Happy 2014 everyone! I can’t believe that I am about to post a meal that I ate over six months ago, but my year was B-U-S-Y! Between traveling throughout Southeast Asia, moving back to Colorado and starting the holiday season at Restaurant Kelly Liken, I have hardly had a moment to think clearly. 2013 was probably the best year of my life and I cannot wait to see what 2014 has to offer! My new years resolution is to spend at least a small amount of time each day centering myself and being thankful for my life despite how busy or stressed I am. What are your resolutions?
But back to the food… This meal was one of the most satisfying meals I have ever had out, partly because it meant I was finished with my externship and partly because we were treated like celebrities when we went in to eat- but mostly because the food was amazing!
I chose to start with the beet-cured Arctic Char. The cure gave a hint of flavor, but still let the fish shine. It was served with a foie gras powder, hazelnuts and blood oranges. The powder was rich, yet light- a perfect compliment to the Char.
My brother had the rabbit terrine for his first course. Luckily for me, he is one of the pickiest eaters I know, so I got to eat everything on dish dish except for the rabbit loin. It was a rabbit terrine coated in a Finnes Herbs coulis, rabbit pate between potato crisps, rabbit loin with chives and a poached quail egg. Everything on this plate was very rich, but there were few enough items that it was not too much. I was not a huge fan of the coulis though, it was just a little too much and kind of masked the flavor of the terrine.
My mom had the “pralines” of foie gras terrine. This is a signature dish of The Modern. It is a combination of foie gras terrine coated in fried celery root and sesame seeds with a mango puree and baslamic reduction. It is the perfect combination of rich with sweet. I used to sneak these delicious pralines when there were extra at work.
The second courses were a little warmer and a little richer. My dad ordered this sturgeon and sauerkraut tart. I had never eaten sturgeon before and I was unsure about this at first, but once I had one bite I wished I could finish it! It had an American caviar mousseline and the fish was Applewood smoked.
For my second course, I ordered what was probable my favorite item on the menu, the slow-poached farm egg. If you have never had a slow-poached egg, you need to try one. These eggs are cooked sous vide low and slow so that their yolks are soft but the whites are delicately cooked through. Not only did this dish feature the most delicious eggs I have ever had, it was accompanied by black winter truffles, salsify, squid ink Spaetzle, Uni and Panko bread crumbs. One day I will recreate this dish for everybody to make at home because it was unreal.
My brother was convinved to get the rabbit-truffle “Alsatian Dumplings” for his second course (aka I got this as a second second course). They were filled with truffles and rabbit meat and rolled in bread crumbs and chives with a sunchoke puree and crystal lettuce. Once again, I couldn’t resist!
My mom ordered, upon my request that we all order different things (so I could eat it all!) the Cabernet-poached Sullivan County foie gras. This was a rich and sweet second course that had to be split. It was served with baby fennel and a black pepper caramel tweel.
My other brother ordered the fennel and cockle veloute (once again upon my request). This dish was so-so compare to the rest of the food. It was playful to crack open the tweel into the soup, but other than that the dish was lacking flavor and excitement. It was a fennel and cockle veloute with langoustine, Hackleback caviar and a seven-grain crisp.
Despite our first courses sitting in the window for eight minutes (a decade in kitchen talk) while everybody went the the bathroom, my chef sent out an extra course for everyone. He split the extra course in half. Half of our table received the duo of marinated sardines. If you are not a sardine fan, it is hard to like this dish. If you are a sardine fan, this dish is a perfect salty prequel to your main dish! It was a crispy and regular sardine with artichoke, Ricotta Salata and a red pepper green olive vinaigrette.
The other half of us, including myself, received the special for the day. This dish was exceptionally special to me because I was the one who chose what the main special ingredients would be that day. I was so in love with the poached egg dish and with sweetbreads that our hot-aps cook designed this dish especially for me. It was a squid ink tagliatelle with sweetbreads, bacon and a slow-poached quail egg. The perfect special for my meal.
After more wine our main dishes arrived in one swift motion. My mom ordered the quail baked “en terre glaise”. The quail breasts were wrapped in grape leaves, then in clay and baked. I was always impressed by the detail that this dish took to create. After if was baked each day, the meat cook would take the meat out of the clay vessel to serve. It was served with a macaroni gratine, spinach and morel mushrooms.
My brother went the hard-to-find Brant Family Farm skirt steak with zucchini blossom, Roquefort, piquillo pepper and arugula jus. This dish was playful, colorful and delicious. They really knew how to play up a simple steak.
My mom decided to order our new pork dish at the time. It was served with a pickled cherry, crispy hominy and chicharrones. A great pair between pork and fruit.
I am a sucker for lobster, so naturally I ordered the roasted Main lobster dish as my main. It was served with a Pernod- Jamon emulsion, kohlrabi puree and crispy Jamon. It was the rich, savory main I had wanted.
For dessert I had to order the fruity-non-chocolate option, the poached rhubarb dessert. It had a buttermilk custard, candied rhubarb, almond-pistachio crumble and a strawberry sorbet. This was my kind of dessert- light, fruity, and full of exciting textures!
We also got the milk chocolate and hazelnut dacquoise with raspberry sorbet. This photo speaks for itself- my brothers girlfriend couldn’t resist taking a bite before the photo! I have special memories of this dessert because we would be allowed to eat the extra dacqoises at the end of the night, and yes they were addicting!
Another dessert we share was the caramel parfait with mango ravioli, coconut tapioca and ten flavor sorbet. The caramel tweel on this was awe-inspiring enough, but the raviolis also reminded me of late night snacking.
The really exciting dessert came from my brother’s girlfriend, the Modern black forest fantaisie. It came with chocolate mousse, vanilla chantilly and Kirsch sorbet When you broke open the cone you were surprised with more delicious chocolate cake-like treats!