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molto e

Vu at the Hyatt Regency (Scottsdale)

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The Vu Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch

7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road,

Scottsdale, Arizona, USA 85258

Tel: 480 444 1234

When Vu made the list for "Best New Restaurant" 2005 by Esquire magazine, the restaurant was thrown into the national spotlight. With the arrival of new Chef Brian Lewis, Vu's place among the finest restaurants in town is without question. The Phoenix fine dining scene shines brighter with this new star practicing the "craft" in town. Chef Lewis characterizes his culinary style as “rooted in tradition, but motivated by innovation". He features some of the finest boutique purveyors in the country; Summerfield Farms for veal, Jameson Farms for lamb, Painted Hills Farms for beef, and Niman Ranch. All the fish served at Vu is wild, line caught and hand harvested. The best way to sample the cuisine of Chef Lewis is by ordering one of the two six course tasting menus; the Daily Chef's Vu or the Garden Vu, based on heirloom and / or organic vegetables from small farms across the country, each priced at $80 and with wine pairings for $120.

Chef Lewis had his first taste of the restaurant business at the age of 14. While looking for an odd job and he stumbled upon a Northern Italian trattoria that was owned by a family from Bologna. The restaurant had garnered 3 stars from the New York Times and was located in his hometown of North Westchester, New York. When he peered in thru the kitchen door," I looked in, saw kind of a macabre dance going on... everyone was quiet. swinging pans around...knives... with the aromas of parmesan and olive oil wafting thru the air... I knew that I wanted to be in there."

Hooked by that one moment, Brian worked in the trattoria for the seven year period from high school thru his attendance at the Culinary Institute of America.

After completing his studies at C.I.A, Brian embarked on a culinary journey that would not only expose him to a cornucopia of fine dining expertise but crystallize his desire to fulfill his dream to control his own kitchen. The first stop on his journey was in the kitchen of the immortal Chef John-Louis Palladin in Washington, D.C, where he spent almost a year learning at the feet of one of the greats. “I found my way as a cook in the kitchen of Palladin...those four walls were France, make no mistake about it … without even trying he was a pioneer for French and American chefs alike. He brought cooking organically to America. Cooking organically was not a chic thing back then...it was just the way you do it . You were not doing it because you had to...you were doing it because it is just what you knew. I do not think it was called organic as much then, seeking out small farms. It left an indelible impression on me."

After his time at Palladin, he headed out West to work as Sous-Chef at the Ritz Carlton at Laguna Nigel. "My time there broadened my horizons as far as how simple and clean food could be...food did not need to be cooked so much, things could just be lighter. You do not realize that you are becoming a young chef at that point. You are just working and cooking and everything in your life is about cooking and then surfing." After three years in California, he decided that he was ready for the next step in his journey the bright lights of NYC. He spent four years in NYC as the Sous-Chef at the Sign of the Dove and then as Sous-Chef at Lutece.

After gaining invaluable experience on both American coasts, Brian decided to cross the Pond, to do a period of comprehensive stagenaire training in London. While in London, he primarily worked for the infamous Marco Pierre White. Brian loved the dining scene in London. He felt it was "sophisticated and unique unto it's own." After London, he traveled to Lyon, Nice and Monaco amongst other places to further broaden his experience and hone his craft.

After spending 8 months abroad, he returned to America accepting his first Executive Chef Job at Bix in San Francisco." I was throughly influenced by my travels in Europe. It allowed me to really begin to shape my cuisine. I was most influenced by Marco Pierre White's Style." Marco's style was characterized as," very sophisticated and elegant, modern French cooking but really grounded in tradition." While at Bix, Brian had a cook right out of high school working for him as a "stage" for 6 months and whom you can now find him on the October cover of Gourmet Magazine- Chef Homaro Cantu of Moto. After Bix, he worked at Chef Mark Sullivan's (Food and Wine Magazine "Best New Chef" 2002) much acclaimed Village Pub as Chef de Cuisine.

