All the best of luck to Chef Gabriel Gil and The Rabbit Bistro team as they head out to New York to showcase Oregon food and wine at a James Beard House dinner on November 2, 2010. Here’s the menu from the JBF website:
Dungeness Crab with Sweet Onions, Green Olives, and Coconut
Foie Gras with Gravenstein Apples, Avocado, and Pumpernickel
Oregon Prawns with Serrano Ham and Quince
Capitello Brut NV
Pork Belly with Chanterelles, Fennel, and Verjus
Lemelson Vineyards Tikka’s Run Pinot Gris 2009
Pacific Yellowtail with Pork Jowl, Buttermilk, and Persimmon
Brandborg Umpqua Valley Gewürztraminer 2008
Columbia River Salmon with Sourdough, Butternut Squash, and Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Ayres Pioneer Pinot Noir 2009
Westrey Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008
Ancona Duck with Époisses, Cherries, and Oregon Black Truffles
Lemelson Vineyards Stermer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008
Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir 2008
Avocado Gelée with Pineapple, Black Sesame, and Dates
Andrew Rich Gewürztraminer Icewine 2007
I had the opportunity to try the avocado gelée last night, and it was wonderful. The acidic pineapple is blackened (beyond caramelized, really), so the burnt flecks impart a grainy, almost acrid contrast to the pillowy soft barely avocado’d panna-cotta-like gelée. The sesame seeds, which are sweetened by (I think) a light date syrup, are crunchy and nutty, so you have crunch, cream, acid, and caramel. It’s a brilliant dessert, perfectly balanced. I can only imagine what the rest of the menu will be like!
If you haven’t tried The Rabbit yet, do. They serve the best cocktails in town — one of my favorite places to go after a long day. The restaurant has had some issues with reputation and its haut-cuisine entrées and techniques aren’t for everyone, but as creative as Chef Gil is with flavor combinations and molecular tidbits, his kitchen puts out mean comfort food, too. The fall menu is downright domestic, I was surprised and pleased to see. There’s a lamb navarin with mash and a halibut on puy lentils that are spectacular.
I often sneak off and grade papers or edit a manuscript while eating moules et frites (mussels and fries) at the bar, as I did last night. In fact, the moules are so good that I never even want to try anything else, which is death to me as a food writer! But they’re the best mussels I’ve ever had anywhere, here or Europe, no lie. Someone in that kitchen knows how to prepare shellfish.
So let me just warn you, New York, even though you are going to want to keep our Rabbit team in a warren at the James Beard House, we won’t take kindly to that here in Eugene. Have a safe trip and a wonderful time and come back soon, Rabbits!