09 July 2009

East Coast/West Coast

San Diego has the best cooking scene of anywhere I've lived. Produce. Meat. Wine. Fish. You name it, we can get it here. As a home cook, this is of course fantastic.

But San Diego's restaurant scene makes me cry. Case in point: We just returned from a visit to family in the Washington D.C. area. As part of our visit, we met some friends in the highly acclaimed restaurant Proof. In the same price range as Blue Point in downtown San Diego, these restaurants might as well be in different galaxies. The food at Blue Point is good, but certainly not memorable. The food at Proof made me cry tears of pure ecstasy.

I'm not that food blogger who takes pictures of my dinner in the restaurant. Sorry. So if you're looking for photos, head over to Proof. We started with the charcuterie plate, waiting for us when we arrived (our friends arrived 15 minutes earlier). The star was quite obviously the Pate Campagne with Sour Cherries & Pistachios. Sweet and rich. Spread on the toasted bread they brought us, it was delicious. This pate was pure perfection.

We took a collaborative approach to dinner, ensuring that no one would order the same thing. It's important to have friends who will do this with you - it expands the range of things you can taste without increasing the cost. For firsts, we ordered Grilled Spanish Octopus, Ahi Tuna Tartare, Sautéed Potato Gnocchi with Red Scallions & Asparagus, Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with Smoked Prosciutto & Warm Flatbread. All four were quite tasty, but the gnocchi and tuna tartare were divine. The tartare tasted of sesame and raw tuna, and was perfectly balanced with sheets of toasted seaweed in between.

For seconds Sautéed Day Boat Scallops, Miso Glazed Sablefish, Honey & Spice Glazed Pekin Duck Breast and Crispy Duck & Pork Confit. The miso glazed white sablefish was perfectly cook. Tender and soft, rich and sweet, it was perfection. The duck breast was also done outrageously well. The pork confit was slightly overcooked, a sin that was quickly forgiven due to the perfectly done duck confit.

For dessert, two of us ordered the Rhubarb and Strawberry Shortbread, one ordered the Chocolate Bread Pudding and one ordered the Raspberry Panna Cotta. You may remember my thoughts on contaminating rhubarb with other fruit, but this was crazy good. Only a tiny amount of strawberry to flavour the rhubarb, not the other way around, and the sugar was perfectly balanced - resulting in a slightly sweet rhubarb flavour. Delicious. The panna cotta and bread puddings were also really, really great.

This is what fine dining should be. When you pay as much as you do at a place like Blue Point or Proof - the food should be dynamite. It should be perfectly executed, and it should be exciting. Sadly, this kind of dining seems to be lacking in San Diego. We've had good food, and very-good-for-the-money-food, but we've had no restaurant meals that make us sigh wistfully, and recount to friends that fabulous meal we had one time... We'll have to rely on our biannual forays east to satisfy our fine dining cravings. Or perhaps a field trip to Los Angeles...

No comments:

Post a Comment