Brian then headed back to New York and worked as Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Oceana with Executive Chef Cornelius Gallagher (Food and Wine Magazine "Best New Chef" 2003). While looking for an opportunity to open his own restaurant, Brian accepted an offer to become Executive Chef of the Greene House in Scottsdale. The Greene House found immediate success and landed on the "Best New Restaurant" list of Phoenix Magazine. At this point, opportunity came knocking, or more specifically the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, and Brian accepted the Executive Chef position at Vu.

Chef Lewis has just recently debuted his first menu and if this is a glimpse of what is to come then watch out Phoenix! In the coming weeks, Brian will be incorporating local ingredients from some of the top purveyors in the state; Crooked Sky Farms, Duncan Farms and McClendon Farms. According to Chef Lewis," The local ingredients place on the menu is seasonally influenced by the growing cycle here because of the heat that they have to deal with. Those relationships and the products that I will be drawing from these local farms will become central to the style of my cooking here and paramount to it. The cuisine is driven by the product ... We are really going to drive that and support these folks and the management team at the Hyatt is very much behind me on this. I think it is great for our diners and it is great that our young chefs will be able to work like that and have an awareness of the product... local products brilliantly fresh coming in with the roots still on it, now that is cooking!"

Chef Lewis will vary the menus according to what is in season. There will be weekly tweaks but not wholesale changes."I have spent the better part of my life cooking and the ongoing thrill and excitement of not being able to sleep at night because you are thinking so much about a dish is something that I never want to lose."

The Vu is the perfect venue for Chef Lewis to express his passion. This may be the best time of year to dine at the Vu with its retractable floor to ceiling glass windows that makes dining al freco a joy. There is seating available outside on the patio as well as within a gazebo nestled in a fountained lagoon.

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The view from the entrance of the upper tier of the dining room

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The lower tier of the dining room

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Outdoor patio and gazebo dining

Over Brian's career, his perspective on whether to add something to his repetoire has been,"…like singing a new note...be objective, appreciate it for what it is...sit back...if you are intimidated by it, don't be...if you are confused by it, figure it out...be confident of your own style and be influenced by what compliments your style"

The Menu at Vu:

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The following pictures were taken from 3 meals at Vu. I tried as many things as I possible to sample the offerings of Chef Lewis.

Amuses:

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Seasonal Shot- Green Apple Juice with Ginger and Cardamom Oil with smoked sea salt and grated citrus

Refreshing Palatte cleanser...seasonal taste that will change as the season dictates

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Organic Carrot Panna Cotta with Cinnamon Salt with Micro Carrot Tops and Chive Paste

This was a creamy, not too sweet version of a panna cotta. The cinnamon salt added a depth to make this a very neat amuse.

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Heirloom Carrot Terrine with cured foie gras red swiss chard vanilla salt

An interesting combination with shaved foie and vanilla salt adding their own nuances to the heirloom carrot terrine.

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Butternut Squash Soup- butternut squash and apple juices with shallot cooked with a star anise cream and chives

Out of this world...remarkable combination creating a soup that made you go ummmmm.

Let the courses begin...

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Chiogga Beets- salt roasted with Mandarin Yogurt, Beet Glaze, Toasted Orange Powder, Sorrel Leaf with Osetra Caviar encased in Brioche

While the beets were perfectly complemented by the mandarin yogurt, there is no getting past the best single bite in the state of Arizona-the caviar brioche. The question is whether to eat the brioche in one bite and absorb the "umami" like explosion of the caviar or cut it in half and eat it in two bites. Whoas me...No matter how I endavor describe the warm buttery brioche that houses a shot of pure ecstasy, I would not do it justice.

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warm La ratte Potato Cannelloni, Toasted Almonds, Chlorophyll and Mache with Osetra Caviar encased in Brioche

This is a dish that tugs at the strings of my heart...Chef Lewis has a way with potato foam. Again served with that brioche that I could eat til I pop (and that may be sooner than I think :wink: ).

