Had dinner with a friend at our normal seats at the Chef's counter. We hadn't seen Chef Sutton in a while since he's been busy with the new Carthay Circle restaurant at Disney California Adventure. (I noticed that the chef's jacket he was wearing this night was his jacket from Carthay Circle, not his old jacket from Napa Rose.)
I sat down while my friend went to the ladies' room, and I was greeted by a few of the staff that we've gotten to know, as well as Chef. Chef offered us a glass of champagne to start off the evening, which I accepted, and he told the server to add a touch of Grand Marnier to the glasses as well. Merry Christmas!
We both decided to let Chef choose our dishes for us, though my friend requested venison in her meal, and I requested a taste of the goose in mine.
I didn't get a picture of the amuse bouche, but it was chickpeas mashed and then deep fried, with an apple salsa on top. Tasty, even for my friend who doesn't like chickpeas.
For my first course, Chef gave me the salmon from the evening's vintner's menu. He had mentioned the dish as we were initially talking, and I expressed an interest in it. The glaze gave the salmon a nice crunchy exterior texture, and tempura asparagus is always welcome. Chef said he doesn't normally include peanut products, but he just felt like it this time, and we noticed another dish that had peanut sauce as an ingredient as well.
|soy glazed Skuna Bay salmon with Vietnamese peanut crab salad, tempura fried white asparagus and tangerine vinaigrette|
My friend's first course was the sauteed sustainable fish, which was sea bass on this night. The "couscous" (which Chef said a few times because he said it was a fun word to say) isn't really couscous - the cauliflower is grated so that they come out like pearls and resemble couscous.
|sauteed sustainable fish of the day (sea bass), roasted golden cauliflower couscous and cranberry-walnut pesto|
Chef had mentioned a dish he'd made that wasn't on the menu, and after he described it, I expressed a definite interest in it. My friend wasn't quite as enthusiastic but she was game. Chef said he'd give us the dish to share.
The mussels were steamed in a delicious broth (some of which was at the bottom of the cup), and on top was a calamari stuffed with chorizo that included serrano ham. There's a cilantro sauce in the middle, and a piece of toasted bread on the right that had olives and such on it. It was a delicious dish.
|chorizo-stuffed calamari on top of steamed mussels|
My next course was the goose I requested. The normal entree portion comes with a few slices of goose on the side in addition to the terrine. The taste I got was enough to satisfy my annual goose craving.
|signature holiday goose with braised winter cabbage, apple chestnut puree and merlot essence|
For my friend's next course, Chef gave her the second course from the evening's vintner's menu. She had mentioned that she was feeling adventurous and ready to try whatever Chef might toss her way, even if it was something like sweetbreads, which she doesn't normally like. Taking her on her word, Chef indeed gave her this course. She blanched a little when Chef used the word "offals" (I might have giggled at her a bit at that point.), but she had both the sweetbreads and tongue and liked them.
|braised veal sweetbreads with oregon truffle chianti sauce and crispy corn meal fried beef's tongue|
We were already pretty full by this point, and my friend didn't really believe me when I said that we hadn't even gotten the entree yet, until our server put down the knife and fork for each of us.
My entree was from the vintner's menu, which was New York steak. Chef mentioned the housemade steak sauce, which included tamarind and "a million other spices". The dish was very tasty, but I was too full to finish it. I had one slice of the meat and the sides and took the rest home.
|28 day aged prime beef New York steak with butter poached fingerling potatoes and wine country steak sauce|
For her entree, my friend received her requested venison. She was hesitant to eat it because she was already full and wanted to save room for dessert, but I told her she had to at least try it since she'd asked for it. She had a few bites and seemed to like it.
|roasted red deer venison with chipotle roasted sweet potatoes and orange rosemary chimichuri|
I didn't take pictures of dessert, but I had the "best hot chocolate", which is a little thick but still yummy, accompanied by some tasty donuts. My friend had the peppermint chocolate sorbet (which she loved) and a couple of the donuts on the side.
As usual, it was a lovely dinner all around. The staff was busy, but not so much that they weren't available to answer our questions on the various other dishes we saw being prepared as well as other random questions. Over the course of dinner, we were able to chat with Chef, a few of the other chefs, and a few of the runners as well.
Here's the current menu. The vintner's table is new every week starting on Friday, so this would have been the last night of the current vintner's menu.
|starters, starters to share and salads & soups|
|main courses, sides and vintner's table|