A visit to bluezoo with Harry & Sandy

This dining experience took place on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Harry and Sandy have heard and read about our love for bluezoo and the wonderful staff – finally, we are able to arrange for the four of us to go there for dinner… my birthday dinner (#2) and it was especially nice!

We didn’t want to put extra burdens on the kitchen, knowing that sometimes they end up busier than anticipated (sometimes they can get slammed by conventioneers staying at the Swan and Dolphin who just wander in for dinner without advance reservations), so we planned to order off menu and split the portions. This plan went excellently!

There was two true surprises and one special request. The A5 Kobe Beef Tartare and the Duck Breast were surprises that Chef concocted for us. (If you aren’t following Chef Ryan Ratino on twitter @r_ratino, you should be… he tweeted instagram photos of both of these.) And we had asked that if they had soft shell crab, please hold a couple for us… and they did.

We all started with a cocktail. Sandy ordered a Serenity (and loved it). Harry had a Mamie Taylor at Nick’s suggestion (he liked it very much, the ginger beer was a hit). Nick had a Vieux Carre and I had One Night in Mexico.

Since this was an evening of celebration, I didn’t take copious notes, but I have a few impressions to share with you…

A5 Kobe Beef Tartare

A5 Kobe Beef Tartare

… cucumber, ponzu, yuzu, soy, mustard, szechuan peppercorn, amaranth

… cucumber, ponzu, yuzu, soy, mustard, szechuan peppercorn, amaranth

The Kobe beef was soft and tender and so very smooth. The cucumber added a nice crisp crunch. The slightly spicy topping was very good. Overall, this was light and refreshing. Harry declared it “absolutely gorgeous” (a bit of a surprise to me as it was raw beef).

Beef Short Rib, Seared Scallop, Cauliflower Puree, Light Greens

Beef Short Rib, Seared Scallop, Cauliflower Puree, Light Greens

Nick and I split a glass of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir with the short rib and scallop. This dish is always great, the scallop is perfectly cooked with a nice seared crust. Harry was very pleased with the short rib (it was well done “just how I like it”).

So far, this was the favorite of the night for our English friends and it’s a perennial favorite for the two of us.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad

This was declared excellent by everyone at the table. I think that Sandy liked having a nice salad course during dinner.

Duck Breast …  peppermint and tea infused, parsley & french sorrel foam, heirloom beans

Duck Breast … peppermint and tea infused, parsley & french sorrel foam, heirloom beans

special cocktail paired to duck breast … antiqua bianco, rhubarb biters, cucumber, marashino, gin, tonic

special cocktail paired to duck breast … antiqua bianco, rhubarb biters, cucumber, marashino, gin, tonic

This was another surprise and Paul (mixologist supreme) created a cocktail to go with the duck breast… without tasting the duck breast dish. This was an amazing pairing, I was very impressed. My serving and Nick’s serving were a bit more on the rare side (which we like) – doesn’t make a pretty picture but it tastes sooooo good. Harry’s comment “glorious”… at this point, the duck breast was his favorite dish from dinner.

Soft Shell Crab … rolled in cornmeal and topped with marcona almond dust, accompanied by fermented salsify, cornbread, cherry tomatoe,

Soft Shell Crab … rolled in cornmeal and topped with marcona almond dust, accompanied by fermented salsify, cornbread, cherry tomato

Nick and I split a glass of Chalk Hill Chardonnay with the crab. The flavors were lovely but the crab wasn’t quite as “soft shell” as we prefer (it was a bit disappointing to be truthful, the rest of meal was amazingly good so the yin and yang worked out).

Hay Smoked Lamb...

Hay Smoked Lamb…

… and Lamb Belly!

… and Lamb Belly!

Our last course of the night was the hay smoked lamb. We split a glass of Turnbull Cabernet (a bit too many tannins for Nick without food, I thought it was lovely). This was just as delicious as when we had it a few weeks ago. Harry was extremely impressed and declared that this was the absolute best thing of the evening.

Raspberry - Dessert Concoction #1

Raspberry – Dessert Concoction #1

Grapefruity Citrusy - Dessert Concoction #2

Grapefruity Citrusy – Dessert Concoction #2

Strawberry - Dessert Concoction #3

Strawberry – Dessert Concoction #3

We had asked for a dessert without chocolate (Sandy doesn’t eat chocolate) – SURPRISE! They brought us three fruit based desserts. The strawberry ice cream was amazing. The grapefruit with sponge cake and grapefruit cream was very interesting and tasty. I really liked the raspberry creation, the sorbet wasn’t as decadent as the strawberry ice cream but for me, it was an excellent way to end the meal.

Thank you to everyone at bluezoo… Chef Ryan, Gary, Dustin, and Paul took excellent care of us and made me feel like the Birthday Princess. It was also lovely that the staff that know us had been given the heads up and they all stopped by to wish me a happy birthday… so special and so sweet.

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