Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Michael Voltaggio exits the Langham's Dining Room with a "double rainbow, all the way"
Bloggers, critics, fans and "foodies" have tried to wrap words around Michael Voltaggio's cuisine. But the only way to truly illustrate his last dinner service at the Dining Room at the Langham is as the culinary iteration of Yosemite Bear's Double Rainbow.
Throughout the night, I watched my boyfriend melt into his oversize chair, slinking down as he made sounds I've never been able to coax out of him. At points I was almost jealous of the taste-gasm that chef Voltaggio was inducing on my man. He just kept whispering, “Oh my god, oh my god!”
The beginning of the end was an amuse bouche of a gougère--which exploded with caviar cream under the weight of my incisors--paired with a tomato lolly that complimented the salinity perfectly. Then there was the futuristic twist on a French classic –- a strawberry yuzu foie gras terrine with arugula sponge cake and minus-8 degree balsamic spheres. “It’s too much!’ Aaron and I both exclaimed, attempting to remain collected as we gushed in the middle of the staid dining room. Then came the Thai-style halibut cheeks with coconut rice, leeks and red curry sauce that took me straight back to Southeast Asia. The fish was so delicate, but the flavor…“It’s so intense!” And then there was the complex, fatty Kurobuta pork belly with bok choi kim chi, sweet potato preserves and peanut butter powder paired with a Japanese ginger beer, which served as Scrubbing Bubbles for the palate.
The Dining Room sang harmonious "oohs" and "aahs" as black-clad servers shuffled dishes to a packed house. Josh Goldman, sommelier and general manager, rocked out unconventional wine, beer and cocktail pairings, taking Voltaggio’s dishes to another level. The pastrami pigeon, for example, worked perfectly with the Duchesse De Bourgogne, a sour cherry-tasting red ale from Belgium.
Just when Aaron was about to start weeping, it was time for dessert. A clever and colorful potted carrot cake sorbet; an island-style deconstructed baba au rhum; and an array of handmade candies that boasted elements like crackling Pop Rocks and edible wrappers sent us into orbit. Voltaggio pulled out the entire spectrum of sensations, compositions and colors from start to finish.
The meal was a cerebral copulation that left me feeling stimulated and satisfied. I don't smoke, but I could've sucked on a cigarette. YosemiteBear would call it a "double rainbow, all the way!". I call it genius.
During their stint at the Dining Room, Goldman and Voltaggio worked as a dynamic duo, feeding off of each others' creative energy and seemingly innate knowledge of taste. The two will team up on Voltaggio's upcoming venture which he hopes to open by the end of this year. But "what does it mean?" Voltaggio has been pretty tight-lipped about his plans, but I can't wait to hear more about what's next. Something tells me it could “almost be a TRI PLE RAINBOW!”
For my Flickr gallery of the meal, click here>> For a few shots of the afteparty and send off, check out KevinEats.