When discussing Biba (where incidentally Chef Bill worked at one time), the Improper says:
"Whimsically written menu copy-" a mushroom masquerading as a steak, skate wing with a splah of elderberry wine , roasted pumpkin butter and charred chard ribs , spritz of ice wine vinegar on clams hearth-roasted over pine needles with foaming sauce of pine nut"--reflected [Lydia] Shire's focus on lusty, imaginative dishes resulting from research and hard work. "Far be it from me to chop up tuna tartare and put it on a chip; that's not working hard for your customers," she says.
While I can't even begin to imagine what those sorts of things must taste like (fine, I've had ice wine, chard, mushrooms, no to elderberries and skate), and how those flavors must combine, adn I muss confess to mising the foam trend entirely, there's something to be said for that philosophy. For putting more on a plate than a little banana-nutella sandwich sauteed, or a pastry-cream filled fresh fruit tart with glaze. For going that extra mile in ingredients or preparation or innovation. It reminds me somewhat of those weird petit fours we made for Spinazzola, the passionfruit jelly strawberry mousse cream cakes. Something a little different as Chef always said.
But what does it take to invent that newness? (or, why fennel pollen? why yuzu?) More later, when I'm not watching Fight Club and drinking the best pumpkin beer, Brooklyn Brewery's Post Road...
Spinazzola petit fours from January 2006, pastry school ladies and Delphin Gomes.