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The Tasting Room


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re: D'Artagnan's foie gras

Based on a conversation with George Faison a few years ago, D'A sourced most of its foie gras from the Hudson Valley and elsewhere in the US via exclusive suppliers. A small amount was imported. I don't know if that has changed.

The issue of foie gras remains a sensitive subject, and I can understand his reluctance to be specific.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I didn't know they let you bring your own wine there so I have never gone. I think I can manage to find one acceptable bottle of California wine so I'll give the place a try. As to the foie gras, I was under the impression that after the USDA lifted the ban on French foie gras that D'Artagnan stopped carrying Hudson Valley foie gras in favor of the real deal.

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they carry both i think. I know we get the hudson valley foie at work. but i think we got the french foie at the ryland. Im not sure on that point. But i am almost posative they carry both. I can ohnestly say to steve that ive seen hudson foie look better then french foie. Its all about what your getting.

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Plotnicki, you'd be hard pressed to find a chef who thinks the French foie gras you can get here is better than the American. Economist that you are, surely you'll understand that's why the French is cheaper. Go to D'Artagnan's site and check it out; there's no need to speculate.

Raw North American Duck Foie Gras 1.5 lbs. $78.00

Raw French Duck Foie Gras 1.5 lbs. $58.00

https://www.dartagnan.com/index.asp

There's certainly foie gras in France that's better than Hudson Valley, but it's not making it to the U.S. Also my understanding is that the Tasting Room doesn't use D'Artagnan but rather uses Bobo Poultry in Chinatown which gets from Hudson Valley sources, just like D'Artagnan does for much of its Foie Gras, but Colin Alevras thinks Bobo gets better stuff or at least gives him better stuff.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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cabrales, could you talk about the cheese you had?  did they offer non-american cheese at all?  were you able to choose from a selection?  thanks!

nesita -- The restaurant only offers American cheese, in general. When I asked about this practice, the chef advised me that he wanted to support US produce. The Taster portion ($15) contained about 5 types, with selection by the restaurant. I'm sure that, if you were interested in choosing yourself, the restaurant would be happy to discuss the included cheese with you. The restaurant asked us whether we had a preference, and I mentioned I liked blues. This was reflected in the resulting selection.

I considered the cheese to be interesting (in a good way).

The $29 "Share" portion would contain 9-10 cheese types, roughly. We ordered a late harvest muscat to accompany the cheese. The "condiments" for the cheese were nice, particularly the blueberries in a light berry syrup.

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Sorry, that was just my reading of "the real deal," which I now realize does not necessarily carry with it the value judgment I thought it did. In terms of what it costs in France, I'm not sure -- wholesale/retail operations like D'Artagnan that publish prices online (though I assume restaurant customers get better deals and access to better stuff) are rare; I don't know if there's a French equivalent. But maybe one of our UK chefs can tell us -- they get a lot of the French, East European, and Israeli stuff there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Goose liver is rarely used even in France. I think last time I checked goose liver accounted for maybe 5% of production and that number was dropping rapidly. In the three-star meals I've eaten, I'm reasonably certain that almost every example of foie gras I tasted was from duck (I think there was one terrine made from goose liver, though I'd have to check my notes).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Goose liver is rarely used even in France. I think last time I checked goose liver accounted for maybe 5% of production and that number was dropping rapidly. In the three-star meals I've eaten, I'm reasonably certain that almost every example of foie gras I tasted was from duck (I think there was one terrine made from goose liver, though I'd have to check my notes).

I don't know about now, but a year ago when I was on a wine and foie gras trek through southwestern/western France, I found at least as much goose foie as duck foie in the markets, in many places.

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At one-starred Helene Darroze (spelling might be Darozze or Darrozze) in Paris, there is from time to time an appetizer comparing room-temperature goose and duck foie gras, side by side. Given Darroze's family connections in southern France, Darroze is a fair place to presumably sample foie gras. I have not yet taken in this dish. If members are not interested in taking in a meal in the gastronomic restaurant upstairs, they could inquire whether this dish (if available) can be served in the tapas area on the ground level of the restaurant. :laugh:

Note Darroze has some interesting game items available, also because of her family connections. At different times, I have seen palombe, a pigeon-like item from the south, and chapon from that region on her menus.

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  • 1 month later...
I had a good-plus dinner at Tasting Room recently, with very welcoming service. . . . .

Baked Rhode Island Day Boat Scallops; Turnip Puree, Watercress, Shallots, Sherry ($14) -- An average dish because the scallops were softer and more "limp" than I had expected. However, they were fresh-tasting. Bitterness from the watercress saucing was prominent and appropriate (although quite marked).

