Brook Trout Roe - puree avocado, sugar, lime foam
The first course of the the night highlights the level of technique used at Trio. The dish consist of lime foam, sugar and Trout Roe, which creates a harmony of citrus, brininess and sweetness. Not a bad start for the night.
Rock Shrimp - Cranberry Meyer Lemon, Vanilla Bean (stick)
Similar to a course I had at at Alinea, the tempura shrimp is one of my favorite. The rock shrimp was flavorful with flaky batter. The scent from the vanilla bean makes this a nice dish from the flavor and scent perspective.
Crab - Coconut, Ten Bridging Garnishes (avocado, mango, cucumber, ginger, fennel, coconut)
The white sphere has coconut cream embedded in it and allows the coconut cream to the mix in with the crab, which was quite tasty. I like the mix of different garnishes, my favorite is the coconut meat and the avocado with pepper as they both highlight the crab.
Chestnut Soup - Baked potato ice cream, bitter chocolate, quince, bacon
When the dish came, I had no idea what it is. It turns out to be a soup. The baked potato soup with bacon is bold with "hearty" flavor. Surprisingly, despite the heavy ingredients, the soup is really light and not overwhelming.
Ice Cream Sandwich - Parmesan, olive oil, black pepper
A rather interesting dish of the night. We have an olive oil ice cream sandwich. The "cracker" portion is Parmesan based and it goes really well with the mild flavored ice cream. It's refreshing and creamy. Definitely a good dish after the hearty soup.
Black Truffle Explosion - parmesan
A stable at Alinea and one of my favorite. The truffle explosion is a ravioli that holds the exploding truffle cream inside. It's earthy, flavorful and explodes up in your mouth.
Duck Breast, Rillette & Foie Gras - Lavendar Salt Lozenga, plum
The duck 3 ways is composed of the breast, rillette and foie. We were instructed to eat the lavender salt first then onto the duck. I had the breast first and it was perfectly cooked, tender and succulent. It's flavorful and juicy. The rillette was tender and superbly seasoned. The foie is my favorite as it wasn't too salty and has a nice duck flavor to it.
Pizza - super thin size
A tiny piece of pizza paper. It definitely tasted like a well seasoned pizza. A fun little pallet cleanser for our taste bud.
Loin of Lamb Sous Vide & Consume - floral infusion, artichoke, orange
The lamb was used for two things, a consume and meat by itself, both presented with the same ingredient. I like the artichoke mousse to go with the lamb. The sous vide lamb was tender, but was a bit tasteless and I find myself needing the sauce to make the lamb edible. The consume was a bit weird and wasn't my favorite as it tasted like chunks of flavored gel.
Cheese 'n Cracker
This little dish is fun because the cheese is encased in the cracker and it squirts out when you bite into it. This reminds me of the truffle explosion, but with cheese and cracker.
"salad" - romaine, arugula, red wine vinaigrette
With the amount of meat we had, it's natural to have some green. So we have a romaine and arugula slush with red wine vinaigrette slush. It's really refreshing and earthy. I wouldn't recommend eating too much cuz it feels like a juice cleanse.
Raspberry - Tapioca, rose, lemon basil, vanilla creme fraiche
We have our second pallet cleanser in a raspberry tapioca form. The raspberry jello carries a clean, floral, raspberry flavor along with chewy tapioca. The "clean" flavor is also amplified by the lemon basil. This is a good refreshing bite.
"Pushed" Foie Gras - Pear, Sauternes, Salt-Roasted Pear Sorbet
Our second Foie Gras course is a classic combination of pear and mousse. The foie is smooth, mild, not too salty and pairs really well with the pear, which is mildly sweet. In addition, the whole dish is quite light, which is something I like.
Passion Fruit sorbet - Mustard ice cream
Our intermezzo is a fruity passionfruit sorbet with creamy mustard ice cream. This combination is really nice as the fruity flavor goes well with the mild mustard flavor.
Smoked Persimmon - Endive, Cripsy Pancetta, coffee
Our next course is a Pancetta course. The crispy pancetta offers a nice bite as it creates a textural difference with the endive. I do like the persimmon as it's quite mild and not too sweet. However, the dish is a bit light and I felt like as if I was eating a salad.
Butter Poached Lobster - wild mushrooms, rosemary vapor
One of the best dishes of the night. This butter poached lobster is superbly cooked and flavorful. Combined with earthly mushroom, you just can't stop eating it. The cool part about this is before you start, hot water is added around the dish to add rosemary fumes to the dish. Definitely satisfying both our smell and taste buds.
Burnt Pineapple - smoked salmon, soy (sauce foam), togarashi
A small bite before our last savory course. This fun little pineapple combined with smoked salmon and soy foam is deliciously prepared. The little sweet from pineapple and the ocean-y sweet from salmon makes this a great little bite.
Braised Beef Short Rib - Root Beer Flavors, Mashed Potato, Salsify, Fennel
To wrap up the night, we have a braise short ribs. Our short ribs is fork tender and juicy, combined with the root beer flavor sauce, makes this a nice bite. The mashed potato is creamy, along with the salsify, makes this a very good way to wrap up the savory courses.
Transparency of Manchego - olives, Manchego cheese, crouton, olive oil jam, white anchovy
Instead of a traditional cheese course, we have a melted cheese course. Along with crunchy crouton, olives and anchovy. The manchego cheese tasted delicious, it reminds me of a more delicate pizza cheese.
Huckleberry Soda with five flavors gelled - Thyme, Fennel, Smoke Cream, Chocolate, Hazelnut with Huckleberry Jam
Our first dessert course is huckleberry soda and jelly to go with five different other flavors of jelly. The thyme jelly is herby and mildly sweet, fennel jelly is a bit more grassy than sweet, The smoke cream jelly is smooth and creamy, while the chocolate jelly offers a nice chocolate bite. To wrap it all up, we have a hazelnut jelly, which reminds me of light version of nutella. Each section of the jelly offers a different flavor and they are all very tasty.
Maragda Chocolate at 94 degree - Flaxseed, Yeast Brioche Ice Cream, Beer Gel
To wrap up our meal, we are offered a fantastic chocolate course. The Maragda Chocolate is warmed at 94 degrees, which makes the chocolate almost melted but it allows the chocolate to keeps its form. The chocolate is rich but not too sweet. Along with a flaxseed base, which provides a nice a crunch with the almost melted chocolate, makes this a nice way to close the night. The yeast ice cream is a nice finishing touch to the dish as it's mildly sweet and milky.
Out of all the next dinner I've been to, I have to say Trio is probably one of the strongest if not the strongest showing of Grant Achatz's style of cooking. Going to its root is always a good thing and this dinner definitely highlights all the technique, flavor and skills prior to Alinea. I am glad this is the last dinner of 2014 at Next and I am looking forward to 2015.