Thursday, July 2, 2009

Greatest Meal Ever

As I've written many time before, the best glass of wine I have ever had is inextricably tied to the people with whom I was sharing it. Same goes for the best meal. And when I can share the best food I have had in a very long time with one of my kids, the "special-ness" of the occasion increases exponentially.

On our family vacation in Las Vegas last week, my son, Aidan, and I ate at Bar Charlie on our second-to-last night. Bar Charlie is owned by Charlie Trotter and is a smaller venue inside Restaurant Charlie. The Bar specializes in kaiseki style of Japanese cuisine, think Asian tapas...small plates of exquisitely prepared food, mostly fish, some raw.

Aidan works Saturdays in the La Rochelle tasting room and is a big fan of sushi...Kawa Sushi in Livermore is one of our frequent haunts. I promised Aidan we'd devote a night in Vegas to the pursuit of raw fish and I'd heard good things about Bar Charlie.

I can't speak highly enough of the level of service and the deliciousness of the meal. We splurged and had the 14-course meal. I also had the beverage pairing accompanying each dish.

To simply list the dishes would do a disservice to the greatness of it all, but here are a few highlights:

Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna with Umeboshi and Seawater - (Aidan's favorite) a raw preparation of tuna, one section of which was wrapped around a cake of Umeboshi (a salted Japanese plum).

Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Pearled Barley & Miso - each part of the trout was used from the skin (cooked as a chip and put into Trout ice cream...really delicious!) to the roe.

Diver Sea Scallop with Chocolate & Bloomsdale Spinach - (my favorite) puree of Spinach sauce, Coffee oil (unbelievable!), and chocolate ganache cut into strips brought out the sweetness of the perfectly cooked scallop.

I admire any company that sets very high standards and that works hard to meet them. Restaurant Charlie certainly fits into this category. There's a graciousness and elegance to the way they approach food and service that is both testament to their philosophy as well as an inspiration to those of us who want to be able to provide the seemless, unparalleled, Extraordinary Experience to all who visit us.

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