halsey's in town briefly to celebrate the new year with smithies and wintry mix. like most of the bay area crew, she knows how to eat lavishly (ie: infrequently, without pinching pennies, and with like-minded people). at love+butter's recommendation, she and i walked down concord to tw food and spent a happy four hours being fed well, at a leisurely pace, by competent and happy table staff. everything was casual, confident, with no missteps, and there was really good bread.
- parsnip puree with crushed toasted pistachios on a very small sable.
- smoked foie gras custard with a burnt sugar crust, served with apple matchsticks and toast points. according to the menu, these were liberty apples, the same kind that bren gave us when we stopped by his farm up in vermont. crisp, sweet, with a snappy acidity. [2003 auslese graacher-himmelrich, a mosel riesling from jj prum]
- warm watercress soup with a garlic custard. this was one of the best, bright green, bitey and creamy, almost foamy. [2007 kimmeridgien, a chablis from jean marc brocard]
- hard winter wheat risotto, made with squash and wild mushrooms. the grains were tender but still chewy, and had a sweet, nutty flavour. [2005 monte aribaldo, a tenuta dolcetto d'alba, made by marchesi di gresy]
- poached cod with a slab of beets, a hachis of chopped pineapple and kiwi, and a puree of pineapple and riesling. perfectly cooked and flaking at the touch of the fork. the slice of starfruit reminded me irresistibly of french nouvelle cuisine cookbooks of the 80s; then i went downstairs to the bathroom and saw, on a lectern in the stairwell, a copy of georges blanc's nature dans l'assiette from 1987. [2006 reserve st jean, an alsatian riesling from marcel hugg]
- thin slices of raw rib-eye cap in a cracked black pepper sauce, and braised beef shank and foie gras in a puff pastry shell. full of beefy flavour, extremely rich from the foie. the puff pastry was nicely done too, but the braise would probably have been better on a buttered toast point. [2005 suberli morellino di scansano, a sangiovese from mocali]
- hirtenkase and roquefort. [2004 domaine chaume arnaud cotes du rhone]
- valrhona chocolate soup with soft meringues. [2005 vin doux naturel, a fortified grenache from domaine coteaux des travers in rasteau]
- citrus financier.
here they are, on the map of cambridge good eats: