Monday, August 25, 2014

Cobaya Danny Grant @ 1826 Restaurant & Lounge 8.20.14

News Flash - Chef Danny Grant is a junkie. A truffle junkie. And he needed his fix. Frank Brunacci of The Truffle & Wine Co. had his cure. Danny loves to eat truffles, loves to cook with truffles and loves to serve truffles. He was eager to get into the Cobaya Kitchen again after participating in the outstanding collaborative Cobayapalooza  dinner last month. He wanted to incorporate Frank's excellent Australian Perigord Black Truffles and prepare an "epic" truffle dinner for the guinea pigs at his fairly new restaurant 1826 .

When I heard the news that chef Danny Grant was opening a new restaurant on South Beach I was very excited. I recalled seeing him named Best New Chef for 2012 by Food and Wine Magazine. A publication that does a great job identifying rising stars.  Further investigation revealed that he was the youngest US Chef  to earn Two Michelin Stars in 2011 and 2012 while running the kitchen at Ria in Chicago. He also earned four-star reviews from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. The fact that he's a fellow Long Islander and a Yankee fan gave him even more respectability.

So, I had very high expectations for Cobaya 45. A super talented chef, black truffles and the free rein nature of Cobaya was a recipe for an epic night. And Danny did not disappoint. His menu showcased his ability to cook food with fantastic flavor and finesse.

I knew after my first visit to 1826 that Danny's accolades were deserved. Now, I can confidently say that he is one of the best chefs in town.

Unfortunately, I did not take any notes regarding the wine pairing. However, Sommelier Zach Gossard did a great job with the pairing and poured some very nice wines. Service was outstanding too.

Thanks to Danny and his team for an awesome night and to Frank for supplying some very impressive Australian truffles. And thanks to all the guinea pigs for your continued interest and support.

The calm before the shaving storm.

Kusshi oysters got the taste buds jumping.  Not pictured were tasty tuna tartare cornets with citrus and black truffle and potato and black truffle croquettes.

Amuse of Champions - Danny started the tasting off with a wonderful duo of black truffle and foie gras dumplings paired with an aromatic ice wine consommé. I enjoyed each component of this dish and the overall flavors and texture of the dumpling set a tasty tone for the night.

Course One - Maine Sea Scallop, Black Truffle, Hakurei Turnip and Fumet Blanc.

Scallops and black truffles are a great pairing and Danny's rendition was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Danny slowly milk poached the scallops and paired them with black truffles, hakurei turnip and fumet blanc. The scallop was cooked perfectly and the dish had enjoyable flavors and textures.

Course Two - Potato and Black Truffle Salad with Cured Chicken, Foie Gras and Crispy Chicken Skin.

Black Truffles. Foie Gras. Crispy Chicken Skin. What more can I say? This was an epic potato salad.

Here, Danny blanched and marinated the potatoes in aromatic oil and dressed it with a black truffle and potato emulsion along with cured chicken, crispy chicken skin and topped with foie gras and black truffle snow.

Obviously, there were a lot of great things going on with this dish. I thoroughly enjoyed the flavors and textures along with the contrasting hot and cold elements that were noticeable with each bite.


Course Three - Wild Black Bass with Black Truffle, Lettuce and Lobster Emulsion.

This was a dynamite dish and my favorite one of the night. Finesse, flavor, balance and excellent execution. Danny's Michelin Star skills were on full display here.

The wonderful wild black bass was slowly steamed with black truffle shingles and concentrated tomatoes and paired with a romaine tagliolini which was dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon. Danny garnished the dish with two terrific sauces, a shellfish truffle cream and a lobster emulsion.

Course Four - Wagyu Strip with Black Truffle, Chanterelles and Bone Marrow.

Meat and potatoes on steroids.

The tender Wagyu was brushed and rested in beef butter and paired with truffled pomme puree, black truffle Madeira jus, bone marrow and chanterelles that were roasted with butter and lime. The dish was topped with generous amounts of black truffles that were shaved table side. This was a decadent treat and another winner. A definite crowd-pleaser.

Course Five - Brillat-Savarin cheese with Fig, Black Truffle, Honey.

Brillat-Savarin cheese was studded with truffles and garnished with honey fig compote, sea salt and topped with a crispy brick pastry and mache salad. This was a great combination and a perfect transition from savory to sweet.

Course Six - Chocolate Ganache with Almond, Sable Breton and Black Truffle Milkshake.

I enjoyed the chocolate ganache and the crushed Sable Breton and the almond candied cocoa nibs BUT the malted black truffle shake stole the show. It was an incredible end to an epic meal.

Danny had epic aspirations for this meal and he delivered a truly exceptional Cobaya Dinner.

Danny is clearly one of the most talented chefs in town. Go pay him a visit at 1826 Collins.

1826 Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

1826 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL  
(305) 763-8860   


non sequitur said...

God that looks awesome. I never pull the trigger on Cobaya because you never know if you are going to be eating bugs or truffles. This was the latter, and I have the regrets.

The Chowfather said...

Non, pull the trigger. We are adventurous but not about bugs and gross out food. It's all about great food.