I had foolishly avoided
So on the occasion of the annual parental visit, my father, having read about
At the risk of exaggeration, Michael Cimarusti’s
I was nervous at first. The amuse was a shot of watermelon soup with lemon foam. The soup was fresh and flavorful, but the foam lumbered on top and could not be swallowed concurrently. It was also foam. I will say that Cimarusti’s attempt to pry the maligned substance from the Vigneronian bearhug was admirable if futile.
For an appetizer, I ordered the roasted spot prawn and Japanese sword squid with “provencal flavors,” a dish that immediately reminded me why I love the simplicity of southern French cooking. The kitchen placed two spot prawns at the center of the plate around which it interspersed tiny cuts of the squid. The Provençal flavors consisted of an intensely fresh tomato sauce darkened with capers and a minor chord of spiciness. The spot prawns could have been as succulent and tender as those miraculously good prawns served at L’Astrance, where only a dull spoon was really necessary to cut them. The sword squid was also very tender and delicious.
As a second appetizer,
For a main, I had a great roasted snapper served with roasted sweet peppers, chorizo that was served on a short bed of crushed potato with capers and olive oil. The snapper was thin and delicate though not flimsy, and had a fresh, rich flavor. Its skin was just as crispy and delicious as I would expect in a well-prepared duck dish. The snapper was so good that I paid little heed to the potato and chorizo until the fish was gone.
Marisa had the equally delicious striped bass with pistachios, porcini, carrot mousseline and wedges of mission figs. In an interesting twist, Cimarusti dusted the mission figs with salt, thereby amplifying their natural sweetness with the most basic complement.For dessert, we liked the saffron rice pudding with Harry’s
5955 Melrose Ave.