Saturday, February 2, 2008

I have been to the Dining at the Ritz twice now. It is one of my favorite restaurants because I love Ron Siegel as the chef. After watching his amazing battle on Iron Chef, a LOBSTER battle too, I have always wanted to experience his divine culinary skills. I only have the pictures of my most recent visit. The best thing is that he has always been there when I went, so you know that he is in the back working hard to perfect his dishes before they come out to you. Service is always impeccable at the Ritz as well, which adds to the whole experience.

The first time I came here the menu was a lot different, there were 3-course prefixes at a very reasonable price. This time around they eliminated that option but the pricing remained around at what the 3-course prefix menu would be. Alas, my sister and I can never control ourselves and opted for the Chef's tasting menu as we did the year before. Ron Siegel never disappoints me in flavor, taste, presentation, nor style. Last year we had the 9-course tasting menu and they offered to make us 18 different courses so that we may enjoy the wide range of his culinary genius. It was spectacular! If only I started taking pictures to display here.

As for this current visit there was a set Chef's tasting menu, but there were a few things I didn't prefer to try and asked to substitute. The staff was more than generous and willing to comply, which makes them even better in my book because they truly are there to make your dining experience as enjoyable as possible.
Our amuse-bouche came a little out of order, but they were all delicious. They had the same Ecoli-free spinach morsel that we loved! They actually forgot to give us this at the beginning, so we asked for it later on. The amuse-bouche that they gave us was a delectable tuna topped off with foam. Then they brought out the cutest and best amuse bouche. At first I thought it was Cinderella's glass slipper, but it was a glass egg. It was wrapped with saran wrap that had a small hole covered by the spoon because the egg was filled with applewood smoke. So once you remove the spoon the aroma will seep out. Atop the plastic was a quail egg, crispy buttery bread chips, & caviar. I thought the dish was very inventive and unique. Truly a memorable amuse bouche!

Next came the amazing first course. The presentation was impeccable! I video-recorded the entire thing because I found it truly intriguing. We had Sashimi of Live Spot Prawns, which came with an awesome yuzu gelée, fresh wasabi, and the crispy heads. The prawns were very fresh, but what made the dish is presentation and the accompaniments. They grounded fresh wasabi at the table, along with mixing the sauces at the table. This will definitely be one of the most memorable courses I have had and probably won't see again as chefs always change their menus.
I asked for a different second course because I hate tuna and got the Sashimi of Kampachi served with cucumber, radish, yuzu gelée, & lemon argumata oil. My sister had the Big Eye Tuna Sashimi served with avocado, dungeness crab, oyster plant, & goden osetra caviar. Even though I am not a big tuna fan, I do think the presentation was beautiful and tasted great.
As I have said, lobster is why I love this chef and also why I ordered the tasting menu again. The third course was Maine Lobster prepared with red torpedo onions, daikon, musquee de provence squash, & black truffle lobster sauce. What can be a more heavenly combo than lobster and truffle! The lobster was cooked to perfection! Presentation was exquisite! It was so tender and juicy that the thought of the dish makes me drool. Ron Siegel is a true culinary master of lobster!
The fourth course was Atlantic Skate Wing with curry oil. This dish was good but the fluidity was missing. I think the skate was cooked nicely, crispy yet tender. I didn't like the curry flavor and sauce with the skate, but that could just be personal preference.
I substituted my fifth course for the Chilled Foie Gras with quince paste, almonds, port syrup, & grilled bread. All I have to say is that he is a pure genius! I usually hate terrine style foie gras. This dish truly is foie gras de goose and not canard. It melted in my mouth! I was in cloud nine. When I was in Paris last summer I bought a lot of high-end foie gras and none of them can match up to what I had here. When I come back to the Dining this year, I will definitely order this dish if it is still there. My sister had the Quail with carrots & celery. To my surprise, I actually really liked this dish. We both really enjoyed this dish because the quail was grilled and flavored to perfection.
For the fifth course we had the Veal Tenderloin served with sweetbread, mushrooms, & port reduction. This was my least favorite dish. I don't usually eat veal, but I felt bad for substituting almost the entire tasting menu so I kept this dish. I think the meat was a little tough. The flavor was good and presentation was very nice, but I wouldn't recommend this dish.

The pallette cleanser was a Meyer Lemon Sorbet on a huckleberry cloud and tangerine segment. Both my sister and I substituted the dessert because it was a composition of fall fruits. Lets just say we both aren't big fruit fans. I was delighted with my cheese plate substitution and my sister ordered the Chocolate Manjari Caramel cake served with Teccino ice cream, vanilla foam, hazelnut crisp, & maldon salt. They actually gave very generous cuts of the cheese and the cheese cart was fabulous! They gave us honeycombs and almonds. This was the first time I have eaten honeycombs and I thought it tasted superb especially with the blue cheese. It really brought out the flavor of the cheese. The chocolate dessert was very good and beautifully presented.
Next came the complimentary dessert from the pastry chef. It was quite unique. The cool and nostalgic part is that it had Pop Rocks inside, so when you ate it you would get that tingling sensation. My favorite part of my first visit was the mignardises, because they brought out an entire cart. I freely declared my love to the maître d' because when I sad I couldn't decide on which to try he said, "How about one of each." This time around they brought out a small tray. The best one was the financier. As usual, they give you a small gift when you leave. It is a chewy candy that they put in a cute small box.

You definitely need to try the Dining once in your life while Chef Ron Siegel is still there! Believe me, you will enjoy it! ^_ ~

The Dining at the Ritz

600 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 296-7465
Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Heya Kat! MMmmmmm...please remember to bring me with you whenever you make these culinary discoveries!!! Much love and respect to ya, your friend, Crazy Q (Guess who that is!)

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