Thursday, June 28, 2012

No. 219: A Few Favorite Foie Gras Dishes Around Town...

While a good amount of my food-loving friends are up in arms about the impending foie gras ban come July 1st (which may not even be enforced rigorously,) I can't bring myself to muster much of a reaction. Sure, I don't care for a government entity telling me what I can and can't eat--but foie gras is such an occasional indulgence for me that I probably won't miss it if it really disappears from the menus here. Besides, I can always hop to a neighboring state if my craving is that strong!

Nonetheless, given how it's been foie gras this and foie gras that for the past month (not to mention endless foie gras tasting menus popping up all over L.A.,) I figure now's a good a time as any to reflect on some of my recent favorite foie dishes. And if they are truly gone for good, at least I'll have a tasty memory to cling on to.

Foie Gras Rice Bowl @ The Playground 
Foie Gras Rice Bowl @ The Playground
One of the most interesting preparations of foie I've had in recent memory, it's served in a hybrid fried-rice/bibimbap style--with a umami-loaded, soy-based sauce and a composed arrangement of assorted veggies and notably, pineapples. I was skeptical about the fruity addition but in fact, it did the heavy lifting for this dish--adding some bright acidity and much-needed sweetness to this bowl, which tasted a bit too rich & salty otherwise. And the composed structure of this dish made it fun for me to try different combos of ingredients.

Oh, I should also mention that they have an AWESOME beer selection, both bottles & drafts!

Seared Foie Gras w Gingerbread, Rhubarb & Cherries @ WEST Restaurant*
Foie Gras w Rhubarb & Gingerbread @ West
Asides from an amazing penthouse-level view, they did a splendid job on a fairly classic preparation of the dish, a perfectly-seared lobe with delightful complements. The tart rhubarb and cherries offset the deeply, savory fattiness of the liver, and the flecks of gingerbread added fun little highlights of sweet-spice aromas here and there. Lastly, the microgreens added not only color appeal, but also provided a light & bright flavor respite between bites of all those rich textures and flavors.

And while this particular dish isn't on WEST's "Au Revoir Foie Gras" tasting menu; the menu does take the ingredients to some unusual territories - such as foie gras ice cream with roasted peach & rhubarb crisp and a foie gras parfait PB & J.

Foie Gras Biscuit @ Animal
Foie Gras & Biscuit @ Animal
Whereas my first two highlights are playing on differing, even contrasting, flavor and textures -- my final favorite is unapologetically rich all the way, with the lobe atop a biscuit drenched in maple-sausage gravy. Rather trying to entice the diner to take some time to play around with different components, this dish simply screams "dig in!" And it is a glorious combination of sins - a fluffy mound of carbs swimming in a creamy gravy (which, for me, hits that perfect flavor trifecta of salty, sweet and spicy!) And of course, the crowning glory of that wonderfully charred foie. (And with any luck, I hope to give this dish one last go tonight!)

Ok, so if the ban is for real, I will maybe miss foie a little bit! Let's just hope next time I go to Vegas the servers won't give me weird looks for demanding a foie rice bowl or over biscuits & gravy.


Amit Wadhawan said...

Wow!! These look amazing!! I love Foie Gras in general... But these places just made my water. :)

Putting on my "want-to" list!



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