March 5, 2010

Marc Forgione

Amuse Trio

Veal Cheek and Bone Marrow (SO GOOD)

Get In There!

The Deep Fried Halibut Bone is Edible!


Have you had one too many WTF (Where's The Food) moments when you are brought the  plate? Does seeing another "deconstructed blah blah blah" make you want to smash something expensive? Do you ever find the most memorable part of a meal being the exorbitant cost? If so, then you need to check yourself in to Marc Forgione for some legit, no BS upscale dining.

I decided to experience the anti-fluff restaurant with my fellow MAIP alum "I," who I haven't seen since our wonderfully carefree summer-interning days. We were served straightforward, hearty, vibrant food that had a lot of edge and character on plates that were not made for dainty picking. It makes you want (in the words of my motivated friend P) to get in there, experience the out-of-this-world flavors, and then reflect.

The bone marrow and veal cheeks appetizer was a model example; I resonated the most with this dish. Digging through the bone (butter knife working better than the spoon) for that buttery, rich morsel of fatty goodness takes me back to one of my favorite childhood eating memories. Back then, I had nothing but a single chopstick, a knuckle-sized cut of bone (beef stew remains), and the determination to scrape out every last globule from its crevice.

Bone marrow was a rare treat; a challenge—whether it be physical or mental—and still is today. For some, it's a down right confrontation. The "Don't F with me" stance makes it daunting to tackle, but once you get over the X-factor, a foie-gras-esque bliss will be waiting for you. This is one delicacy that really makes you work for it.

In contrast, the veal cheek was very easygoing. The sublimely tender beef simply laid leisurely on the plate like a Swedish model in St. Tropez. After the first bite, the sweet and salty shreds of meat just completely melted in my mouth. It almost makes filet mignon seem tough. I thought that the juxtaposition of the two elements—veal cheek and bone marrow—was smartly done. One embodied hard work and dedication, whereas the other embraced living easy, but both were equally as delicious. It made the experience all the more stimulating.

Another good idea from Chef Forgione came in the form of a (sharable) Whole Roasted Baby Halibut. The fish was from Maine Halibut Farms, a sustainable aquaculture project by University of Maine's Center of Cooperative Aquaculture Research. The project's aim is to bring halibut farming closer to a commercial reality. With wild stocks depleting at a shocking rate across the world, this forward-looking study will hopefully produce a viable alternative source of eco-friendly fish. According to Chef Forgione, his restaurant is the first in the country to take advantage of this product. Kudos to that!

Further props should be given to the execution of the dish. The halibut was very delicious; the meat was firm, lean and flaked off in large chunks. The cauliflower puree, crushed hazelnuts, and sweet dried grapes complimented the otherwise light taste very well. Chef Forgione even came over himself to the drizzle the sauce over the fish! My favorite part about this dish was, actually, the bones. No joke! The entire spinal cord and all of the long, thin bones that branched from the spine were deep fried until they became edible. Crunchy, salty and lightly fish-flavored, I'd choose these over potato chips any day.

These were just two of several great dishes that were served. If I had to sum up the experience in one thought, I would have to say that this restaurant nails "progressive" down without veering into trendy-land. Like my friend M, who was the first to rave and recommend this place to me last year, I could go over and over again.

Entire Dinner Overview...

Homemade Potato Bread Rolls: You might know my stance on restaurant bread. Well, this bread gets an A in my book.

Surprise Trio Amuse Bouche: Ribeye tartare on crostini (lemony and smooth), spicy salad with crispy pork rind, and Olde Salt Oyster shooter (totally amazing).

Bone Marrow with Veal Cheek: if this is ever the special appetizer or on the regular menu, it's a MUST try. 

Whole Roasted Baby Halibut with Cauliflower Puree, Crushed Hazelnuts, Sauce "Proposal": I think the "Proposal" means that the Chef will come out and drizzle the sauce over the fish for you... very cool.

Beer, Bacon & Butter Braised Suckling Pig with Spiced Red Cabbage, Smoke Whipped Potatoes: You get the option of having it whole or shredded. I (not me, but my friend I) wanted it shredded, so that's what we ordered. Chef Forgione gave us the helpful hint of eating them like sliders (with the potato bread rolls). Super tasty. 

Complimentary Trio of Homemade Fruit Sorbets: The Meyer lemon sorbet was the most intense and intriguing. Blood orange sorbet was citrusy and sweet. Grapefruit sorbet was surprisingly mild (compared to Nice Matin's).

More pics can be found here.


Zhenfan said...

Yum! I want go this place.

Anne D. said...

So. good. I had the baby halibut and the olde salt oyster for my bday and both were fantastic. The tasting menu started out innocently enough but we were really full by the end. Thanks again for the rec!

Post a Comment