The Marine Room, La Jolla, California
Tasted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by La Cave d'Argent with 721 views
The Marine Room in La Jolla (www.marineroom.com) presents any oenophile/foodie with the ultimate sensory experience. Literally sitting on the oceanfront, we were again treated to the beauty of the Pacific in combination with some of the most aesthetically pleasant and equally tasty dishes. Executive Chef Bernard Guillas designed a menu to complement the wine lineup, and what resulted was a testimony to his creative genius. The dishes were executed with impeccable precision by the Chef de Cuisine, Ron Oliver. Sommelier Jeff Hoover's experience and professionalism took all of the stress out of handling the large number of wines.
A beautiful, flavor-packed creamy bisque to which is added texture and additional flavor nuances when the curried popcorn ball is dropped into the liquid. While the Roederer Champagne was a fairly good pairing, this dish would have been better complemented by a fuller-bodied Champagne such as Bollinger or Krug.
It is hard to imagine two more different flavors than ahi and foie gras, but this dish worked beautifully. It literally provided a symphony in my mouth when small samples of each item were consumed as a single bite. No question that, for this dish, the perfect pairing was the Riesling, which had the acid and the richness to stand up to the ahi and foie gras together. While good with the ahi component, the Pinot Gris was a bit overwhelmed by the foie gras.
A stunning presentation of three very different meats with different textures, all cooked and seasoned to absolute perfection. While all of the wines in the flight paired well with each of the three cheeks, I felt that the best combination among all of the permutations was the '89 Pichon-Lalande and the beef.
My favorite course of the evening. Chefs Guillas and Oliver inserted the elk as a surprise last-minute addition. Both the antelope and the elk could not have been cooked more perfectly. They played off of each other beautifully, with the richness of the antelope complemented by the gaminess of the elk. The cherry compote worked well with both meats, as did the potato and asparagus components. Virtually all of the "younger" wines included in this flight paired well with the dish.
This visually gorgeous dessert was a perfect ending to the meal, providing something for everyone. The pear had a crispy outer texture and a beautiful tart/sweet flavor that was spot-on with the Rieussec. Chocoholics got their fix with the creamy yet crunchy gianduja, while the almond financier was a more restrained component that let the wine strut its stuff. As was the case with all of the courses, bites with combinations of components were the most fun of all!
In summary, it was another evening at the Marine Room which will not soon be forgotten. The dishes presented by Chefs Guillas and Oliver were entirely new creations which underscored the magic that they are capable of carrying out. I joked that they should write a cookbook, knowing that they had released "Flying Pans...Two Chefs, One World" within the past year (http://www.twochefsoneworld.com). I urge anyone with a culinary interest to check out their book, which not only includes amazing recipes but also beautiful photographs demonstrating their artistic talent. Jeff Hoover and the Marine Room staff made the wine and food service seemless. Bravo once again!