Bucking my normal trend of feeling lonely and/or sorry for myself on Valentine’s Day, I had a really lovely time this year and the best part of it was dinner.
After working up an appetite ice skating in Central Park, my boyfriend and I had a late dinner at Tailor. They had a nice, little prix fixe dinner menu with wine pairings.
I haven’t had the time or the courage to start playing with the molecular gastronomy chemicals Mark sent me in the mail (wrapped in a tote bag to avoid suspicions of anthrax or cocaine), but I was pleased to see the restaurant’s take on “passion fruit and caviar.”
They blended actual black caviar into a silky sauce and served it on a spoon with “caviar” made of passion fruit juice. So the actual caviar was a sauce and what appeared to be caviar was actually passion fruit. I loved the tangy tartness of the passion fruit with the salty sea tastes and it was hard not to be charmed by its cleverness.
That being said, I found some of the dishes to be a bit cerebral. They all sounded like amazing and unusual concepts. After all, a large part of molecular gastronomy is using science in food to dazzle and amaze in a way not unlike dipping a rose in liquid nitrogen and smashing it in front of a class full of amazed eighth graders.
However, the actual visceral experience was not everything it could have been. I found myself thinking and saying, “Oh, how interesting!” or “That’s original” without feeling the sheer ecstasy I’ve often felt with a simpler dish.
That being said, overall, it was a very pleasurable experience and it’s no surprise that the chef, Sam Mason, was the pastry chef at WD-50, as the desserts were the highlight of the menu. My favorite was the rose ice cream with “raspberry soil” and whiskey sauce. The soil was actually just made of freeze-dried raspberries that were crumbled.
It’s hard not to think of Special K Red Berries when you’re tasting them, but it really worked for me. I also enjoyed the milk chocolate parfait with saffron and cashew. Incidentally, I went to Whole Foods the day before and they had samples of chocolate bars, dark and milk. The dark chocolate was nearly gone and half of the table was littered with unwanted milk chocolate.
I think it said a lot about the tastes of people who shop there and the waning popularity and supposed lack of sophistication of milk chocolate. I’m just as guilty… I took one of the last two pieces of dark, but it was nice to know that milk chocolate could have a place on the dessert plate at a nice restaurant.