I HEART BACON
Saturday, August 14th, 2004

The Chef in the Hat

Ever since my mom and I saw Thierry Rautureau speak at the 2003 Cascadia Culinary Arts Conference, we’ve been wanting to eat at his restaurant. He was so personable, funny and well-spoken. I loved hearing about his childhood food memories and about the importance of supporting local, sustainable farmers. So when my employer gave me a gift certificate to Rover’s as a going away present, I knew who I had to take. I called my mom to pick a date and then booked the reservation.

We splurged and both chose the Eight Course Grand Menu Degustation ($125). I have never been, nor will ever be a vegetarian, but even the Five Course Vegetarian Menu Degustation sounded amazing. We asked for a white burgundy and our waiter presented us with a 2000 Meursault les Clous Bouchard Pere & Fils (mmmm).

Amuse-Bouche: A trio of Ginger Carrot Soup with Basil Oil, White Cheddar Puff Pastry Twist & Rabbit Mousse – A wonderful sip of soup with a crunchy puff pastry cracker. The mousse was delicious and came on what my mom dubbed ‘the communion wafer’. I could have eaten spoonfuls of the rabbit mousse, but since it was an amuse-bouche, it was about the size of my fingertip.

Scrambled Egg with a Lime Cr̬me Fraiche and White Sturgeon Caviar РHeavenly caviar mixed with just the right amount of perfectly scrambled egg, stuffed back into an egg shell and set in an egg cup. Beautiful.

Smoked Moulard Duck Breast with Frisee and a Plum and Apple Compote – Rich, smoky duck breast slices paired with a sweet compote and presented on a crisp frisee salad.

Soft Shell Bisque with Diver’s Sea Scallop Quenelle and Sea Beans – One of my favorite dishes. A rich tasting broth with beautiful and light quenelles. The standout ingredient in the dish was actually the sea beans—crunchy little morsels that burst with a sweet and briny flavor.

Maine Lobster with Braised Fennel and a Pastis Nage – Another favorite. Perfectly cooked lobster that was actually tender, served in a wonderful licorice broth.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Caramelized Peach and a Honey Vinegar Gastric – My absolute favorite. The plate came out and it looked like a painting, swathed in red and orange hued sauces with bright green accents. An amazing piece of foie gras that was made even more wonderful when paired with the rich sauces. The portion was so large that I almost couldn’t finish it, but of course I did finish it.

Troll King Salmon Tournedos with Romano Beans and a Soy-Ginger Glaze – This was good, but after all the fantastic things that preceded it, this ended up tasting somewhat plain—like a really good salmon teriyaki.

Sauvignon Blanc and Peach Sorbet / Black Tea with Silver Honey Sorbet – The peach sorbet was too sweet and cloying for my taste and the tea and honey sorbet had a very odd tangy flavor.

Roasted Lamb Loin with Zucchini, Onion Confit and a Moroccan Olive Sauce – This was good as well, but in my opinion, the most interesting dishes were all the seafood courses.

European and Local Cheese Assortment – All excellent cheeses and I can’t remember the name of a single one of them.

Symphony of Desserts – A trio of really beautifully presented mini-desserts, but they looked better than they tasted.

Jellies & Truffles – A nice assortment of chocolate truffles and jelly candies.

All in all, the dinner was amazing—beautiful presentation and interesting and delicious ingredient parings. However, I do think that the eight course menu may have been a tad bit too much food for me. Next time I go back I will order a five course menu and request mostly seafood.

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