Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I wrote about one sixtyblue earlier this year but I had gone then as part of Restaurant Week and I was ordering off of a limited menu, so I thought that I would write again after going again on my own and choosing from the full menu. Ever since the first time I came to one sixtyblue a few years ago, it has been a favorite of mine. Their food is very approachable serving upscale versions of American favorites, changing the side vegetables according to the season. In addition to eating at the restaurant itself, I have had their food at a chef demo at Green City Market where they get a lot of their food (or at least get a lot of their food from the same farmers that sell at Green City Market), at a couple of charity benefits, and at the Taste of Randolph Street Festival. While the food was good at all of those places, they can't match the aesthetic of the restaurant itself. For this visit, I was seated close to the kitchen. There is an open kitchen at one sixtyblue so you can see the goings on from the dining room. sitting next to the kitchen, I was not only able to watch the kitchen but I could also see the flow of the dining room. It was fun to be able to see everything. I started my dinner with a spin on something I had had before, the one sixtyblue Hash Brown. It was topped with a House Smoked Salmon, with Chopped Eggs, Capers, and Sweet Potato Creme Fraiche. The hash brown is fried into about a 4 inch disc that is about half an inch thick. While it tastes good on it's own, I think that it's a bit too crispy around the edges. I figured that the addition of the salmon would both complement the flavor of the hash brown and with the texture, provide a contrast to the crunch. It did. The capers and egg provided a nice tartness to the dish as well.
I was really torn about what to order for my entree because there were so many things that looked really good. I finally went with something that, in general, has been a long time favorite, the duck. Duck is a favorite of mine to the point that for a while, when I would tell a friend or family member that I went to a new restaurant, they would ask me how the duck was. I hadn't had duck in a while so I thought it was safe this time. Even if it wasn't, it really looked good. It was a Wood Grilled Duck Breast from Maple Leaf Farm, that was served with salsify, fennel, cabbage, apple chutney, and apple-caramel sauce. The combination of flavors was both obviously seasonal and very good and even without my bias, I wouldn't be afraid to recommend it to someone.While I was waiting for the dessert menu to arrive, I got a surprise, a dessert amuse bouche. I am very familiar with amuse bouches (French for "Happy Mouth" and it is an off-the-menu treat that is normally served as a pre-appetizer). I was surprised to get an amuse bouche before dessert. What I was served was a spiced apple cider with tapioca pearls (like Japanese bubble tea) and whipped cream. It was a nice surprise that was refreshing and got me ready for dessert.
While I was feeling a little full after what I had had so far, there was no question about my having dessert. The dessert chef had wowed me more than once and I had liked everything that I had ever had that she created. There were a few things that interested me on the dessert menu but I was interested in the description of one dish that I would think is a classic, carrot cake. I really like carrot cake and my Mom makes a good carrot cake, I was wondering how a high end carrot cake based dessert might compare. The dessert was called a carrot cake terrine and it was amazing. The term terrine is usually used in reference to charcuterie. It is a coarsely chopped meat pressed together and held together with fat of the same animal. This dessert was almost nothing like that. It started with a carrot cake that was coarsely chopped and pressed into a mason jar, a layer of vanilla cream cheese custard is then added followed by another layer of carrot cake with pineapple, another layer of custard and topped with candied walnuts. Did I mention that this was amazing? It was so good, I almost proposed to the pastry chef. It was one of those desserts that you make sure that you get every crumb. As far as the comparison between this and my Mom's homemade carrot cake is concerned, it's a comparison that can't really be made because while the dessert incorporates carrot cake, it is much more than carrot cake. The carrot cake itself is very good and it compares positively to my Mom's carrot cake, but as it is just part of the terrine, it can't be compared as a whole.
I really enjoy one sixtyblue, I enjoyed my meal and I have no problem recommending it to anyone. While I do enjoy dining at a lot of different restaurants, this is one that I will always come back to.