Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cobaya OG's - Conor Hanlon & Josh Gripper - The Dutch

Josh & Conor

Cobaya experiment #42 was conducted at one of the best restaurants in Miami and one of my favorite spots, The Dutch. The menu correctly stated that the dinner was "brought to you by Cobaya OG's: Chef Conor Hanlon and Chef Josh Gripper" Cobaya OG's they are indeed. Conor, Josh and Andrew Carmellini aren't just friends of Cobaya they're great friends of Cobaya. We've collaborated with them on a few dinners over the past couple of years that were truly special. Cobaya Carmellini & The Dutch Boys was Best Meal of Year for 2012. A few months later we teamed up again for an amazing night in order to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims. And last November, Chef Carmellini brought his legendary Trufflepalooza to South Beach and it was fantastic. But this time The Dutch Boys wanted to have some fun in the Cobaya Kitchen on their own. It was the Conor and Gripper show and it was a hit.

Classic technique, respect for ingredients, finesse, balance, execution. Words I associate with the work of Conor. Josh too. Traits learned and honed while working in the stellar kitchens of heavyweight chefs Daniel Boulud and Andrew Carmellini.

Prior to becoming the opening chef de cuisine at The Dutch and now executive chef of the W, Conor was executive sous chef at db Bistro Moderne in Miami as well as db Brasserie in Las Vegas. He also spent time on the line at Cafe Boulud. Josh initially started on the savory side of the line under AC at Cafe Boulud in Manhattan before becoming pastry chef at db Bistro Moderne in Manhattan. He worked under AC again at A Voce before moving on to Daniel.

Obviously, expectations were extremely high and they delivered a flawless meal that was first class all the way.

This was a meal of the year caliber performance.

Big thanks to the Dutch Boys, their kitchen crew, the sommelier, general manager and servers for a very special and classy night. And to all of the guinea pigs for your continued interest and support.

The outside patio at The Dutch is one of my favorite spots in town.

Ravenous guinea pigs.

The Sommelier did a very nice job pairing eight wines with the diverse dishes.

Stellar Bay - nasturtium granite, meyer lemon, roasted tomato oil, celery. Conor's riff on a bloody mary was a wonderful start. The oyster was pristine and the flavors of the accompaniments really enhanced it.

Eggs on Eggs - deviled farce, black bowfin. A generous amount of caviar paired with a smooth egg resulted in a balanced and tasty dish.

Asparagus - white, green, spring peas, pickled ramps, buttermilk panna cotta, smoked trout roe, crispy quinoa. There were a lot of good things going on with this dish from the flavors and textures to the freshness and plating.

Chokes - roast and poached artichoke, sunchoke, hearts of palm, green almond, goats milk yogurt, chive blossom, leek ash. I like artichokes. I liked this dish. A lot.

Porcini - roast porcini and morel, sautéed ramp greens, charred corn, popcorn grits, pecorino ginepro. I didn't want to finish this dish because I was enjoying it too much. The popcorn grits were really special and the pairings really worked well together. Great flavors and textures here too.

A Dish From the Sea - New Zealand langoustine, king crab, uni, scallop, golden paddlefish, Chinese osetra, dashi, variations of seaweed, sea foam. This dish gets the hype of the night award because my buddy Steve and I we were really looking forward to it as soon as we saw the menu. It contained all of my favorites from the sea. Conor respected the freshness and quality and served them raw.   

Foie - creamy custard, truffle, sauterne gelee, pickled shallot, fresh summer truffle. I love foie and truffles and brioche. So I smiled widely when the personal jar full of creamy foie was placed in front of me. Perfect. Fantastic.

Lamb (Australian) - roast saddle, crispy lamb brik, runny yolk, olive, peppers, tomato, sweet harissa glaze. This duo of lamb was cooked perfectly and had some great overall flavors.

Cheese - taleggio soufflé, port reduction, local strawberries, black peppercorn. Josh transitioned us from savory to sweet with a very nice cheese soufflé.

Semifredo - lemon thyme, caramel bacon glaze, blueberry compote. I'm a big fan of Josh's desserts and this one didn't disappoint. Caramel bacon glaze!!!

And a tasty Bon Bon to end a wonderful night.

White Chocolate a la Gripper to go.

2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 938-3111

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