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Heirloom Tomatoes- complementary flavors

balsamic gelee, micro assorted basil, confit of fennel, extra virgin olive oil sorbet over a Parmigiano Reggiano shortbread

(plate to the right- from front to back) zucchini blossum, campari tomato, sage tapenade sandwich with fennel pollen and basil and tomato paint

The dressing was partly composed from the seeds of a yellow tomato. Chef Lewis feels that the yellow tomato is the sweetest so that is why he uses the seeds. This was a creative spin on the heirloom salad with unique accouterments. The olive oil sorbet was great, with a perfect texture and clean taste.

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tomato with fennel confit

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tomato with balsamic gelee

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tomato with assorted micro basil

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(plate to the right- from front to back) zucchini blossom, campari tomato, sage tapenade sandwich

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Sweet Corn Vichyssoise- summer truffle, shaved potato, hazelnut

Nice, clean, tasty soup

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Chef Lewis Plating the Yellowfin Tuna

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yellowfin tuna flashed in beurre noisette , soy caramel, cilantro paint and candied cilantro , avocado puree, pickled daikon root surrounding tuna tartar and hearts of palm

Enjoyed this dish...love the soy caramel with the tuna.

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Chef Brian Lewis plating the Honey Glazed Turnips...

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Turnips Glazed in Orange Blossom Honey with Caramelized Walnuts, Endive and Walnut oil and Blood Orange

The honey glazed turnips were cooked perfectly, walnuts and blood orange made a perfect marriage of flavors.

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FOCUS

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Maitaki Mushroom Risotto with Pea Shoots and a Truffle Celery Foam with Smoked Gouda Cheese

Risotto was well prepared and the smoked gouda was a nice touch to the dish.

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Heirloom Carrots- pickled carrot terrine with salsify and red swiss chard... panna cotta of carrots with cinnamon salt, micro carrot tops...spiced carrot soup with beluga lentils with carrot paint on the plate

Chef Lewis had recently received a shipment of heirloom carrots. The flavor profile of the dish is various forms of cinnamon vanilla and ginger. I had the terrine and panna cotta as amuses and then he paired them with the soup to make his homage to heirloom carrots.

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La Ratte potato foam, chanterelles, black trumpets, red wine gelee, black trumpet mushroom powder, shallot crackling, jus de poulet

This is a sumptuous dish that exemplifies Chef Lewis's touch layering flavors within a dish. From the bottom up; a cold disc of red wine gelee, the wild mushrooms, luxurious potato foam, black trumpet mushroom powder, shallot crackling and jus de poulet: the hot potato foam melts the red wine gelee so a little sweetness creeps into the dish. The mouth feel runs the spectrum from sweet to earthy to crunchy to luxurious and best of all delicious.

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Sea of Japan- Red King Crab over Cured Lemon Tapioca with purple shiso, Hawaiian Pink Snapper with Seaweed based foam, Crisp Uni Tempura with plum

This dish is meant to be eaten in this order

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Red King Crab

I liked the combination of the delicately cooked crab with the lemon tapioca.

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Hawaiian Pink Snapper-crusted with toasted sesame seeds and dried seaweed(dulse)

The fish was nicely prepared and the sesame seed / seaweed combo worked well.

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Crisp Uni Tempura

Crisp on the outside with buttery molten uni on the inside

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Kurobuta Pork Belly glazed in Agave Nectar with Spiced Quince Puree, Pickled Chanterelles, Vanilla Tamarind Glaze

I am a sucker for pork belly so I particularly liked the agave glaze with with the quince puree.

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Diver Scallops- foie gras ravioli -cinnamon salt, carrot tops, spiced carrot, beluga lentils, port and red wine

When the foie gras ravioli was pierced and its flavor intermingled with the rest of the dish, the dish was brought to a whole other level.

