Lasarte**—Hues and Curves

Posted on 2012/01/17

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It is 2 minutes walk away from Antoni Gaudi’s famous Casa Batlló, located the Lasarte, where hues and curves has been woven into a chromatic fantasy, a flowing miracular, or the mosaic-decorated facade 2 minutes away.

Concise, intimate, and smart elegant this 2 star holding of renowed Chef Martín Berasategui has a tiny dining room accommodated no more than 30 people. A pave-stoned inspired mural as well as a rainbow of local-ingredients-inspired plats, addressed its catalan roots and an audacious prodigy.

A lovely glass of Cava—Vi Escumos, preluded this excursion of five senses.

A series of Amuse Bouche features pamplaimousse stuffed olives, foie gras crunchy, a nice warm up.

Caramelized “mille-feuilles” of green apple, foie gras and smoked eel 

This dish reminds me of a very similar version from Joel Robuchon(new York), where foie gras was cuit and eel was glaced with a sweet sauce. I love this composition immensely, the catalan smoked eel had an inimitable rich flavor and copious texture, the sweetness came respectively from caramelized topping and green apple, nature acidity of the latter compensated the fattiness from eel and liver. A spectrum of varieties in terms of texture and of savors, was enrobed in a miniature of mille-feuille.

Anchovies, black truffle, figs and mustard

Probably one of the most aesthetic plate of the meal, beneath splashes of black truffle snuggled a strip of anchois, dotted with slices of figs and leafs, a smart play of salty and sweet taste.

Red tuna tartare with curd cucumber

I have to admit that the texture of this tartare didn’t fall into the range of my preference, a little bit slack. Especially when the tomato and caviar brings in spininess and sharpness, it almost became messy swarm.

Smoked oyster on the grill, steamed spinaches to sesame, and crispy tubers, caviar irani 

A degustation menu is a comparable experiences to David Lynch’s film, you never know when comes the pinnacle, you never recognize when it came. The best of the meal arrived as early as the 4 th course, this fabulously grilled oyster, tender and spiny, with crumbles of sesame, creamy, crispy, all are presented in a incredible harmony. And noticeably, a sense of smoke was evoked when it arrived—a magical prologue.

Photos of the meal on FLICKR

Salad of vegetables, herbs, sprouts and petals with lettuce cream, iodised jus and lobster

 

Warm red prawn, sea urchin cream, ewe’s milk caviar and almonds

 

Farmhouse egg with beetroot and liquidised herb salad, Basque “cocido” carpaccio and smoked cheese

 

Low-temperature cooked monkfish on a bed of bacon and parmesan cream, goose barnacles and cauliflower couscous

 


Roast pigeon rested on a creamy stew of durum wheat, touch of truffled potato and spicy sauce 

 

Celery and green apple soup, ice yoghurt, small pineapple minestrone and curd lemon cream 

 

Pain perdu with frozen coffee crème and plum compote

 

Petit fours

Echos:

This meal was actually within the same week that I dined at L’Ambroisie, the ghost of which has still been haunting over my mind. Lasarte, kind of wild but genuine , simple but full of sensuous delight, steered me to an adventure of pure pleasure. If L’Ambroisie somewhat create the food dedicated to mind, this is something for body, for sensation, where the wild imagination has been translated into spectacular spectacles by creativity.

This comparison could be well illustrated by that of Apollo and Dionysus. Moments of euphoria are brought sometimes by order, reason and related to power of mind, in other occasions, emotions, sensuality. Nevertheless, there’s no inherent superiority between the two, which show nothing more the contrast. As in L’Ambroisie and Lasarte, the two elaborate but disparate approaches towards ultimate gourmet enjoyment.