Pastrami and Sauerkraut
This was the second to last course, but it's so pretty I stuck it up front. Slow-cooked smoked brisket. Honestly, the best pastrami I've ever had.
Fried Pear and Pickle Chips
Thin sliced pears and pickles are infused with potato starch so that they crisp up like chips when fried.
Pringles with Baked Potato Chantilly
Pringle-like potato puffs dusted with powdered buttermilk and a dip made from thickened baked potato juice. This was probably the only really failed dish of the evening. Buttermilk powder tastes like dry baby formula, and the baked potato dip had a really off-puttingly gloppy texture.
Roasted Corn Elote
Freeze dried corn with the flavors of Mexican street corn: cotija, cream, cilantro blossoms, and a hint of smoke. This was awesome.
Light cheese souffles that are completely reheatable (they don't collapse!) to help you avoid a Sabrina moment.
Grilled Chicken Skin
The skin is cooked sous-vide until all the collagen is rendered out (skin has a very high percentage of connective tissue), then grilled crisp and coated with a pineapple glaze. I'd be happy eating these with a Japanese beer.
Foie Gras Egg Nog
One of several "constructed creams," in which liquid foie fat is emulsified into a water-based base flavored with sherry. Warm, thick, and intensely foie-flavored. That's Zagat founder Tim Zagat knocking one back.
Green Apple "Snow Ball"
A highly aerated green apple sorbet is dispensed from a whipped cream canister into a pool of liquid nitrogen, instantly setting it. It gets dusted with wasabi powder. It melts in your mouth like nothing else.
Foie Gras Rocher
Like a Ferrero Rocher hazelnut candy, with sweet foie mousse taking the place of the chocolate ganache. Foie and chocolate is a surprisingly tasty combination.
Raw Egg Shooter
One of the trick-based dishes that modernist chefs seem so fond of (they're always described as "playful"). It looks like a raw quail egg, but the white is thickened clarified juice and the yolk is a alginate spherification of passionfruit juice.
To be honest, I can't remember what was in this one - it was the first of two oyster shots, and the second was better...
Oyster Shooter #2
A Kumamoto Oyster with salmon roe and ponzu.
Here's the Top Chef season six winner examining his monkfish liver.
Ankimo, Yuzu, Enoki, Pear
A monkfish liver torchon with a centrifuged pear broth poured over it. This marks the beginning of a long series of courses with a liquid poured over them tableside.
Noodles made from Geoduck with sea beans and a bagna-caude based broth made from centrifuged brown butter and anchovies. This was one of the best (and most traditional tasting) dishes of the night.
Very simple: Squash cooked in a pressure cooker with some baking soda to promote the Maillard reaction (didn't I just read about that somewhere?). Poured over thyme ice cream.
Perfectly cooked vegetables with a medallion of cured bone marrow and a broth extracted from rare beef (they treat the beef with a tenderizer to increase the yield of the juice). It's a little disturbing to see the blood-red myoglobin-colored liquid, but delicious nonetheless. David Chang declared this one "awesome."
A rich centrifuged shellfish broth with sweet carrots and oranges. I was sitting next to Vinny Dotolo of Animal in Los Angeles who remarked how good the carrots were. It's interesting that with all the crazy food so far, a simple carrot was the first thing to get a vocal reaction out of him.
Cream of Mushroom
Perfectly clear mushroom broth and foam dusted with porcini.
Polenta with Marinara
The polenta is grist cooked down in corn juice, which gives it a custard-like texture. The "marinara" is made from Asian pear, though it has the intense umami qualities of a tomato-based sauce.
Cocoa Pasta with Sea Urchin
This was incredible, if only because I love sea urchin so much. The broth was another one of the "constructed creams," made in a homogenizer with sea urchin puree and clarified butter. A cured sea urchin "bottarge" was shaved over the top.
This is one of his showstopper, made with steamed egg striped with mushroom and an egg yolk foam.
King Salmon with Spiced Butter
The coolest part of this dish is the"bulletproof" beurre blanc that gets poured on top. It's a notoriously tough sauce known for breaking if you look at it too hard. The Modernist Cuisine version is stabilized in such a way that it can be boiled or even frozen with no ill effects.
Like a mounted hand blender, a homogenizer is able to easily emulsify fats and water-based liquids. The rotating inner rind inside of the head is precisely machined to just barely fit inside another ring of metal. Notched teeth in both the inner and outer ring shear liquids very efficiently. I wonder why you don't see that design in home models?
Slicing the roast chicken
The roast chicken is made by separating the skin (like a Peking duck), trussing with the legs sticking out (more even cooking), and cooking at 140°F for four hours. It gets a final blast in a 500°F to crisp the skin just before serving.
(I couldn't help thinking to myself, "Hey—that's exactly the same as my roast chicken recipe from Cook's Illustrated a couple years ago!")
Another constructed cream for the sauce: chicken jus emulsified with chicken fat.
Much of the food (proteins, sauces, etc) is cooked sous-vide in a water bath like this one.
Pork rib and a slice of brisket—check out the smoke ring on those! They're cold smoked, then cooked sous-vide. There are 9 different sauce recipes in the book, ranging from a traditional Kansas City-style sweet sauce to a centrifuged clear sauce. The only thing missing from the barbecue was my favorite part: the bark. The texture was interesting though.
A Centrifuge Tube
Myhrvold describes how a centrifuge works to separate liquids of varying densities.
Goat Milk Ricotta, Pea Juice, Pea Butter Toast, Cinnamon Oil
Homemade goat milk ricotta, centrifuged pea juice, a pea green salad, and that ridiculous pea butter toast on the side. This was incredible.
Pistachio Gelato, Cocoa Milk, Black Olve
It looks like gelato, but it's nearly 100% pisatchio (discounting the sugar and a few stabilizers). It gets creamy from the emulsification of pistachio fat and liquid. 100% vegan ice cream.
A gruyère flavored caramel wrapped in an agar sheet. The caramels were really delicious—nicely texture with a distinct nutty creaminess.
Coffee Crème Brûlée
Cold infused coffee cream (lots of flavor, no coffee color) steamed in a Combi oven. Delicious, though not particularly exciting. A lot of the desserts felt like throwaways, which makes sense: the books don't cover pastry at all.
David Chang eats a Gummy Worm
He seems to like it.
Olive oil and vanilla bean flavored. These were made in a fishing lure mold.
The cannelés themselves were fine, if a little tough, but the whiskey cream again had that weird gloppy texture that the baked potato dip had. A meh ending to what was otherwise a spectacular meal.