Mondays with George and Jake at Fish and Farm

by foodhoe on September 16, 2008

I came here for a Dine About Town dinner last June which I really enjoyed and when my esteemed colleague and food blogger friend Chef Ben from Cooking with the Single Guy mentioned that the restaurant was hosting a series of Monday night dininers with guest chef George Morrone, I responded that I was so definitely in.  George Morrone is an icon in the Bay Area restaurant scene after he earned a four star rating as the creative force at both Aqua and the Fifth Floor restaurants, then moving on to open the Redwood Park in the Transamerica Pyramid, Tartare, and Boca Steak Restaurant in Novato.

He was out and about in the dining room (posed for the picture above), serving tables, greeting everyone and is very obviously a people person.  You can tell that he really likes cooking for people and wants to hear what you think about the food.  It was such a pleasure to be able to ask him questions about the dishes we were enjoying,  we felt so pampered and he obviously basked in the adulation.  Now I don’t want to ignore Executive Chef Jacob Des Voignes, but the Monday prix fixe menu was such a vehicle for Chef Morrone and even features a soup from his cookbook Simply Elegant Soup, and I didn’t see Chef Jake at all during the course of our meal.

I loved the soup course best… the Cream of Portobello Soup was rich and savory and in the center of the bowl floated a silken garlic custard topped with the most amazing chanterelle fritter.  This fritter was like a flaming ember of molten mushroom encased in an ethereal crispy batter that exploded with earthy abandon when you bit into it.  It was intoxicating and I was completely smitten and ignored everything until the last morsel was wiped up with the delicious bread.

Did I mention that the delicious rustic and crusty bread was served with a pat of fresh sweet creamy butter topped with crunchy flakes of Maldon salt?  Does not your tongue drool when you look at this?

Oh I forgot to mention that Mondays with George and Jake feature a 4 course prix fixe menu for $48 and besides the first course of soup, you had a choice between a fish or a farm (animal) for each course, except for dessert… On my previous post, I mentioned that the interior of this restaurant is very dark and that I had to resort to using the dreaded flash.  This time we were seated at the cramped small table with hardly any separation between the next, and unfortunately the fellow net door was a curmudgeon who asked that we not use the flash.  He looked askance at me as I continued to merrily click away without the flash and managed to make me feel like a silly child.  I was so tempted to flash away when he left to go to the restroom!  But alas, we must not make a scene…

Chef Ben had the amazing Grilled Sonoma Quail, that sat on top of a salad of smoked tomato and charred radicchio that was ringed with a balsamic reduction and topped with a rich garlicky aioli.

The bird was big for a quail, and the flesh was juicy and tender with a perfectly charred and crisped exterior.

I got the very festive Citrus-Coriander Gravlox, topped with crunchy russian rye croutons, surgically precise cubes of pickled beets and even smaller diced crunchy apples and drizzled with horseradish creme fraiche and garnished with fronds of fragrant fresh dill.  The fish was sweet and tart with a silky dense texture and the condiments all worked together except for the painfully hard croutons.  They added a definite crunch, but they also shredded the roof of my mouth!  I definitely liked Chef Ben’s quail better…

Next, I had a very delectable piece of perfectly cooked Alaskan Black Cod, that was swimming in a rich smoked chorizo broth full of tiny sweet manila clams, grilled fennel, leeks, fresh coriander ragout and delicious potatoes.  This was topped with a pungent aioli, lemon zest and fresh chopped herbs that added a potent aroma to the succulent and juicy flesh.  I wished for a spoon to sip this intoxicating brew… and found more of the bread to mop up every lip smacking bit.

Chef Ben had the Boneless Rack of Lamb, with Kalamata olives, anchovie jus, robuchon potatoes (which were mashed), and a grilled heirloom eggplant-basil salad

For dessert, we both ordered the German Chocolate Cake, which was a dense rich chocolate slab topped with rich buttery chocolate frosting, the plate was decorated with dots of spicy coconut chili oil, along with a scoop of bi-rite creamery coffee toffee ice cream.

Underneath the ice cream was a sticky blend of coconut and caramel and the combination of everything was really delicious.  The textures of sticky chewy, gooey and creamy go together so well, and when combined with the flavors of chocolate, coconut, caramel, coffee, toffee and hot chili oil, my tastebuds were dazzled.  Is this German Chocolate Cake?  I don’t know, but I liked it a lot!

Chef Morrone mentioned that they are talking about extending the Monday night guest series for a little while longer.  I recommend you check Mondays with George and Jake out.  Fish and Farm has a wonderful blend of casual sophistication which combined with the exuberant touch of Chef Morrone is just plain brilliant.

Fish & Farm on Urbanspoon

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa September 17, 2008 at 12:33 am

I love fish! Those dishes all look very scrumptious! A nice place…

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosas last blog post..PLUMS – PRUNES

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Passionate Eater September 17, 2008 at 3:31 am

I love reading your perspective of the dinner (I read Chef Ben’s earlier). Oh how I wish I were the third wheel and I could have joined you two! Your description of your dessert experience gave me a cavity!

Passionate Eaters last blog post..Getting Dressed (Po’ Boys) at Domilise’s

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rowena September 17, 2008 at 4:32 am

I’m drooling, I’m DROOLING! And how I so wish that they sold cornstarch over here because…I’ve got this huge tray of chanterelles in the fridge that need to be tended to. Fritters sound so divine.

Oh, and the quail! Honestly FH, you’d go bug-eyed at the supermarket here. They sell’em in packs of 3 or 4 (all defeathered and cleaned thank you) and the price makes them ‘do-able’ without worrying over the cost.

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Kirk September 17, 2008 at 9:34 am

Hi FH – What a lovely meal….for some reason my attention was afixed on that chanterelle fritter for the longest time. It just seemed to be fried perfection.

Kirks last blog post..mmm-yoso raw! A round-up of dishes from Olivetto, Sab-E-Lee, Asmara, and Buga

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foodhoe September 17, 2008 at 11:43 am

rosa, yes it definitely was scrumptious!
PE you are so funny! A cavity from reading about dessert LOL! We talked about you and look forward to another group dinner again one day…
rowena, it was so very droolworthy! I’m still thinking about that excellent fritter in that soup…
kirk, oh yeah me too! I want another fritter…

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Single Guy Chef September 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Foodhoe, I have to go out and get your camera! I’m amazed you were able to get all those shots with just a mere candlelight! I’m also amazed at how you can remember all the details. How did you even know the salt on the butter was Maldon? This is why I need you to go with me to dinners so that I can crib from your notes! Ha!

Single Guy Chefs last blog post..Monday Dinner with George Morrone

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foodhoe September 17, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Single Guy, I have to thank those Bunrabs for pointing out the Fuji Finepix. It does pretty well although I find I have to take lots of pix because so many come out out of focus… And I don’t know for sure it was Maldon salt, it had that brittle flaky appearance just like Maldon salt…

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Kelley September 17, 2008 at 10:20 pm

thanks for the comment over on my page. i clicked over here, and immediately became very jealous of your gourmet meal!

Kelleys last blog post..ciabatt-eh.

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grace September 18, 2008 at 3:55 am

your pictures are indeed drool-inducing, especially that of the german chocolate cake. what can i say, i’m a dessert gal. :)

graces last blog post..the best of both worlds

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foodhoe September 18, 2008 at 7:57 am

Kelley, well thanks for the visit – you would love this place, they promote local and sustainable and only charge $5 corkage if the bottle of wine is from California!
Grace, from what I’ve seen on your site, you certainly are a dessert girl. Yeah that cake was right up there with the fritter for me!

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