Tuesday, April 17, 2007

comfort food

according to this wikipedia entry, "comfort food refers to any food or drink to which one habitually turns to temporary respite, security, or special reward", so i guess it's debatable in that sense to call our monday dinner something of "comfort food".

okay, the story is, last night we went to this posh restaurant with mr and mrs m to enjoy a special menu created and hosted by the very guy behind the restaurant, mr alain ducasse. for those not knowing who he is, well, he is, essentially, the "michelin star guy", as he's the restaurant owner/chef with the most michelin stars (including 3 3-star eateries in 3 different countries at one point)

however, no matter how much hype it has generated since its opening, spoon is a restaurant that never got on our fine-dining radar screen. part of the reasons is personally i was never too fond of these "off-shoot" restaurant chains created by big-name chefs or food celebrity, that included the likes of wolfgang puck cafes (worse than pizza hut!), roy's of roy yamaguchi (hawaiian cuisine is so cliche already) or vong of jean-georges vongerichten (thai fusion? come on!). The only exception i can think of is perhaps brasserie blanc by raymond blanc - or maybe i was just less particular back then when i visited them some years ago.

therefore i don't really have much expectation of anything particularly impressive - more a "been there, done that" experience or a "pilgrimage" or for "star-gazing" rather than for true culinary enjoyment; but it did turn out to be a pleasant surprise.

well, the food isn't something extremely special - a typical 7-course french affair. to me, the highlight is the foie gras "lucullus", which is light and refreshing, and the dessert he simply called "chocolat/framboise", essentially a chocolate mille-feuille with rasberries. simple but nicely done. the riesling spätlese from mosel that we picked went perfectly well with our foie gras, but then again, it's not like we had a chateau d'yquem or something. all together, the food and drink is well-rounded decent but not spectacular.

so i guess it's not the food that is particularly comforting, so then perhaps it's the ambiance? the company? nice view? the mood? the randomness of the occasion? low expectation? i am sure all of which and many more, little by little, contributed to what became an enjoyable and remarkable monday evening.

well 5 years from now, we may have forgotten what we ate that night or how the food tasted, but we will probably still remember this dinner and our brief encounter of "culinary nirvana"; or whenever we have foie gras we can still recall the one we had at spoon on THAT night; hence my own definition of comfort food.

when? april 16 2007
where? spoon by alain ducasse
occasion? the namesake of the restaurant's in town
menu highlights? foie gras "lucullus" with toasted warm parisian brioche; chocolate/rasberry dessert
drinks? markus molitor riesling spätlese feinherb mosel-saar-ruwer wehlener klosterberg 2003

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