Monday, April 25, 2016

Two: Split-Rail Pop Up

I really like Two Restaurant.  The food, which is a seasonal American menu plays well in the rustic space.  I have been here for dinner and for special events (involving a special dinner) both.  I went recently for a special dinner, a pop up previewing Chef Zoe Schor's upcoming restaurant, Split-Rail.  Chef Zoe was the opening chef at another of my favorite restaurants, Ada Street, so it was a win on several levels and after seeing the menu, I was very much anticipating this dinner.  Dinner was five courses and a BYOB, so I brought a bomber bottle of Chaton Rosé, a collaboration Hibiscus Ale between Pipeworks Brewery and Avec Restaurant.  Hibiscus beers are generally not my style, but as the dinner was aiming to be a celebration of spring and sea, I thought the refreshing flavor might be appropriate.  It was and tasted good as well.  We started out with A Day on the Pier (all of the courses had names) which consisted of lightly smoked Littleneck Clams with Scallop Dumplings, Saffron-Seawater Broth, and Sea Beans.  When the bowl was brought out, I was immediately struck with the saffron aroma which was positively intoxicating.  The aroma enhanced the flavor of the clams and the scallop dumplings and the Sea Beans tasted very green and fresh.
The next course was called Saturday Morning at the Farmer's Market and as the name implies, it was very much about vegetables and things you would find at a farmer's market.  The dish consisted of Asparagus, Fava Beans, Morels, Sunchoke Puree, a 63 Degree Egg (the egg is cooked Sous-Vide so the white and yolk have the same texture), and Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese.  This had a wealth of textures and flavors.  The vegetables were crisp, the egg was soft, the morel was tender, and the sunchoke was creamy.  All of the flavors were pronounced and went together well and I really enjoyed it.
While I liked dining from a farmer's market, the next course, Where the Land Meets the Sea was outstanding.  It consisted of Linguini, English and Snap Peas, Spring Onion, Dungeness Crab, Uni Butter, and Garlic Breadcrumbs.  It was crunchy from the peas and spring onions with a nice seafood flavor and the perfectly cooked linguini.
The last savory course felt the most like an entree, featuring a well cooked fish filet.  It was called Dip Your Toes in the Water (And It's Still Freezing...) and featured a Crispy Chicken-Skinned Black Cod with Harissa Potato (mashed), Baby Turnips, and Heirloom Radish.  The skin of the cod was crispy and fried (like fried chicken) but the meat was tender and flaky.  The harissa potatoes were mashed, flavorful, and pretty spicy which went well with the radishes.  The turnips were crunch and actually kind of reminded me of a potato as well.  While it was good, my favorite dish was still the linguini.
Our dessert was called Hear the Ice Cream Truck Coming? and as the name implied, it was about ice cream.  It was a Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich with Vanilla Bean - Bacon Ice Cream and Bourbon Barrel County Stout Syrup.  While we were given silverware to eat this, the waffle was dense enough that the best way to eat this was to pick it up and eat it like a sandwich (occasionally dipping it in the sauce for additional flavor).  The waffle was crispy and the ice cream had the best parts of savory and sweet with the vanilla and the bacon featuring prominently.  The Bourbon Barrel County Stout sauce was bitter sweet and smoky and went very well with the sweetness of the ice cream.  It was a great finish to a great meal and I am excited to visit Split-Rail when it opens.            

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