Saturday, March 07, 2015

Secret Location

March 7, 2015


Lamb Duo: Lamb belly and lamb loin with turmeric and lentil puree, dried lemon foam, potato pave and potato chips - 3

J's comment > incredible flavors and technique! absolutely floored w this dish! lamb was perfectly tender throughout, not chewy at all in the slightest; turmeric and lentil puree was a refreshing deviation from the standard lamb + lamb jus-of-some-sort; puree was creamy w good balance of both turmeric and lentil flavors; potatoes perfect of course, chips completely crisp and pave lightly crisped on the outside and soft in the center;

FYI, note the duality of this dish? Protein: lamb belly & lamb loin, Sauce: turmeric & lentil, Starch: chip and pave;

And the colors!! A beautiful palate of yellow

Olovieah Salad: Egg salad with tarragon and cilantro, sous-vide chicken, freeze-dried corn and peas, crispy chicken skin - 3

J's comment > OMG... seriously the best chicken salad I have ever had! Chicken was perfectly tender w the perfect balance amt of egg; loved the bits of chicken skin that stayed crispy despite the moisture from the other ingredients in the salad, really it was better than bacon bits (*gasp!*) no, really it was

Bread Salad: Crumbled bread with mint/tarragon/parsley, shaved walnuts, persian cucumber, feta powder - 2+

J's comment > another win for the salad team; another unusual flavor and texture pairing; bread bits were soft but firm enough that it wasn't just mush; loved the feta (I think there were actual chunks of it in the salad, and not just a sprinkle of powder

Halva and Foie: Aerated foie gras, sesame paste, candied almonds, dried figs - 2+

J's comment > as a lover of foie gras, this was no exception to my collection of beloved foies; nonetheless, this version of aerated foie definitely earned its chops (haha); the sesame paste gave the foie an extra oomph; excellent ratio and portion of the candied almonds and dried figs, neither of which were too sweet, but contrasted just enough w the savory foie to enhance each others' flavors

Koo Koo Sabzi and Sablefish: Saffron, pistachio, mint, tarragon, bar berries and egg mixture with sunchoke puree and chips, pan-seared sablefish - 2

J's comment > not bad; beautifully cooked fish; koo koo sabzi (the cube) was intriguing, a touch of sour note ( probably from the berries), a bit stiff for my liking

Romaine and Gastrique: Romaine ice, condensed romaine hearts, apple cider vinegar gastrique - 2

J's comment > not bad; very crisp and juicy (yes juicy!) romaine hearts; apple cider vinegar made this amuse insanely fresh

Kaskea Badem Joon: Eggplant/ kashkea puree in a gluten-free pita - 2

J's comment > not bad; very creamy puree in the crisp pita chip; loved the play on an otherwise avg 'pita + dip' scenario

Squab and Pomegranate: Squab breast with pomegranate/walnut puree, kale chips, shaved walnuts - 2

J's comment > a decently cooked piece of squab breast, tender and juicy; not dry or stringy in the least like the Asian roasted squab version (I always eat around the breast and try to grab the leg instead); this was reminiscent of duck actually (well they are both fowl...);  flavors OK; tartness of the pomegranate and the nuttiness of the walnut didn't work as well as I think it sounds in theory;

FYI, I'd much rather have this one bite of tasty squab than the half squab from 3 star Michelin resto Jean-Georges in NYC (I'm still confused why it has 3 stars...)

Octopus and Eggplant Puree: Octopus a la plancha, tomato/eggplant marmelade, burnt eggplant/squid ink/garlic puree, squid ink/rice cracker (round 2) - 2

J's comment > see comment on octopus first below and come back to this one;

lobster cooked perfectly, but didn't go as well with the flavors as octopus should; FYI, I wonder why/how Secret Location had some spare lobster lying around since the other dishes didn't have lobster in them

Octopus and Eggplant Puree: Octopus a la plancha, tomato/eggplant marmelade, burnt eggplant/squid ink/garlic puree, squid ink/rice cracker (round 1) - 2

J's comment > octopus was dry and overcooked, a bit stringy; puree OK; quite disappointed in this, after all, this is Secret Location, and there are standards to maintain; we sent the octopus dish back and got the lobster above (I suspect something went wrong w the octopus station in the kitchen...);

Mini Rant
Sadly, service was chaotic tonight. After the foie dish (5 out of 11) we waited half an hour for this octopus dish, only to be disappointed w the sub-par quality. After sending the octopus back, the lobster version took another 30 mins, so that's 1 hr for the same dish (technically) that were both less than stellar. My partner and I almost, almost walked out, but were glad we didn't as we were phenomenally impressed w the following dishes, esp the lamb. The Lamb!

Rice Pudding and Sorbet: Rice pudding w toasted pistachios and quince sorbet - 2

J's comment > not bad; very good flavors, mild rice notes w a good crunch from the saffron chips and a bit of tartness from the quince sorbet; rice pudding wasn't too mushy either, w actual grains of rice still plump and in whole form; my dining partner who hates rice pudding actually didn't mind this version; I was more impressed w the saffron from the saffron chips that didn't bother me as it usually would (not a fan of saffron)

Akbar Mashti Ice Cream Sandwich: Saffron/rosewater/pistachio ice cream served as a sandwich - 2

J's comment > not bad; another strong saffron flavored dessert, another exception of saffron that I actually didn't mind; great melding of the rosewater and pistachio flavors to the saffron; a decent ice cream sandwich, but I generally like every other dessert before ice cream

Complimentary drink #1 - 2

J's comment > not bad; lovely fizz and rose water; most memorable item was actually the ice chips which were the perfect nibblet sizes; excellent attention to detail 

Complimentary drink #1 - 2

J's comment > didn't remember much of this one but it was OK

Complimentary drink #3 - 2

J's comment > a very jammy Pinot Noir; FYI, these were on the house 
to apologize for the 1 hr wait 

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Extra Comment

Secret Location is running a 'Dining Journey' from January 5th to March 21st, showcasing/featuring Spain, Italy, France, Asia, Persia, and South America cuisines (each cuisine taking center stage for two weeks). 10 courses for $95 per person, including paired drinks. FYI, the last two drinks on this post were not included in the $95. More info @ www.secretlocation.ca/journey

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Labels: event, gastown, moderniste cuisine, tapas

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