Saturday, October 28, 2006

Inside the Kitchen--Opening Night Dinner

Say what you will about hotel dining, but cooking a meal for 250 diners of this caliber was an impressive feat. Speaking with my charming dining companions the verdict was clear, the scallop dish was a favorite. And how challenging to perfectly sear scallops and cook them so they were not rubbery or undercooked? Oh sure anyone could do that for 10 or maybe even 20 but for 250? The deceptively simple prep with potato mousseline, jus de veau demonstrated that Julian Serrano can make the classics sing.

Kudos to another chef with San Francisco roots, Bradley Ogden. Sure, just about everyone makes a braised beef dish these days. But Ogden's sous vide flat iron beef with celery root, trumpet royales, and herb salad was fresh with hints of ginger and a richness enhanced with butter and Guinness.

Hats off to the sommeliers who rose to the occasion pairing wines with challenging dishes like a super sweet white chocolate dessert and artichoke soup! Now if that isn't a test for a sommelier I don't know what is.

This was a dinner where plating was done in front of our eyes. Part theater, part fine dining and all around entertaining. Cheers. See you tomorrow!