Organic Pasture-Raised Chicken; Anise Hyssop, Romaine, Candied Beets, Shrimp Reduction ($13) --  A good chicken specimen, with nice utilization of lemon peel to intensify the jus- and shrimp-hinted reduction. I continued drinking the Corton Charlemagne, but my dining companion moved onto a red wine (name unrecorded) purchased from the restaurant. ...

magnolia and I had a good-plus dinner at Tasting Room tonight, with Chef Alevras being even more receptive to questions. We sampled the following:

(1) Homemade Parpadelle with Chicken Liver, Romaine, Balsamic, Walnuts, Marjoram ($10 for Taste). My appetizer was appealing, with broad, tagliatelle-cousin-type noodles swirled around a good number of pieces of liver. The saucing was a jus reduction, with the walnuts surprisingly subtle and appearing in certain parts of the dish.

The wine I brought was Lucas-Carton, Demoiselle by Vranken, a wine selected by Senderens of Lucas-Carton. While I knew that L-C was now being financed at least in party by Vranken, I believed in Senderens' philsoophy, for some time now, of pairing wine with dishes that I coudln't beliefe this champagne would be poor (even though it had cost less than $30 and had been available at Sherry-Lehman). This champagne was much better than the Cuvee Daniel, for example -- nicely balanced, and a slight big refreshing.

magnolia ordered the Baked Rhode Island Day Boat Scallops, Squash blossoms, yukon gold potatoes, golden carrots ($13 for Taste). The vegetables were in small sizes, and the hint of acidity in their saucing was nice. There were three medium-largish scallops presented even in the Taste portion. However, like the scallops I had sampled upon my last visit to TR, the scallops tonight were a bit too limp, soft and lacking in elasticity and a slight "crispness" when taken in. This did not, of course, result in a poor dish. However, I was enjoying my liver-related pasta.

(2) Pasture-Raised Organic Chicken, Parsnip Puree, Swiss Chard, Nutmeg, Sabayon ($14 for Taste); Loin of New York State Venison, honey roasted spaghetti squash, mirin and green tea broth ($15 for Taste). The chicken was nice -- Belle Rouge, I guessed correctly. The flavor was very similar to what I had sampled at Blue HIll last Sunday -- almost an almond or otherwise slightly sweet aftertaste. The sabayon was also slightly sweet, and this was a nice combination of the flavor of the chicken with the hint of sweetness in the saucing.

The lamb loin was nice too, although perhaps not the rare level I had communicated to the dining room team. There was significant sugariness in the saucing, although this was fine from my perpsective. Despite very limited flaws, I dish I would order again, readily. By this time, magnolia and I had switched to the wine ordered -- perhaps magnolia could better expound on this than me. :wink:

magnolia ordered the Roasted Sullivan Country Squab, black radish, chiogga and golden beets, quince, sauce salmis ($26 for Share portion) This was highlgihted by the bitterness of the radish, which was relatively attractive against the other ingredients.

(3) Selection of American Farmhouse Cheese, quince, figs, grapes ($15 for Taste). This was nice; a Taste portion, instead of a Share, would appear to be sufficient for even two people to share. The varieties we had were (a) Bingham Blue (cow/Colorado), (b) Bingham Powder Puff (goat/Colorado) -- what a great name, © Shepards sheep (Vermont), (d) Mt St Francis (sheep/Vermont), and (e) Mt Diablo (goat/CA). The Muscat grapes were delicious, as was the little bit of not-yet-riped fig.

We finished with coffee. Overall, a good-plus meal. Equally importantly, I had a chance to really talk to and listen to magnolia, even though we had initially met at the 1st UK eGullet dinner. :laugh:

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In fact we were so wrapped up in conversation that I forgot to ask what "Chiogga" and "sauce Salmis" (which since I ate it, one would think I could have figured it out...) chiogga, salmis, anyone?

I loved the squab, but the 'pleasant surprise' dish for me was the papardelle w/chicken livers. It's the kind of thing that can pretty nondescript, and it was done perfectly.

I also enjoyed the scallops, I think more than C. did.

C's chicken was amazing, too, and I normally don't like US or UK chicken - they don't seem to have any flavour. This one was great - I think C. knows where it comes from.

The cheese plate was more 'recreational' than serious, but definitely satsifying and enough to share.

As for the wine...it was a California Marsanne from Berkmann (sp?) I didn't note the year, but it was probably a 1999 or 2000. I *love* Marsanne, and it's not often on wine lists, and when it is, it's pretty expensive. This one was a treat at $35. Very smooth, peachy-honey flavour, not cloying.

Overall a lovely meal. And I now have a thing for chef-owned restaurants, I hope to start a separate thread on this when I have a moment...

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A salmis is any preparation of bird (usually game bird) where the creature is partially roasted, the breasts, wings and legs removed, the carcass discarded, and the nice bits finished in a pan with a sauce. The sauce would usually include red wine, maybe some stock, onions, garlic, a dash of cognac or calvado, maybe herbs - the usual culprits. So I don't believe it is the specific ingredients of the sauce that make it a "sauce salmis", but the way in which it's used. And just right for a squab, I would say. :smile:

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In fact we were so wrapped up in conversation that I forgot to ask what "Chiogga" and "sauce Salmis" (which since I ate it, one would think I could have figured it out...) chiogga, salmis, anyone?

