Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dinner at Blue by Eric Ripert

Back in my entry on my first day on Grand Cayman, I mentioned a wonderful dinner at Blue by Eric Ripert, Ripert's restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.  I promised a more complete write-up of that meal, and I'm finally here to deliver on that promise.

The restaurant offers three dining options:  two tasting menus and an a la carte option in which you essentially create your own mini tasting menu.  Given only one visit to the place, which is what I thought I would be making when I ordered this meal, to me the only choice is the Eric Ripert tasting menu.

Click an image to see a larger version.

This menu offers the most courses, and it is also the only one that features Tuna-Foie Gras, Ripert's signature dish from Le Bernardin, his flagship New York City restaurant.

Before starting that menu, however, I opted for the caviar addition.  Over the last several years, I've learned that I very much like caviar--as long as it's very good caviar.  As you might expect from Ripert, the caviar his restaurants serve is quite delicious.  

The little mother-of-pearl implements were both pretty and just the right size for assembling blinis covered in caviar.

The caviar presentation was lovely, and all of the accompaniments were delightful.

The caviar remained the star of the show, but pairing it with the various options enhanced its flavor beautifully.

Before the menu officially began, as is the custom in so many high-end restaurants, the chefs sent some tasty nibbles to the table.

Each of these combined seafood with other delights, from fruit to a rich fritter.

This bit of mahi (I think) crudo was sweet and wonderful.

The menu proper began with the tuna-foie dish I mentioned earlier.

This composition is one of the great all-time dishes.  About as thick as a piece of cardboard, it consists of an incredibly thin slice of baguette with a spread of foie gras on it and a paper-thin layer of tuna above it all.  Oil, chives, and salt cover the whole thing.  However odd it may sound, its taste is astonishingly good, rich and flavorful and not in the slightest bit fishy.

Up next was the shrimp tartare, one of the better shrimp presentations I've ever tasted.

What followed it, though, was so good that I quickly forgot the shrimp.  The scallop dish, which managed to include turnips, something I rarely enjoy, and to make me like them, may be the best scallop I have ever tasted.

Rich and evocative of both the sea and, thanks to the maitake mushrooms, the woods, this course was so very good that I was on the edge of licking clean the shell on which it came.

The halibut, striped bass, and monkfish dishes were all exceptional presentations of fish, each one flavorful and progressively richer than the one before it.

The monkfish satisfyingly held down the spot where a meat would appear in a traditional tasting menu. 

Lest anyone go home hungry, the chefs prefaced dessert with, well, another dessert, this one a rich chocolate treat.

The final and official dessert, "Caramel," delivered a delightful combination of sweet, rich, and clean tastes.

Sorry about the poor shot.

I have to confess that the last dessert was not the last sweet they served.  Before they brought the check, they served a plate with three small mignardises, all of which were delicious.

After the check, they presented this lovely folded box

in which sat two perfect chocolate macaroons--which taste as good as they look.

Yes, at Blue, as at many great French restaurants, nothing says dessert like excess.

I've never had the chance to eat at Le Bernardin, though I hope one day to do so.  Until that day, a dinner at Blue by Eric Ripert is both as close to that experience as one can come without being in New York and an absolutely wonderful experience in its own right.  I'm already looking forward to the next time I can eat there.

No comments:


Blog Archive