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Ad Hoc beef seafood Thomas Keller

Know Your Ribeye, a.k.a. New Year’s Eve at Ad Hoc

I know we were just at Ad Hoc 11 days before, but I made our New Year’s Eve reservations way before they put grilled short ribs on the menu the same day we were going to The French Laundry. And I certainly wasn’t going to turn down a special end-of-2009 dinner of Prime Ribeye and Maine Lobster with Truffle Butter.

Steak and LobsterPrime Ribeye and Maine Lobster with Truffle Butter

I’ve had ribeyes at Ad Hoc before, but this was the first time Ad Hoc was allowed to serve the calotte (ribeye cap) alongside the ribeye. Normally, the calotte is trimmed from the rib roasts and sent up the road to The French Laundry where they serve it like this:

Calotte de Beouf GrilléeThe French Laundry’s Calotte de Beouf Grillée (12.08.08)

You know how prime rib has that ring of meat on the outside that tastes way better than the middle? That’s the calotte. If you’re a real fan of beef, you already know that the calotte is considered the best part of the cow because it’s tender and loaded with flavor, and chefs have been known to save the calotte for themselves.

Ad Hoc Blowtorch Prime RibAd Hoc Blowtorch Prime Rib

Here’s the ribeye broken into separate components.

ribeye-partsAnatomy of a ribeye, from left: rib bone, the eye, and the calotte.
Picture from Ideasinfood.com.

Everything at Ad Hoc is served family style, but they portioned each platter so that everyone at the table got two pieces of calotte, two pieces of ribeye, a whole lobster tail and a whole lobster claw. It was served with steamed broccolini and Carolina red rice with black eyed peas. I don’t mean to besmirch the meltingly tender lobster—the whole claw fell out of its shell when it was picked up—the perfect medium-rare ribeye, or the accompaniments, but really…this meal was all about the calotte. It was especially gratifying to find out that the calotte and lobster tail were separate courses on The French Laundry tasting menu that evening, as well.

A full plateA full plate of food to close out 2009.

Normally, you can ask for seconds at Ad Hoc and they’ll oblige, but not on this night. It wasn’t a problem because my wife gave me some of her calotte because she was getting full and saving herself for dessert. The Chocolate Bombe was a dark chocolate hazelnut mousse served with caramel sauce and hazelnut brittle, a lovely way to end 2009.

Chocolate BombeThe Chocolate Bombe was the bo— nevermind… ;)

Here’s pics of the rest of the meal:

[pictobrowser type=”flickr” userID=”arndog” albumID=”72157623011038355″]

And here’s Cibo Matto’s – Know Your Chicken on YouTube to ring in 2010!

Categories
Ad Hoc reviews seafood Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 2/8/09

The thing I love most about Ad Hoc is that you never eat the same meal twice, and this was no exception. I’ve noticed from looking at the menus that they’re coming up with some really interesting first courses that deviate from the traditional soup or salad paradigm.

As I was getting out of my car, I ran into Nessim, one of Ad Hoc’s lead servers, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Claire Clark, the former French Laundry pastry chef who’s spending time at Ad Hoc making desserts before going back to the U.K. This was an unexpected treat since we were there specifically to try her dessert course. I also reconnected with Chef de Cuisine Dave Cruz, and he was kind enough to send over an additional course to our table in between the first and second courses.

MENU

Maryland-Style Crabcakes
fingerling potatoes in remoulade,
shaved celery salad, hass avocado

~

Brook Trout
hen of the woods mushroom conserva
(additional course)

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Whole Roast Lamb Leg
fennel gratin, borlotti bean ragout,
garden rosemary, dijon mustard
dried mission fig jus

~

The Cheese Board
marcona almonds
marshall’s farm wild flower honey

~

Red Velvet Cupcakes
white chocolate-cream cheese frosting

[pictobrowser type=”flickr” userID=”arndog” albumID=”72157613536570816″]

The crab cakes were outstanding. They were fresh and free of any flour “filler”—just crab with seasoned panko to hold it together. It was served with some nice fingerlings in remoulade and some avocados cooked sous vide, which made them even creamier.

The lamb was local and less gamey than the Colorado lambs that Ad Hoc sometimes gets, which I liked. It was served with fennel gratin and Borlotti bean ragout that the entire staff was raving about, and it easily outshined the lamb although it was a tad salty for me. My wife, who loves salty foods, had no complaints.

