Dinner @ Rockpool...

Rockpool, one of the highest rated establishments in the city. We approach...understated. Inside...sleek, sexy, cool and honestly, a bit cold. Vision...Hollywood Hair Salon for the jet setters. Flashy yet still containing personality. Perhaps it was the mood, the time of the evening(a bit early) or the fact that my kids didn't want to be there and my wife was sick~ whatever the case, it was less than anticipated. It seemed odd to me that none of the staff ever made mention of recognition, or made any correlation of the relationship I had with the Chef de Cuisine (his cousin works for me in Seattle) nor the fact that as a visiting chef in Neil Perry's restaurant would perhaps warrant a curiosity and comment. especially since we were one of the first guests in the place before things got hectic,, but in all reality, and all things being equal, in the whole scheme of things, does it matter, as who am I? No worries, I didn't come for attention, nor feel I deserve it. On to the food...we were tempted with the 9 course chef's tasting menu or the choice friendly 5 course version. Since the whole table HAS to order the 9 course if desired, a practice that I can not stand nor understand, we opted for the lesser of the two culinary evils. A smooth parmesan and zucchini mousse(foam) in a crisp feuille de brick shell graced our table as the amuse du soire. Do they say that here? A fun scooby snack as it were. My first course was a fresh crab salad with shellfish jelly, a matignon of butternut squash, papaya, chervil pluche, lobster gelee and an olive oil dressing. There was a lone ranger quail egg, split and left for dead with it's yolk used a "deviled" spread on the plate. Superb and tasty. Next was a pan roasted jumbo prawn with two very nice and flavorful goat cheese tortellinis adorned with pine nuts and raisins in a beurre noir...yes, black, although surprisingly not bitter! A fried crouton acted as a barrier to the likes of the fence between Mexico and the US. This dish was good, but by no means was it deemed astonishing. My following concoction was another shellfish offering, a scampi if you will cooked sous vide style with romano beans, brunoise carrots and herbs. very tender and moist. All of this sat in a pool of tarragon perfumed shellfish nage. At this point I am asking myself~ Where is the foie gras? Where is the caviar? Where are all the cool new indigenous ingredients? I guess that spending $150.aud does not warrant it, thus needing to cough up the additional quarter to achieve such pleasures. And to think that we give it away ion my kitchen. Different style perhaps. The final savory course was a slow cooked (sous vide again I suspect) veal loin, cooked and seasoned perfectly, with two purees; one mushrooms and one parsley with sauteed wild mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. On the side, a radicchio and baby romaine salad was served as well as a ultra thin sliced potato gratin with caramelized onions. Odd since we were nor ordering a'la carte. Isn't that why you are doing a degustation? Shouldn't it have been incorporated into the menu creations? Still, it did not deter me from eating and enjoying it. Again, different style. That is what makes it so cool. By now, my kids are both ready to fall asleep at the table or create a scene just to get me out of there. Dessert was a chocolate-hazelnut-coffee dome, in mousse format with a caramel center and ganache coating. It had a crunchy cocoa-crispy like base and some strewn around as well. A somewhat caramel-cocoa swipe became the platform for the artwork with a hazelnut dipped in sugar caramel sporting a long "tail" made up the presentation. A few pet peeves...1st; No ice cream or sorbet. Bummer. 2nd; Although the dish had crispies, there were no cookies or wafers or other little fun crunchie to admire and eat. 3rd; the hazelnut-everyone knows you can't eat the damn things without practically breaking a molar so why use them? Flavor wise however, it was a good tasting and solid dish. I opted for an espresso to savor with the mignardises (which bordered on the best of the offerings)-fresh lemon marshmallows, salted caramels, chocolate-hazelnut truffles and raspberry filled almond macaroons. Other than the truffles being too cold and dense, they were great. I enjoyed what I consumed and only wish that it were under different circumstances, so that perhaps this would reveal a more glowing recap of my experiences. Do not get me wrong, this is a great restaurant with a great chef who is very successful, and one that I would be honored to cook aside. I simply place the blame on myself for trying all to hard to stuff the square peg into a round hole. Timing is everything...isn't it? Too bad that after all this, the only real connection to this restaurant; James McEnerney, cousin to our newest addition to our kitchen from abroad was not in. So I guess another visit to this beautiful and cool city is in order.


Blogger Rhodora said...

Raspberry filled almond macaroons??!!! sounds nice!

11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous R.G said...

Hi cuisinier all here in the us is good besides all the suspense for the last 2 days about what happened to cuisinier, your adventure have become to many of us, like our favorite daily tv show now specially that top chef is over. just want to thank for sharing your adventure and I am ready for day 5.
Peace R.G

11:55:00 PM  
Anonymous angelchef said...

Too bad your meal wasn't to your expectation.It is very disappointing when you really look forward to eating somewhere and it's not all it can be.I did like your tour through the market though.Have fun!

1:34:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

thanks. So far, all is good etiher way you look at it. Sty tuned for more. cuisinier

12:02:00 PM  

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