Sunday, March 07, 2010

Haute and Hauter - Part III

Fifth Floor San FranciscoI was back at the Fifth Floor in San Francisco for a taste of Jennie Lorenzo's New American cuisine, a change from the French inspired creations on the menu until last year. Simpler sauces, fresh veggies and...well, not very unlike New French cuisine that's the rage in Paris.

Amuse bouche at Fifth FloorThe crudo - raw is in vogue now - of tuna was pretty good and the transparent green caviar that came on it burst and crackled delightfully in the palate. The zest provided by gratings of Buddha's hand - an unique citrius fruit I only learnt of recently.

Crudo at Fifth FloorThe pork belly was superb and different from last time's presentation. This dish was prepared with brussels sprouts, fennel, cauliflower and truffle sauce. Absolutely lip-smacking!

Pork Belly at Fifth FloorDuck was good too. Today's presentation was of seared duck breast marinated in sake with Savoy cabbage, braised duck leg and spiced oil with a hint of citrus.

The duck at Fifth FloorDuring my last visit to Paris, I realized that French chefs have been experimenting with veggies in earnest and cooking with a lighter hand than ever before. Alain Passard at L'Arpege and Yannick Alleno of Le Meurice are two examples of this trend. Alleno, who recieved his third star only this year, is known for his light touch, teasing out flavors from fresh meat, fish and greens at his opulent restaurant on Rue de Rivoli near Place de la Concorde.

Back to my dinner at the Fifth Floor. The soup which had materialized in front of me had elements of Waldorf salad but in a steaming walnut-pine cream concoction. The fruit slices contrasted nicely with the warm soup in my mouth.

Hot soup at Fifth FloorThe stuffed chicken was another winner with a perfect balance of creativity, taste and presentation. It comprised of leeks soubise, pine-nut, arugula among other things.

Stuffed chicken at Fifth FloorI also loved the fried doughnuts with ice-cream. The doughnuts tasted like Indian Gujiya which is widely served during the Indian festival of colors, Holi.

Fried doughnuts at Fifth Floor
The bar at Fifth FloorThe Fifth Floor continues to delight, even as its menu has evolved. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere during the evenings. Their breads are stand-outs too and their wine menu is extensive. Finally, we are beginning to see more and more creative women take up the Executive Chef's hat in Haute California and I am hoping this trend will show up in France too!

Prev Post in this series: Haute in California.

PS: You can find my other visits to the Fifth Floor here and here.


Rohit Khurana said...

tempting :)

Karthik Sankar said...

Absolutely delightful. Fried doughnuts with ice cream, take the rough with the smooth. Superb!!!

Karthik Sankar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karthik Sankar said...

I have always wanted to ask you this :) How do you manage to stay fit inspite of trying out such rich food? If there is some secret fitness routine please mail it to me :)

Shantanu said...

@Rohit: Thanks to my new camera, I guess!

@Karthik: Ha, ha! Well, the only times I indulge, I blog about it. The rest of the times, I stick to healthy food. :)