I went to a Burgundy "Insight" dinner last night.
The first course was "orange-yuzu marinated sea scallop, kushi oyster, pickled buddha's hand lemon, shiso oil, sea lettuce, chayote". Honestly, what a mess. The dish was basically three slices of scallops with a little chopped oyster, and then a second slice of scallop placed on top. The dish had too much going on, and there was no real distinct harmony of flavor, or rather no distinct flavors at all. A touch of sea salt would have been greatly utilized. I am just getting over a cold, so perhaps my taste buds are still supressed. That said, the other problem with the dish was the mediocre quality of the scallops. They did not possess that wonderful sweet, brininess that a truly fresh sea scallop has, and were more of a texture with a hint of orange marinade. Not so appealing. The wines paired with this course were a 2002 Domaine Jobard Bourgogne Blanc, which I felt went quite well with the dish, in theory, and an 08 Domaine Jobard Meursalt 1er Cru "Genevriéres", which I found a wonderful nutty quality to that would have paired excellently with high quality sea scallops.
Next dish was "black truffle studded sweetbread, celery confit, black trumpet mushroom, parsley root, spinach subric, Périgueux Sauce". This was nice, though you could hardly call the sweetbreads "black truffle studded", and they were a touch overcooked for my taste. In fact, whenever I've eaten sweetbreads in NY restaurants, I've felt they are overcooked, but perhaps I am just in favor of them cooked a bit under. The mushrooms were great, the parsley puree went well on the sweetbreads, and the "subric" (which is like a little cubed custard of spinach) was not really seasoned well. The wines with this were a 2007 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet, which I did not enjoy as much as I had expected to, and a Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru "Champs Gain" 2001, which had a nose like stinky cheese and was delicious. I preferred this to the Leflaive, which was probably too young and ultimately a let down.
Third course was "pumpkin seed and speck ham crusted monkfish, caramelized endive, jerusalem artichoke, doppelbock beer jus". This was pretty good, and probably my favorite dish of the night. The monkfish was cooked perfectly and actually tasted like monkfish (I had a bacon-wrapped presentation of monkfish at Per Se which was overpowered, and tasted like nothing) This was balanced quite well, though the Japanese woman sitting to my left did not care for the combination of ham and fish, and I can understand why. However, the smokiness and richness of the speck helped to balance the subtle sweetness of the fish, and gave it a very rich, savory essence which allowed it to be paired well with such a rich jus and also 2 red wines. My only complaint was that someones hand was a bit too heavy with placing the micro-red amaranth on top of the fish, and it got stuck in my teeth on a few bites. With this was Domaine Cathiard Chambolle Musigny "Les Clos de L'Orme" 2000 and Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg Echézeau Grand Cru 1994. The '94 was the better of the two.
Then cheese, which was a Tomme de Savoie Fermiére, 18 month Comté (very nice), Epoisses. They served some very sad watercress with this and three grapes on the vine. The raisin bread also was not very good, and I can buy better from my bakery. With these was a Domaine Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru "Clos de Mouches" 1999 and Maison Jadot Pommard 1er Cru "Pezerolles" 1999. I can't remember anything about either of these.
They didn't serve dessert. Honestly, this was probably the worst dinner in terms of both food, wine and presentation. It was not nearly as insightful as the title would have suggested. Boulud is over at the Bocuse d'Or and I guess has better things to worry about.