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Chris Hennes

Bulrush (STL)

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We've already discussed Bulrush quite a bit here, of course:

 

And they've received some high accolades from the media:

 

I had the chance to revisit Bulrush this weekend to see what Rob was doing with his winter menu (it's December 2019 as I write this). Obviously I'm hopelessly biased, so this isn't really a review, just some comments on that experience. It's also a place for us to continue to post reports as more of us get to visit this St. Louis gem created by one of our own.

 

No photos this time, so descriptions will have to do...

 

Course 1: Purple hull peas, Fioriani cornbread, Sorghum custard, New season sorghum

Served as a small cube of cornbread atop the custard, topped with the peas, at room temperature. Great cornbread and perfect peas, this was a great start.

 

Course 2: Winter squash, Ricotta mousse, Pepitas, Onion ash

I love pumpkin seeds, which added a great textural element to this dish, served as a ring of squash surrounding the mouse. I believe it was an acorn squash the night we were there.

 

Course 3: Autumn olive foam, Lactose-caramelized pumpkin, Pumpkin caramel, Cocoa crisp

Rob introduced this one as "last night's turd," which got some nervous laughs from our fellow diners. Apparently the dish had not worked on the previous day, so they had reworked it and were giving a revised version another go. It is presented as a cocoa crisp covering...something. You never do get to really see what's under there, and while most of the bites were good, if nondescript, a couple times I got huge pops of coriander, which tends to take over. So maybe some more work on this one...

 

Course 4: Turkey mousseline, Cornbread crumb, Soured corn puree, Fermented hot sauce

The ingredient list pretty much sums this one up: the mousseline was excellent, and the sour corn puree and homemade hot sauce were excellent accompaniments. Maybe the best dish of the night.

 

Course 5: Roasted celery root, Saguaro apples, Pumpkin aguachile, Oxtail, Bok choy

I love celery root, so of course I liked this one. I also thought that the complex combination of richness and acidity worked very well. I don't remember the bok choy at all, however!

 

Course 6: Pork cheek, Grilled carrots, Whey-braised turnips, Turnip top emulsion, Apple demi-glace

A much smaller "meat course" than last time, which I appreciated. I thought the turnips were a bit too salty, however, and the turnip top emulsion was sort of bland. Nice ideas, but this didn't come together for me.

 

Intermezzo: Maple pawpaw amazake

The only course with eating instructions, and judging from the coughing down the counter I'd guess even more instructions were probably needed! It's a liquid-filled sphere, which I think caught some of our dining companions off guard.

 

Course 7: "Bolero" carrot cake, acorn miso rye butterscotch, Roasted pumpkin, Malted milk crumb, Fuilletine crepes

My kind of desert: just a tiny bit of sweetness, with a terrific blend of flavors that all sequenced well.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks Chris - that is an amazing recounting of such diverse and unexpected flavors. What goes on in that man's mind ;)

Also I appreciate the no photo descriptions. It makes us think more about what it tasted like. Much like Marlena Spieler's non image blog  https://forums.egullet.org/topic/80538-eg-foodblog-marlena-life-is-delicious-wherever-i-am/   Hpefully others will have the chance to visit and report. 

 


Edited by heidih (log)

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Right now we're in the midst of all of the end of year lists. It's so clear to me now how much folly it is to make these lists. When we're on top, of course, I think the writer is spot on. And when we're second, (or worse, grouped with all of the other non-firsts) naturally I cant believe the writer is so off the mark. How do you compare an intellectually compelling fine dining tasting menu to an upscale neighborhood joint or an Asian fusion fast casual? You can't, but they do. Anyway, it's the business.

 

So that was all going down while you visited and posted your comments above. And I can't tell you how much I appreciated the return visit - like seriously, anyone with any amount of time on eG knows that this restaurant and my last are intricately tied to the eG community.

 

So, to a few of your comments:

•From day 1 I've argued that food should drive the experience and not the description of the food. Increasingly I'm feeling like that was a poor decision. I may even try doing expanded menus for the rest of the year. There's not a dish on this list that doesn't involve koji or various forms of fermentation, alongside the vast local sourcing that we're doing. Not that it's about getting credit, but reading all of the end of year lists, and seeing your descriptions, I think I need to offer more details.

 

•That Turd course continued to evolve. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's version. I finally removed the autumn olive which had been the driver, because it's just too challenging to work with. I'll find a new home for it where it's not the lead, but the follow. 

 

•The bok choy was a pickled julienne atop the oxtail. I'm hesitant to add anymore or it'll take the richness:acid ratio off, but it was there.

 

•And thanks for your comment on the dessert. I think you forgot the essence of wet earth :) It's ridiculous but it smells so good!

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@edsel  Thanks - looks like a happy bunch of diners

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