Sunday, November 04, 2007

Aurora Maison de Cuisine - a Grand Tasting

Roroc took me out to one of the top restaurants in Dallas, Aurora Maison de Cuisine; super chef Avner Samuel (former Mansion Executive Chef) personally prepared our dinner. The restaurant was intimate, only 12 tables or so...the lighting was dramatic, setting off the suede walls and gorgeous wood bar - it had a very art deco feeling. The front of the restaurant was curtained off, so it was a surprise when they lifted the veil and seated us - a classic Escoffier style kitchen was brightly lit with a huge vent-a-hood in black and stainless steal over the island where the chefs worked harmoniously - it was theater-style cooking! We could see the chef and he could see us. Another detail was the large round "champagne cart" on wheels - it was a Christofle cart. The waiter immediately glided the cart over to our table when we arrived, so we could pick a glass from the five open bottles. We chose a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc champagne - it was very fine, and later we ordered a bottle. The cart was tall and round and had a glass top with a thin brass rail around the edge. In the middle was a large champagne bucket that held 5-6 bottles of champagne and ice simultaneously, and lined up in a circle around the bucket were simple champagne flutes. I dreamt about that champagne cart later that night - I've never seen anything quite like it. With each course, a gorgeous wooden box was brought to our table after our plates and utensils were removed, and fresh utensils appropriate for the next course were laid out. My favorite utensil was the petite caviar spoon that came with the caviar course.

We indulged and ordered the Aurora Grand Tasting, which is a fixed price menu. The courses were as follows:

Amuse Bouche - a velvety, savory custard served warm in an eggshell topped with whipped cream, smoked salmon, and caviar.
Prime Osetra Caviar - the caviar was served on top of a pillow of potato with a side of apple sorbet. You used the caviar spoon to build the potato and caviar onto a regular spoon, and then reached over to a pearl plate of sorbet with the caviar spoon and finished the build with a dash of sorbet. The texture and flavor were surprising - cold, not cold, salty, and sweet!
Risotto - creamy risotto served with thinly sliced white truffles from Italy - it was Roroc's first ever taste of truffle!
Langoustine de Breton - it was perfectly tender and sweet - I've never had better.
Porcini Mushroom - it was roasted and served with a veal demi-glace. Yum!
Cappuccino - lobster foam over pieces of lobster and foie gras - it was interesting.
Foie Gras - seared and served with a button of apple that had been roasted with port, and served with a port reduction. We had a bit of Sauterne dessert wine with this course - it was wonderful!
Sorbet - red grapefruit - not to sweet and oh so interesting, layered over mint and frozen pomegranate seeds - what do you do with the pomegranate seeds at a nice restaurant after you've enjoyed the juice?
Sea - seared sea bass served with rose radishes and fava beans.
Land - a veal filet served over truffle-mashed potatoes with drops of basil oil and fine vegetables
Sweet - a trio of a chocolate tart with caramelized banana, pumpkin ice cream with something sweet similar to a brownie, and my favorite, Meyer lemon pana cotta served with a single shaving of citrus infused dark chocolate. We had a bit of cognac with this course.
Petit Fours - we could hardly eat them, but they included a checkered cookie and something that reminded me of tiramisu.

Each plate was dramatically presented at the table with a lid. Two waiters would each lift them from our plates in unison to reveal the course - much to our delight!

It was a dining experience I will always remember, and a wonderful 1st anniversary!

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