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Lobe of Foie Gras presented at the Table

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Foie a la Christian Delouvier-salt roasted peaches and a tokai based sauce

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Madiera Glazed Black Cod - porcini confit, five spiced celery, oak aged soy

This is what I would call Chef Lewis's "money dish". There are many renditions of black cod but this is the first that I have seen glazed with Madeira. The cod was soft and buttery with the sweetness of the soy and the earthy component from the porcinis make this a BIG WINNER.

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Mediterranean Bass- chorizo crusted caramelized egg, marcona almonds, polenta, smoked paprika oil

Otherwise known as Loup de Mer, this is one of my favorite dishes on the menu. The chorizo adds not takes away from this Spanish inspired flavor set.

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John Dory poached in garlic butter, crisp chicken skin, shelling beans, espuma de baccala and jus de poulet

This dish spins on the brandade and that nicely accents the John Dory. The last three fish dishes were superb and it would be hard to pick a favorite between them.

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plating perfection

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Painted Hills Beef Tenderloin - caramelized fig, cured foie, tamarind

Butter poached filet of the highest quality lifts up this tenderloin dish, but having a torchon of foie gras shaved on it definitely does not hurt.

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Niman Ranch Beef Short Rib - shorpshire cheese, walnut and coffee crust, black cherry confiture

The walnut and coffee crust on the shortrib starts an interesting combination of flavor waves. When the shortrib is eaten with a swoosh thru the sauces the entire picture comes into focus.

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Tribute to Bearnaise - Summerfield Field Veal prepared three ways crisp organic egg yolk raviolo lemon dressing glazed asparagus crisp serrano ham micro basil

Chef Lewis plays with the sauce Béarnaise by giving the sweetbread black pepper syrup, veal cheek gets preserved lemon and the tenderloin receiving the shallot marmalade.

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Jameson Farms Lamb - aromatic peppers, merguez, apricot, white beans

Jameson Farms lamb is the favorite of many of the top restaurants in this country and one bite confirms why. Housemade merguez sausage adds spice to the sweet apricots and the velvety white bean puree.

Intermezzo

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Pineapple confiture with Tahitian Vanilla and Chardonnay sorbet and pinenut marjolaine

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Cheese and accompaniments?????

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Scharffen Berger Chocolate Two Ways- bittersweet chocolate gelato with a warm peanut butter froth and caramelized peanuts over the top / milk chocolate ganache with curry sugar coated chocolate doughnuts with curry custard and kaffir lime on the plate

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Frog Hollow Peach cooked in tahitian vanilla syrup with basil and candied ginger with a little raspberry

Peach melba like dessert, simple but so good.

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Eucalyptus Honey creme brulee, tawny port sorbet and blackberry syrup, grated smoked gouda

When this dish is served, the chef suggests enjoying all the flavors in one bite. I do not think that you can appreciate the complex craving that you experience when eating this dessert. I became fixated with the the smoked gouda inconjunction with the creme brulee. I can not explain it but I just needed another bite.

The wine list holds some interesting treasures and the following was a reasonably priced bottle that I happened on:

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Orin Swift Cellars "The Prisoner" Napa Red Wine

A blend of 53% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Charbono and 7% Petite Sirah, the Prisoner is loaded with dark black fruits, spice and hints of sweet oak. The Prisoner is named for a Goya painting that inspired Owner and Winemaker Dave Phinney. Vineyard sources include the best of the best of Napa Valley: Tofanelli, Morisoli, Page Nord, Marston. Dave is married to the daughter of Whitehall Lane owner, Tom Leonardini, and is also the current winemaker for Bennett Lane.

The Hyatt has a strong candidate for best restaurant in the valley with the Vu. General Manager Todd DeSilva runs the front of the house in a professional yet approachable style that will appeal to the Scottsdale crowd. I have eaten dinner at the Vu three times while Chef Lewis has been the top toque and all the meals have been great. Chef Lewis says there is much more to come as he leads his crew along with the changing of the seasons. He adds that," November is my favorite month to cook in, with the coming of chestnuts, truffles and Nantucket" Hold on did someone say truffles-see you there!