Chioggia is an Italian heirloom beet, also called Bassano beet from the Venetian hill town where it was first produced. The Chioggia/Bassano beet was introduced into France from Italy, and then later into the U.S. in the 1840s. The skin of this beet is bright red, but when sliced the interior is white with rose-colored rings. It's nice because it doesn't bleed all over your other food. The beet has a very delicate flavor. I think Paffenroth Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket carries it. (More than anyone wanted to know, huh? Seriously, I found this information in William Woys Weaver's Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, a great reference book for gardeners and people who shop at farmers' markets.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the recent great posts on the Tating Room, all. Very informative and eloquently descriptive as ever, Cabby- yours, too Magnolia. I especially appreciate the effort at continuity by keeping this on the old thread - well done.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dinner at the Tasting Room last night thought I'd add another report to an already well-documented restaurant. We called around noon and were fortunate that they had a cancellation for 6:30.

Menu as follows:

Razor Clam Escabeche

Red Onion, Carrot, Cilantro

Smoked Trout Salad

Roasted Potatoes, Haricots Verts, Smoked Ham

Sauteed Squid

Pomegranate & Cashews

Poached Blue Shrimp

Preserved Lemo, Daikon, Mint & Mirin

Seared Chicken Livers

Cippollini Onions, Miso, Blue Cheese

Wild Striped Bass

Cepe Mushrooms, Grapes, Chestnuts

Roasted Monkfish

Onion Ragout, Fennel Broth, Tarragon

Stewed Oxtail

Mole Sauce, Apricots, Watercress & Almonds

Open Faced Ravioli with Braised Short Ribs

Tomato Confit, Crosnes, Roasted Garlic

Sullivan County Squab

Cranberry Beans, Tangerine, Salmis Sauce

Selection of American Farmhouse Cheeses

Seasonal Fruit, Walnut Bread

Coconut Panna Cotta

Toasted Coconut, Orange

Warm Rice Pudding

Baby Basmati, Chocolate, Pineapple, Cinnamon

Crispy Rice Treat Ice Cream Sandwich

Caramel Sauce, Butter Pecan Ice Cream

All available as tasting/share sizes except the ravioli and desserts. $8/$16 to $15/$30.

The place was tiny as advertised, made for slightly cramped eating, but everyone was friendly and accepted the occasional jostle good naturedly - private conversation an impossibility, but menu consultation from other diners was free! Servers knew the menu very well and were more than competent. Glasses always filled, meal was perfectly paced with appropriate pauses between servings, but not from lack of attention.

We decided on six tasting plates and two desserts. We had the trout, chicken livers, shrimp, monkfish, ravioli, and squab. They brought two plates at a time starting with the trout and chicken livers and ending with the short ribs and the squab. We were steered towards a California Grenache - Qupe was the maker, not sure of the vintage, possibly 1999. Appropriate choice, I thought - a lighter red with plenty of flavor, versatility was the thinking.

Everything was very good, but highlights were the chicken livers - perfectly seared, soft and livery, very tasty reduction; squab - tender, flavorful, spiky hits of tangerine and the cranberry beans (nice wry holiday twist); short ribs - served between two al dente pasta disks, with a delicious tomato confit, very tender, appropriate fat, interesting white things without much flavor (Crosnes, I'm guessing); crispy rice treat ice cream sandwich - this tasted like crispy waffles with the butter pecan ice cream and the thin caramel sauce reminiscent of maple syrup, can't help but think this was intentional, Heston Blumenthal would have been proud.

We skipped the cheese plate having gorged on Fairway cheeses the night before, but I would have liked to have seen what they were serving.

All in all, a delicious and very reasonable meal - we will certainly return to this little jewel box.

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Ok its late and i wanted to let everyone know a few things. I went to the tasing room the other night. As some of you know i am very good friends with one of the cooks. Needless to say Veronica and i ate way to much and drank alot more. It was a great night that ended badly!!!!!! But my meal was great and as soon as i get all my brain cells back and feel better i will post up on it.

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  • 1 year later...

Havent been here in about 6 months. I checked menu pages and understand that the menu is likely to have changed. Any recent reports or updates? I know about the close quarters, the extensive american wine list, and the super friendly attentive owner who makes skeptical people like me even think that a person like her might truly be that nice. But whats going on with the food. Is it worth the gamble of sitting next to obnoxious people who LIKE TO PROJECT THEIR CONVERSATIONS TO THE TABLE SITTING NEXT TO THEM!

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:shock: Yowzah. Maybe if i didnt spend my lunch time writing on here i would actually check out a paper and not have to ask these easily answerable questions. So the question is, I am leaving for a trip for two weeks tomorrow. Do i keep the reservation with the california trio tonight, or do I go to the tasting room. They had a 745 as of 20 minutes ago.
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