Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Alaskan cuisine conquers at the Crow's Nest in Anchorage(7-9-12)

Our final night in Anchorage was at one of the city's top rated places (you will recall a couple of places are closed on Sundays and Mondays) and it was a wonderful experience. The Crow's Nest is located on the 20th floor of the Captain Cook Hotel (where I stayed with my parent's on our first visit here 20 years ago) and has spectacular views on through the huge picture windows. Our table was right against the window on the east side facing downtown Anchorage below and the magnificent snow-capped Chugatch Mountains in the distance. We sat down at 645pm and our dinner lasted close to three hours and was indeed a total experience with great thanks to our server Eric and his team. Add to this the crisp linens, fine china and crystal (Spiegelau) and you do have fine dining indeed.

As soon as we sat an amuse CARROT GINGER SOUP appeared with coriander hints and fresh scallions atop. Warm French bread and Olive bread appeared which was the best we have had on the whole trip.

Our only concern was that the large pricey portions would be too big for Sam. I had checked prior to making a reservation and knew this large hotel offered a children's menu, but it seemed a new chef had abandoned that option. Eric said that he could request anything from the chef, but that the new chef was not too amenable...OH BOY! Eric reappeared after a while and said that our requests would be granted, so Sam had the Tomato and Cucumber Salad (he left the delicious leafy greens) with Balsamic reduction and a tasty vinaigrette (champagne? red wine and shallot? who knows?). The salad was gone in seconds and Will and I gobbled up our fabulous appetizers. Will had the TUNA TOWER of edamame and cucumber marinated ahi with avocado, lime and toasted nori, which while delicious still doesn't come close to my new recipe for tuna tartare at home! My SEARED DIVER SCALLOPS were superb and local as well with a Vegetable Ratatouille (onion, eggplant, squash, red pepper) in and almost deconstructed format shaped in a small square with butter braised leeks in a toasted shallot and vermouth sauce.

We chose a bottle of McCrea Rousanne, but it was sold out, so the sommelier let us taste the McCrea "Sirocco Blanc" 2008 "Boushey Vineyard from Washington's Yakima Valley (40% Grenache/30%Marsanne/20% Rousanne/10%Picpoul) which was a superb creamy blend with a slight acidity from the Picpoul that we were more than happy with. Samuel enjoyed a homemade orange cream soda!

Will and I chose to split the BEET TERRINE made from roasted Alaska Purple and Golden Beets alternating for presentation with Goat Cheese, Truffle Mousse and Toasted Hazelnuts & Petite Greens. While a nice idea, the dish needed fresh pepper as it was bland, and we did get some after we finished most of it; one slight down point of the meal.

We switched to a blow your mind full of flavor and body ROCO 2005 Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley and Sam switched to an amazing homemade Black Cherry Soda.

Our main courses came and Samuel ate a huge portion of his Prime RIBEYE with Pimenton Espresso Crust, Roasted Fingerlings and Bordelaise Sauce, but would not touch the Broccolini. Will adored his ALASKAN HALIBUT braised with wild mushrooms, fennel and corn succotash and a sweet pea beurre blanc. It was divine and we have to say that both our fish dishes were some of the best local fish ever with superb local ingredients. My COPPER RIVER SALMON from way southeast of town with house cured Pancetta, Chardonnay & Caramel Poached Apples, Purple & White Pearl Onions, Brussels Leaves, Fingerling Potatoes and Orange Gastrique. Salmon like this, so fresh and so flavorful, just can't be had at home!

Samuel ordered the Mango Sorbet and loved it but we began to notice that the dining room was freezing cold. Who needs a/c when it's 55 degrees out?

Will chose the BLUEBERRIES MEADOWS which was creamy cheesecake with blueberry reduction, Madeleine cakes, AMAZING Blueberry Ice Cream and a Blueberry Tartlet that was the real dud of the meal as the tart was dry despite the biggest fresh berries inside it.

Altogether, it was an amazing experience that we would love to have again in Anchorage should we return.