Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons comments on the amuse bouche challenge twist!

on Mar 23, 2011

But if I had to choose which one to eat I again, I would go with Mike's. They were both good, and that was the only way we could choose. We were split down the middle. It came down to Wolfgang, honestly. Mike's dish with steak tartare, potato, lobster tail tempura, and chimichurri sauce was interesting because it had a lot of textures and temperatures. Cool, raw beef tartare with hot lobster tail and the spicy potatoes, which mimicked the texture of the beef. And then there were the two sauces, for me it was the two sauces, which brought it together. I didn't like the olive caramel at first, it was too sweet and kind of cloying. On it's own it didn't make sense. The beef tartare, and the savoriness of the olives, and the caramel implies that it's reduced down like you would onions to bring out those natural sugars making it sort of like a jam, which is really what it was. It was sweet, and it was sticky, and I didn't understand it when I first tasted it in relation to the rest of the dish. I thought it would be too strong. I thought it would be strange with all the textures. But when I took a bite of the potatoes, beef, and lobster with it, it totally worked. It balanced against them and enhanced their flavors. It felt right. And then the chimmichurri, which is a Latin American sauce that has a lot of garlic and parsley and chili in it, was a really good counterpoint. It added a burst of herbaceous freshness. And it was excellent. I don’t think either dish was perfect, there was a piece of Mike's that was totally bland. But when I took one bite I thought it was a smarter, more interesting bite of food. Last but not least, mazel tov on the James Beard nomination!
GS: Woo-hoo! I'm psyched. I'm actually hosting the James Beard Media/Journalism Awards this year, so I hope I get to accept one too!