Friday, February 26, 2010

Cafe Martinique

Have you ever had a flawless meal? One that made you stop and ponder the complexity of flavors and textures of every bite?

I often ooh-and-ahh about even the simplest dishes. If it tastes great, is well prepared, and is well thought out, I'm on board. It does not have to be fancy, in fact, I generally prefer it not to be.

However, tonight's dinner at Cafe Martinique on Paradise Island, Bahamas (Jean-George Vongerichten) was a step above. It was fancy AND flawless. There were so many thoughtful dimensions that several times I did have to stop and think "What is that and why does it work so well together?". It was not just fancy for the sake of being fancy. Cafe Martinique was clearly on top of it's game.

I don't know a lot about JG Vongerichten, except what the food media puts out there. And I have never been to another one of his restaurants. But this dinner definitely left me craving more.

Amuse bouche:
Called a lobster risotto - was actually more of an arrancini that sat upon a sweet pepper cream. Interesting way to make risotto into a perfect single bite.

Bacon wrapped shrimp. Simply described but elegantly prepared. This made us take notice- we were not in Dexter anymore. Fresh shrimp wrapped in bacon alongside a papaya horseradish salsa. The multiple dimensions were stunning. The sweet heat of the salsa complimented the smoky briny salt of the shrimp.

Wild mushroom tart. Shitake embedded puff pastry topped with frisee. Sounds simple, But again, the dimensions... In between the mushroom caps and the pastry was an aromatic roasted garlic paste the totally brought the dish together.

Raspberry sorbet palate cleanser, naturally.

Pumpkin soup. Poured at the table over wild mushrooms, chives, and diced steamed pumpkin. This was not your flat boring squash soup. It must have had a chicken stock base- too deep not to.

The Last bite lesion award for the evening goes to...
Mahi mahi, pan seared served over a wasabi mash. Here's what got our attention. Supremed oranges and grapefruit, microsprouts, olive oil, lemon infused oil or juice, pink peppercorns and coriander seeds topped this fish. Each bite was accented slightly differently, depending on what combination of flavors and textures were on your fork. We savored every last bite.

(iPhone, if you're really all that, why can't you take better pictures?)

Crepes normandie. Crepes filled with sauteed pears, topped with caramel and a scoop of caramelized pear and Ginger ice cream. Plate dusted with a praline dust that could turn me into a fairy any night.

Miniature house cookies served with coffee - still warm as if they were made just for us.

As I said before, I often swoon over any food that's been thoughtfully prepared, but it's more than that. You can taste when someone considers cooking an art. You can taste passion. You can taste when someone loves to feed the brain and soul, as well as the body. We tasted that these folks have "the lesion", an Anastasio-coined term that means that part of your brain, and even maybe your soul, is dedicated to making tastebuds sing and dance.

-- Posting From My iPhone

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