The cheese course featured toasted almonds, cheese from three different animals (goat, sheep, and cow) and was served with a really nice bitter orange jam.

The red velvet cupcakes were smaller than a typical Ad Hoc dessert, but when they’re this pretty, does it really matter? Technically, this was a great cupcake. It was dense (by design), and the texture reminded me of pound cake . The white chocolate and cream cheese frosting had just the right amount of sweetness and the Valrhona chocolate pearls added some crunch to it. However, I’m coming to the realization that I just don’t like red velvet cake. I think my eyes see red cake and expect something bold, but the flavor is always much more subdued.

Or maybe I just don’t get it and that means there’s more red velvet cake in the world for the rest of you. :)

Categories
reviews seafood Southern California steak TV

Providence – Los Angeles, CA

My parents’ wedding anniversary is two days after Christmas, and in the last few years, we’ve started taking them to restaurants that normally aren’t on their radar. Last year, we took them to Osteria Mozza, and this year, after reading my French Laundry post, my mom said she wanted to experience something like that. Granted, it’s impossible to find something comparable to The French Laundry in Southern California, but L.A. is no slouch when it comes to great restaurants. I ended up choosing Providence because of its seafood-centric menu and more affordable five-course tasting option, but two Michelin stars didn’t hurt either.

ProvidenceTwo Michelin Stars in Los Angeles.

My first exposure to Providence and Chef Michael Cimarusti was on the second season of After Hours with Daniel Boulud, the MOJO HD show where Boulud throws after hours dinners at prominent restaurants. Season two was set in LA, and admittedly, it was hard to keep track of which one-word restaurant was which. As I rewatched the episode on Hulu.com, I instantly remembered Providence while watching the episode where a lobster attacks a piece of Kobe beef. You can watch the episode in its entirety at Hulu.com.

One of the first things we noticed about the tasting menu was that the dessert course featured a kalamansi gelée. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know that kalamansi is the citrus of choice in the Philippines, especially in one of my favorite dishes, bistek tagalog. My parents were especially excited to see this versatile Filipino citrus featured in a fine-dining setting. For us, it was the second time in a month we’ve seen Filipino ingredients on a high-end tasting menu. (The first was the Ilocano salt and Pili nuts at The French Laundry.) So while the rest of the tasting menu looked fabulous on paper, we already had our eyes on dessert.

Categories
recipes seafood sous vide techniques

Wild Turbot Fillets (Sous Vide)

Trader Joe’s is one of our favorite places to buy groceries. We’re big fans of their frozen foods, especially their pizza, but we’ve never really explored the wonders of their flash-frozen seafood until now. Sous vide lends itself well to cooking seafood, and from what I’ve been reading, fish prepared sous vide is soft, tender and flaky.

The Seasoned Wild Turbot Fillets caught my eye because they were already seasoned, and I figured I could just drop the bag in the water and be done with it.


Seasoned Wild Turbot Fillets

Seasoned Wild Turbot Fillets

I heated up the water bath 113F/45C and cooked the fish for around 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, we took the fish out of the bag, reserving the juice. The fish is very fragile and soft, so be careful when moving it around. In a lightly buttered pan, sear the fish for about 30 seconds a side. Remove the fish from the pan and pour the juice from the bag into the pan to make a sauce. After cooking down the sauce a bit, spoon it on the fish and you’re done.

Here’s mine served with steamed rice and wilted spinach.


Plated Meal

The texture was just what I wanted—soft, tender, and flaky, and the impromptu pan sauce was a nice touch.

NOTES

  • 113F/45C is considered below “food safe” but if you’re serving the fish immediately and not storing it for later use, it should be fine. Also, pan searing before serving should also make the fish “safer.” Cooking it right in the bag that it came in also minimizes possible contamination.
  • You don’t have to use much butter…just coat the pan lightly.
  • Because the cooking time is so short, you could easily do this in a pot over the stove. Just make sure you can regulate the water temperature for 20 minutes or so.
Categories
entertainment seafood

Finding Nemo 2

I know this is old, but I had to post it. All I can really say is that I love Photoshop!


Finding Nemo 2