Friday, August 13, 2010

A Razor, A Shiny Knife + Room Forty = Awesome

I've blogged about my adventures with A Razor, A Shiny Knife before (here, here and here). They're my most favorite of all the underground restaurants/supper clubs I've been to. If I were independently wealthy, I would totally just give big awesome underground dinners for the rest of my life.

But I'm not independently wealthy, and so I volunteered to help out at their latest shindig in LA. Here are the takeaways from Saturday's event, in no particular order:

1. My ass is TIRED.

2. I realized at the end of the night that essentially I'd just waitressed for 12 hours, in inappropriate shoes, for free. I didn't get to taste any of the dishes or the wines. There wasn't even a lot of cooking to watch, as much of it was done offsite ahead of time and trucked in.

3. Which means that next time these guys are in town, I will just cough up the $160 a person. That way I can actually eat the food, which is the whole point. Plus I'll be able to sit down.

4. Nevertheless, it was great fun.

5. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming article about it in the LA Times. (Possibly with a mention of me, with my new last name.)

Here's the menu:

They paired up with LA-based Room Forty to present a seven-course, eight-hour extravaganza in the lobby of the Variety building on Wilshire Boulevard, across from LACMA. Yes, it was in the lobby. That was sort of neat, actually. Here are some pictures:

I set that table.

Yep, that one. 52 place settings.

Michael Cirino giving a cooking demonstration.

Short ribs cooking sous vide--at rare, for 48 hours.

Fun with liquid nitrogen.

Course 1: Caviar, Duck Fat, Creme Fraiche, Potato. The potato was fried in the duck fat. That's a chive and black salt on top.

Course 2: Sea Bass, Stone Fruit, Verjus, Chervil. Wild striped sea bass carpaccio with peaches cooked sous vide, with a strawberry coulis and fresh chervil on top.

Course 3: Duck Egg, Duck Leg, Goose Liver, Summer Truffle. The round of duck confit was topped with a duck egg yolk cooked sous vide. The mache was topped with a foie gras vinaigrette, and as we served, we shaved frozen foie gras and black summer truffle on top.

Here we are prepping the duck course.

Can I just tell you about the foie gras viniagrette? This was one of the things I managed to taste. I wanted to bathe in it. I wanted to get down on all fours and lick the bowl. That's how good it was.

Also? Heaven smells like truffles.


Course 4: Short Rib, Red Wine, Bone Marrow, Carrots. Here's the sous vide short rib, crisped in duck fat, with a bone marrow sauce and peas and carrots.

Course 5: Triple Cream, Nuts and Berries. A French triple cream (brie) turned into a cheese "snow" and served with a pecan brittle and fresh berries.

Course 6: Chocolate, Strawberries, Methocel, Ultratex. Modern gastronomy magic. I can't even begin to explain this one. My brain had turned to mush long before this course.

There was another course, an amuse bouche in there somewhere, involving potatoes and liquid-nitrogen-shattered-blackberry "caviar," but again, my brain was much and I didn't get a picture of that one.

Here's a final shot of the crowd, with Michael pontificating:

Note the addition of a second, smaller table off to the right.

There were wines, and a cocktail, and a ton of photographers. Everyone had a great time (I think), and Michael was in true showman mode.

These guys are based in Brooklyn, but they travel pretty regularly. I highly recommend going to one of their dinners if at all possible. The cost is worth it. (And they're doing good to break even on the food and beverage costs, so it's not like they're making a profit.)

Now if I could just do something about my still-aching feet...

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