I am so in love with the idea of an underground restaurant. Health code, bah- who needs it? I want some awesome food that a mysterious chef has made in his secret location. I also love that I have cool friends who know cool people who do cool things. In this case, thanks to Kate for inviting Sarah to join your group for 12B and to Sarah for convincing Kate to allow Big M and me to tag along.
12B is, essentially, a dinner party where the food prepared and served by a secret chef at his place, 12B, and all you have to do is show up with your own booze, a suggested donation of $65.00 and an appetite. Then he will serve you and 10-12 of your friends an amazing 6 course meal.
The apartment has a small, very well stocked kitchen. When we first arrived I was sure that Chef hadn't started any cooking because it was so clean! There is an ice bucket for whatever booze you have brought and some jars to drink it out of. There are a couple of lounging rooms set up where "smoking is mandatory" and then a dining room with 2 long, skinny tables placed as a T for everyone to sit around. How speak easy! As Big M and I only knew Sarah going into our dinner, this set up was perfect for being able to talk to everyone in the group.
We all sat down and started the meal. I am taking the descriptions from a book that the Chef wrote up in his guest book. He gave everything a wonderful introduction when he served it. This will have basic descriptions and my apologies if I get it wrong.
First course: French Onion Soup
I know I am going to say this too often with this post, but it was so yummy. The little piece of bread was still crispy and the cheese was not overwhelming in portion. Perfect start.
Second Course: Herb Salmon with brandy mushroom cream, radicchio endive salad with vinaigrette, quail egg, oven dried tomato and sunchoke chips.
Wow, right? Sunchoke is my new favorite vegetable so I was really excited about them. This was also my first experience with quail eggs which they use on Top Chef all the time. They also fulfilled my liking of eating food that makes me feel like a giant. I am not really a salmon fan, but if he would have just offered this dish 5 more times, I would have been happy.
Thyme roasted quail with maple jus, yam puree, truffle roasted corn and bacon.
WOW. You had me at truffle. I am now a super fan of quail. Again, food that makes me feel like a giant, with truffle oil and bacon to make it that much more awesome. This meal rules!
Duck breast with fennel, saffron couscous with brandy jus, aubergine, zucchini and leeks.
Sigh, the duck was amazing. I loved the couscous and, I even ate the zucchini even though I believe it is the vegetable of the devil. The plating of this was so pretty.
Cinnamon chipotle pork tenderloin, fennel, beets, potato, carrots
I don't remember what was in the puree in the bottom but it may have been one of the more flavourful things I have ever eaten. The pork was melt in your mouth awesome. The vegetables were cooked perfectly and the carrots were actually Wu-Tang carrots. What are those?
These are Wu-Tang carrots:
I am so glad that Chef had fun while making the meal. That is what it is all about!
Sixth course, dessert:
Cardamom pannacotta with sour cherry and star anise, balsamic ice cream and shortbread.
What more can I say? This was so good. I really liked the savory touches to the dessert and how it tied into a really savory meal.
I wish I had better culinary words to describe how awesome this meal was. I am sure there are things that I should talk about like the progression of the food or the ingredients chosen. I am happy with great food and new friends.
This may have been my first six course meal in an underground restaurant, but it will not be my last. We already have reservations again for April, as long as I keep in Sarah's good graces. Jealous? You should be.