HEEELLLLOOOOOOOO MY FRIENDSSSSSS long time no see. I’m back on the blog! To start the year off, I’d like to share with you some photos of an intimate dinner I had at R.C. and J.C.’s beautiful apartment. It’s actually pretty awful of me to do this to you because the dinner was effing amazing and you’ll… never actually get to have it.
You see, Chris Lee, R.C. and J.C.’s good friend, is about to head to California to open a new Nobu, and before his move across the country, he decided to cook a simple meal for his friends themed “Decadence.” And LAW and I were lucky enough to be invited.
The meal started off with a Lobster Cocktail and White Sturgeon Caviar (looking at the menu I stole from dinner because I definitely can’t remember the fancy shmancy names of all these delicacies) with smoked sablefish, creme fraiche, and a baguette from Maison Kayser – which is Chris’s favorite baguette in the city! This caviar was super smooth, lightly sweet, and with juuust enough of a punch to make it a delicacy. Ugh I’m drooling writing this.
The greatest thing about eating a meal like this at home is the leftover bits of stuff that wouldn’t fit on the “plated” plate that you also get to eat. Here are leftover pieces of lobster from the lobster cocktail in a plastic takeout box.
Next was the Green Market Salad with watermelon radish, golden and candy striped beets, and truffle vinaigrette. In case you didn’t infer from the theme of the dinner (“Decadence”), we had truffle on pretty much every single course. The truffle vinaigrette was actually super light – just straight up umami, oil, and a little bit of acidity. Watermelon radish was a great addition – crisp, peppery, and a tiny bit sweet. I thought it was some fancy rare breed of radish but found out that it’s actually a radish we eat a lot at home in China.
As one of the mains, we had a Sous-Vide Lobster Tail with white truffle butter and lobster glaze. That lobster glaze was made from hours of boiling down random lobster parts with nothing else added – super fragrant with essence of lobster. The sous-vide lobster was sooo tender you didn’t even need a knife. I normally don’t love tail because of how tough it can be but now know that tail is the way to go when you can slow cook it at a consistent, lower temp…
Every bite was the perfect bite. Peekytoe crab used to be a throwaway byproduct from lobster fishing but is now featured on all kinds of fancy menus (very interesting article from NYTimes on these crabs here), and for good reason. I find that they are extra tender cause they are usually picked so finely and pack a punch with flavor.
Our third main was a lamb served with a side of mushrooms and wasabi daikon pickle. I have written about how I’m ashamed to not be able to handle lamb given how much I love food… I just didn’t grow up eating it so to me, the gamey-ness really gets to me.
However, Mr. Chef Lee here managed to make a completely ungamey lamb. It was the most tender, delicious rack of lamb I’ve ever had. Serious kudos to you! He had made these slabs of herb butter (apparently butter mixed with every type of herb you could think of and refrigerated into these slabs) that he put on top of the lamb after they were almost done in the oven. He threw the lamb back in the oven with their new herby capes – which ended up forming an herb crust. Nom. Oh and I also loved the wasabi daikon. Very refreshing touch with all the decadence.
And finally, for dessert, we had a Madagascar Vanilla Bean Pannacotta with earl grey berry compote made by Mr. Chef Lee’s wife, K.C. – who is actually the secret behind Chris’s success because she went all around NYC, handpicking every single ingredient!!! I absolutely loved the earl grey berry compote… I’m definitely going to learn to make it so I can spread it on my toasts in the mornings…
LAW and I both tend to dislike going to fancy restaurants – preferring the homey hole-in-the-walls – and thus have not really ever fully enjoyed a fancy meal. I need to be comfortable so I can focus all my energy on my taste buds… so eating lobster, caviar, and truffle in the comfort of a home really elevated the experience for me. Thank you R.C., J.C., Chris Lee, and K.C. for the awesome amazing fantastic meal!