Phoenix Best Bets:

Vu at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale

Sea Saw

Binkley's Restaurant

Zinc Bistro

Cyclo

Lo-Lo's Fried Chicken and Waffles

Kohnies-Coffee, Breakfast and Best Scones

Pizzeria Bianco

Pane Bianco

Arlecchino Gelateria

The Pork Shop

Grazie Pizzeria

Good Eating,

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Wow! You have outdone yourself Eliot! Great report and astounding platings and photography. Phoenix is really turning into a happening place in the culinary world!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Beautiful stuff!  I can't wait for my trip to Phoenix in Spring 2007.  Vu is now on my 'must hit' list.

=R=

Ronnie S.,

Just tell me when to make the "reso"s!!

Phoenix is really turning into a happening place in the culinary world!

Doc,

Phoenix has some Chefs that definitely perform at a high level and hopefully we will have some more on their way out here soon :biggrin: .

Molto E


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Outstanding photos! If only the Mets could hit home runs as often as Eliot.

What an impressive resume Chef Lewis has. Hard to beat that one.


Robert R

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Outstanding photos! If only the Mets could hit home runs as often as Eliot.

What an impressive resume Chef Lewis has. Hard to beat that one.

By the looks of the food here, one way to drown the sorrows of us Met fans would be to take a trip to Phoenix to dine at this restaurant and a few other "home runs" that Molto has brought to our attention. If the future did not look so bright I would be disconsolate to the point that not even the prospect of a meal like this would cheer me up. Unfortunately, this is not yet in my immediate future. I will just have to make do with the World of Flavors Conference coming up to assuage my despondency:wink:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My family was planning to go out to Binkley's in a couple weeks to celebrate a birthday...unfortunately it's closed on that date, so I think we're going to try Vu instead. Binkley's has been fabulous every time I've been there, but your photos and descriptions of Vu are awfully tempting, so I have high hopes that it will be a good substitute. I don't think I had realized what awesome stuff was going on at Vu until I read this, so thanks so much for bringing it to our attention!

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My family was planning to go out to Binkley's in a couple weeks to celebrate a birthday...unfortunately it's closed on that date, so I think we're going to try Vu instead.

JCish,

Make sure to speak with General Manager Todd DeSilva so he knows that your group is celebrating a birthday. He just took care of a eGulleteer who had a birthday group of ten with a special tasting menu.

Best,

Molto E


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I have been fortunate and had the opportunity to dine at Vu several times over the last month. Chef Brian Lewis is a talent and keeps tweaking Vu in order to make it the best experience that he can offer. He will soon offer 4 tasting menu options: Garden Vu (featuring heirloom vegetables from small family farms), Ocean Vu (featuring selections from the sea), Mountain Vu (featuring meat, game and poultry from boutique producers) and Grand Vu ( chef's selections taken from all the menus).

Here are some of the new dishes that I have tried:

During white truffle season, one of the amuses to the tasting menu:

White Truffle Bacon and Eggs

Chef Lewis' take on the Arpege egg

Eggs Brouillade with Bliss Maple Syrup, guanciale, sherry vinegar celery leaves, chives and white alba truffle brunoise

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A classic amuse with the shell hiding the layers of different flavors- sweet, tart, creamy and most of all truffle goodness!

With the black truffle season now upon us, this is an amuse to the tasting menu:

Nantucket Bay Scallop Tartar - Black Perigord truffle dressing, almond oil, chives, smoked salt and brioche

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This may be my favorite black truffle dish...this dish is sick(in a good way :wacko: ). The truffles lend such a luxurious edge to the scallops. Such simple and pure flavors that add up to so much more. I strongly suggest making your way to Vu before the black truffle season ends.

Uni Panna Cotta with Osetra Caviar, red beet paint, sorrel leaf and melting osetra caviar brioche

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This was one of the amuses to the tasting menu. The unctous uni paired with the salty caviar with a little pop and the "melting osetra caviar brioche" (that should be illegal) make for a quiet table while everyone was savoring these tastes.

Bobo Farms Foie Gras Duo

tasting of crimson gold apples ( w/ the cold - tokai crimson gold apple gelee, candied crimson gold apple, apple tokai sorbet, picked thyme petals - w/ the hot - black beluga lentilss in apple gastrique w/ bacon & sherry vinegar )

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second picture after the hot - black beluga lentils in apple gastrique w/ bacon & sherry vinegar has been spooned on

This is a nice dish with different textures and temperatures. The tokai apple sorbet was delicious and a great palate cleanser in between both of the foie presentations. The seared foie with the belugas was very tasty.

Red King Crab Raviolo

amontillado sherry, toasted almonds, foie gras butter

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The sauce that dressed the raviolo is albufera made with amontillado sherry and foie butter, shallot salt and toasted almonds. Save a piece of bread so that you can lop up the sauce. The raviolo is stuffed with sea scallop and red king crab.

Line Caught Dover Sole Meuniere honey glazed rutabaga, creamy cauliflower, meyer lemon

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Chef Lewis has a deft touch with fish.

Summerfield Veal Cheek with Black Perigord Truffles, Organic Egg Yolk Raviolo, Juvet Mache and house made Guanciale

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I love piercing the ravioli and letting the yolk cover the veal cheek. The addition of the black truffle to the dish raises the decadence factor.

Passion Fruit and Valhrona Chocolate financier macadamia brittle, kafir lime caramel, banana brulee

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Forelle Pear Roasted in Brown Butter walnut sticky bun, bubalis bubali ricotta, wild huckleberrries, white chocolate gelato

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Caramelized Pumpkin Bread Pudding cranberry gelato, pomegranate custard

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Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Once again extremely well done report! The food looks simply delicious. Do you know where "Bobo Farms" is? That is where the foie gras is from, no?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Once again extremely well done report! The food looks simply delicious. Do you know where "Bobo Farms" is? That is where the foie gras is from, no?

Doc,

I think BoBo farms is in your neck of the woods. They may use the name La Belle as well, let me check on that.

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Eliot, bravo for keeping this restaurant in the news. I too have eaten many times at this restaurant since Chef Brian has been at the helm and have found his food to unmatched in the Valley (ok I know you'd say Binkley's but top two for sure). Quite frankly the food is far superior than when the past chef was the top toque. :smile: Lets keep talking about it and perhaps we can pry more of the Valley diners out of their comfort zone and into a truly awesome dining experience.

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Eliot, bravo for keeping this restaurant in the news.  I too have eaten many times at this restaurant since Chef Brian has been at the helm and have found his food to unmatched in the Valley (ok I know you'd say Binkley's but top two for sure).  Quite frankly the food is far superior than when the past chef was the top toque.  :smile: Lets keep talking about it and perhaps we can pry more of the Valley diners out of their comfort zone and into a truly awesome dining experience.

drpny,

I have eaten at Vu twice and am as impressed with Chef Brian Lewis as both you and molto e. The word needs to get out.

ahurwich


Edited by ahurwich (log)

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Eliot, bravo for keeping this restaurant in the news.  I too have eaten many times at this restaurant since Chef Brian has been at the helm and have found his food to unmatched in the Valley (ok I know you'd say Binkley's but top two for sure).  Quite frankly the food is far superior than when the past chef was the top toque.  :smile: Lets keep talking about it and perhaps we can pry more of the Valley diners out of their comfort zone and into a truly awesome dining experience.

drpny,

I have eaten at Vu twice and am as impressed with Chef Brian Lewis as both you and molto e. The word needs to get out.

ahurwich

It sounds like we need to coordinate an eGullet Dinner event here! Woweewowowow.

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It was certainly a Gourmandise day to those present. An excellent work of art,tantalizing and good presentation. I can't wait to order his cookbook and video.

Chef Lewis you did a great job!


Edited by Cookwithlove (log)

主泡一杯邀西方. 馥郁幽香而湧.三焦回转沁心房

"Inhale the aroma before tasting and drinking, savour the goodness from the heart "

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