?
If you're tuning in from Japan, get on the train. Right now. Here's the restaurant: