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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Michael Solomonov at snackbar

The continuing guest chef series at snackbar picked back up this month with Michael Solomonov, until recently chef at Marigold Kitchen, but now devoting himself to his upcoming restaurant Zahav.

We're thankful that he could make a little time in his chaotic schedule for this special dinner, which might have given a hint of some of the ideas to be explored at Zahav. If so, we're looking forward to his new place, as these dishes were delicious, and refreshingly different.

1. falafel. tehina soup. parsley versa.

Of course, this dish evoked the flavors of a classic falafel sandwich, expressed in different textures. The tehina soup was smooth and nutty, the falafel, crunchy, the parsley, airy. We had a little structural trouble with this dish, more than once, as one of us would try to chop a chunk of falafel with a spoon, we'd send a piece of it flying across the table, carrying some soup along with it. You'd think we would have learned after the first time... What we managed to get into our mouths tasted pretty good!

2. lamb tartare. truffled labneh. maluach.

This was one of the favorite courses around our table. We could eat that truffled yogurt all day, and the tender mince of lamb and chewy bread harmonized beautifully with it.

3. mackerel. preserved curry banana. chervil/carrot.

We're still a little baffled about why we liked this as much as we did: it's a pretty whacky combination of flavors, but it really worked.

4. lobster and ribeye roulade. fennel purée. chorizo consomme.

We were commenting that steak and lobster is often thrown together purely for the sake of luxurious excess, but in this case, the combination was really appropriate, the roulade combining the tastes and contrasts in mouthfeel in a delightful way. The licorice-y purée melding with the chorizo broth really tied it together, accenting each element in a different, yet complimentary way.

5. cashel blue marble. quince spheres. white chocolate.

We liked this cheese, loved the concept of the quince spheres, but in practice, didn't like them at all. We have to wonder if there could be some variation in the concentrations of the mysterious fluids employed in the spherification process, because snackbar chef Johnny Mac insisted that they loved these back in the kitchen. But the consensus around our table was that they didn't taste like anything. So, we'd have a mouthful of intense cheese, and then a sudden explosion of...water... We just weren't getting the slightest hint of membrillo, just disconcerting undifferentiated fluid. Cool idea, didn't quite work for us.

6. halvah semifreddo. salted toffee. pomegranate. kumquats.

(we also had a variation substituting marshmallow for the semifreddo)

Tangy fruity, creamy, nutty, salty. What could be bad about that? This was a tasty, and appropriate end to this enjoyable, unusual and interesting meal.

Each course was paired with beer, which worked really well.

Thanks to chef Solomonov for doing it, and to both Jonathans at snackbar for making it happen. We're totally looking forward to the next guest chef. And no, we're not telling you who that is. At least not until we're sure our table is reserved!

1 comment:

  1. I love, love your blog! Your photos and words are amazing! Keep it up- my blog is humbled. :)