Saturday, June 20, 2009


Thought I'd get settled in nicely both domestically and career-wise, but things still aren't working out....hence the lack of updates. Heck I don't even get on my computer often these days. G'damn this job market and g'damn the fierce graduate school competition.

On a happier note, here is a quick post from L.A.'s Grace. I've been dying to eat here but was waiting for a good occasion (read: excuse to spend money). so when my father came to visit, I took the family out to dinner.

Mother ordered the 3-course prix-fixe:

Maryland Blue Crab Cake - warm curry vinaigrette

One huge crispy lump of crab meat. The vinaigrette was really subtle with the curry despite it appearing like a thick heavy trail in the picture. Nice way to kick things off!

Sautéed Day Boat Scallops
spring vegetables, savoy spinach, potato confit, fennel pollen

I'm still not sure whether I like this dish or not. From the gorgeous presentation and nicely seared appearance of the (ginormous) scallops, it's easily an A+. As for the texture, that's where I can't make up my mind. It was kinda like biting into a medium-well scallop with more emphasis towards the "well" end of the spectrum. The center felt a bit like chewing on albalone. My mom really enjoyed it though. Love/not-quite-like for me.

Strawberry tart
vanilla mousse, lemon ripple ice cream

Easily the best tart I've had to date. Doesn't quite look like a tart in the traditional sense with all the purty ridges, I know. But though the crust looks more like a cracker, it does have a texture similar to tarts we're more accustomed to seeing. So what makes this tart such a winner? The perfect balancing of flavors and great mouthfeel. This mousse isn't exactly light and airy like typical was more like a really really soft and fluffy cheese thick and rich with vanilla-bean n caramel creme goodness. Pair it up with the sweetness and acidity of the strawberries and you get one explosive flavor combo. Deliciously sweet n crumbly crust makes it even better.

The rest of us ordered regular menu items:

Spinach & Arugula Salad
endive, candied walnuts, fried feta, grilled
onion red wine vinaigrette

Fried feta? Neat-o. Doesn't do an awful lot to make it tastier (unlike fried mozzarella), but it sure does make things more interesting! Great salad to start.

Sautéed LaBelle Farms Foie Gras
grilled pineapple, brown butter
brioche, black pepper ginger caramel

Wooo! Lookit that glorious slab of foie gras! Haven't had one seared this nicely in a long time! And my god, the size of this thing... Make sure to get a bit of pineapple in each bite. Having a bit of sugar and acidity with foie gras is a must! And to clear the palate, ya have slices of ginger. While the brown butter brioche soaked in fat from the foie gras looked temping enough to shovel down, in practice...not quite the case. My mouth got tired of it awfully fast so I left most of it alone. Brother spooned it all down though. What a fat fatty.

Ya fatty.

Lamb Pappardelle
braised lamb, roasted tomatoes, olives, fennel, parmesan

This oughta be an entree. Silky buttery egg noodles really soaked up the rich broth from braised lamb. Awesome. Wish I was able to taste more than 1.5 bites though. I was too busy workin' the foie gras.

Lobster Cavatelli lobster, cavatelli pasta, english peas, chanterelle mushrooms

This is the rich people version of my ghetto college student chicken broth, spam, frozen peas/carrots, and macaroni dinner. I like the rich people version better. FML.

Grilled Tenderloin of Wild Boar roasted brussels sprouts, herbed yukon gold potato spaetzle, violet mustard sauce

A lil gamey, super tender, plus a faint herby taste that probably came from the pile of greens on top. 'Course the good ol' Maillard reaction imparted a great deal of flavor here too as well. I got some pretty big slices of boar in addition to a huge portion of the spaetzel (think gnocchi). The sauce isn't exactly mustardy. It was more like a rich sauce made with big bold red and drippings from the grilled boar. Man what a winner.

Grilled Filet of Beef farro, haricots verts, morcilla, Ossau-Iraty cheese, red wine sauce

Filets aren't exactly the tastiest of cuts. There simply isn't enough fat present, so extras like the morcilla and cheese in this case have to play an important role. And holy cow they sure do a great job. Yes, a USDA prime filet is already a winner in itself, but when you throw in tasty flavoring extras, the experience just gets so much better. I don't think I need to tell ya'll about the joys of chowing down on a perfectly grilled filet :) Words just never do it justice.

Chocolate Souffle Cake Affogato vanilla malt ice cream, espresso, brandied orange slice

This is one of those rare desserts that make me rethink my current "Dessert Favs" ranking. Everything about this dessert was just perfect. All details were well thought-out. The pool of espresso at the bottom? Brilliant! Why don't more places do this?! It makes a choco souffle 3x better. The standard vanilla-bean ice cream is always a great default choice for dessert, but Pastry Chef Mariah Swan jazzed it up a bit with a rich vanilla malt. Holy **** the difference in such a tiny change is huge. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, it's worth it to just swing by for this dessert. Seriously.

Pistachio Filled Doughnuts
chocolate buttermilk marble ice cream, dried cherries

She's good. She's g'damn good. Mariah makes something as commonplace as a donut taste nothing like a donut. I mean...dude. No one makes donuts with such a thin crispy exterior and fills them up with the smooth buttery richness of pistachio. A scoop thick dark chocolate ice cream afterwards sure does hit the spot. Now if she can make donuts taste this good, I'm wondering what she does with cookies and milk (it's on the menu!).

Wow what a treat. Even if you don't have deep pockets for a $32 entree, do try to stop by the bar or something and share an appetizer or two in addition to dessert. I demand a lot of bang for my buck and fellas, Grace definitely delivers. Especially when it's time for dessert.

Now remember, fellas: Will @ Eclipse Chocolat is having another epic cupcake weekend! Swing by on the Fourth of July weekend for an awesome flavor lineup in addition to killer deals on the best cupcakes in San Diego.


7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Kasha said...

I'll take the chocolate cake please! Make that two!

caninecologne said...

hi roger!
wow! nice photos as always - man, that Grilled Filet of! and that foi gras looks pretty good too!

joanh said...

OMG. i was drooling over the pics and then when i got to the foie gras, my heart just about stopped. :) i've heard a lot about Grace.. definitely on my to do list after this post for when i hit LA next month.

Roger said...

Heya ladies! Glad everyone enjoyed the pictures. :)

Kasha why stop at two? Have three and end finish off with milk n cookies. Calories be damned.

CC, thanks for the compliment. I gotta hop on over to PinkCandles soon as I'm finished here to see what you've been up to ;P

Joan, looking forward to your reviews from LA. Visiting for business?

joanh said...

sort of, not really.. visiting the family, checking on everything there. before it was living in LA, splitting time with taipei. now it's living in taipei, with the splitting time with LA. haha. when i'm in LA, i usually take a mini vacation from food blogging- there are so many/too many good LA bloggers already

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