February 1, 2014
Had dinner at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar the other night with a group of friends so interesting that I didn’t really focus on the food. I knew I liked it, but we were talking, and the place was so pleasantly casual that the food went past me like a dream. It did what good food is supposed to do; made a really good gathering better.
But the next day the dishes came back to me, one by one, and I began thinking that the meal hadn’t just been delicious; it was exciting. Chef Jeremy Fox has a fascinating food mind; he puts unexpected flavors together, teasing out a whole new way to experience ingredients. He thinks about textures too. His pork trotter, for instance, is a gloriously unctuous mess, rich little nuggets of flavor on a yuzu aioli. Crisp. Chewy. I’ve never had anything quite like it.
His beet and berries is another stunner. Quinoa with big chunks of beets and invisible strawberries that completely permeate the dish. I kept eating, almost unconsciously, thinking, “Why does this taste so good?” And then I’d take another bite, and then another.
But the dish I couldn’t stop eating was the tiny potatoes in giblet gravy. The potatoes were so delicious – some crisp, some soft, and served with something that seemed closer to a savory pudding than any gravy I’ve ever known. It’s hard to do something new with potatoes, but Mr. Fox has done it.
Now I can’t wait to go back and really focus on the food. What did I miss?
Went back for lunch at The Hart and The Hunter too. I might be addicted to that kale salad, with its apple, its caramelized pecans and its restrained bit of cheese. As for those biscuits…..
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