I've had these pictures uploaded to my blog for weeks. They've been waiting in the draft file. Since Tre recently announced that he is leaving Abacus, I thought today was a good day to share this amazing meal.
Who's Tre? Well, if you are not a Top Chef fan, you may wish to just stop here. Tre was a contestant on the last season of Top Chef which ended a few months ago. Everyone agreed he was kicked off way too soon when he took the lead on a particular challenge and wasn't able to come out on top. Actually, I suspect his early departure turned out to be a huge benefit to him -- it made for a dramatic story and he has been doing all kinds of press and media since then. (Maybe you saw him on the Top Chef Holiday Special where he came in a very close second and was fantastically gracious about losing.) He is leaving Abacus on January 1 to "pursue other opportunities." Well, good for him!
Jeff and I are big fans of Top Chef as are my parents, so when they came to visit in October, we decided to go to Tre's restaurant, Abacus, for dinner. We felt a bit like crazy fans. Even a bit giddy when we saw him working away in the kitchen.
Gosh... get to the food already, right?
Once we were there, the waiter convinced us that the "only way to eat" was to order the nine course Chef's Tasting Menu. Well, of course.
Obviously, I won't be able to give you the beautiful descriptive introductions that the waiter did. You'll be lucky if I can remember anything other than, "Uh, Yum."
We started with seared tuna and a tempura sushi roll. Those sauces are so much more than just decorative. Delish.
My mother was most impressed by this first course. She was amazed that she liked it. She is definitely not a fish kinda gal. The biggest thrill of the tasting menu is that we all tried things we might not have ordered off the menu.
My photos are pretty awful. I turned off the flash because I didn't want to seem too conspicuous.
Hmmmm. I'm not sure what this is. Another fish course, I think. Isn't it pretty?Mango sorbet. So dramatic.Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering just looking at this picture. This was my favorite course. It was divine. Halibut sitting on a corn ravioli sitting on asparagus with champagne soaked baby tomatoes and another amazing sauce.This is "pork two ways," I think. On the bottom left is pork belly. Toasty and rich! Oops. I forgot to take a picture of the duck coarse before I ate nearly every bite! This plate included fois gras which I'd never had before. Too rich for me, really -- let alone the bad feelings it conjures when you know how it got to be that rich. But, I'm glad to have experienced it. The duck spring roll was fantastic. There was a third preparation of duck on the plate and I'm sure it was also spectacular.
Nine courses is a lot. Can you believe we still had three to go?!
In fact, I was almost too full to enjoy the buffalo and Kobe beef. (I think there are some mashed potatoes under there too.)As the waiter was bringing this plate to the table, one of the stacks tipped over and it was quickly rushed back to the kitchen for repair. In fact, the service was perfection. Every detail was carefully considered.
Cheese!Also figs and pears and some kind of berry and crispy giant crackers. Yum. I don't think I've ever had figs before. Why not? They are delish. I must look for some when I go to the grocery store today.
Drum roll... finally, dessert! I am all about dessert, baby. But I'm not sure I enjoyed this as much as a humble bowl of home-made brownies and seasonal peppermint ice cream while watching Project Runway. You know?
It was such a wonderful meal and a delightful experience. An enormous splurge for us and well-worth it.