Wednesday, March 13, 2013

he hottest chef in DC cooks for me--or dinner at URBANA with Chef John Critchley (3-10-13)

At an auction last year we purchased this dinner and it had us back at

URBANA in the Palomar Hotel near Dupont Circle where we had been so

many times when it was Gabriel under Greg Hill. We had been to Urbana

before, but Chef John Critchley has made a huge makeover there only to

announce he leaves this week and heads to Bourbon Steak at the Four


He and manager/sommelier Sean did a great job pairing some rare wines

and we all had a ball.

Amuse-thin slices of yellowfin TUNA with Passion Fruit, Yuzu &

Jalapeno...the latter ingredient being quiet apparent. This was served

with a Montelliana Prosecco, and lots of sparkling water!

PICKLED PUMPKIN was a superb salad of Bibb Lettuce, Great Hill Blue

Cheese (Mass.), Pomegranate Seeds, Pickled Acorn Squash with Maple

Vinaigrette; truly one of the best salads ever and the 2011 Botani

Moscato Seco from Malaga Spain was an ingenious pairing.

ROCKFISH TAGINE was one of our favorite dishes for its ingenuity and

the pairing as well.

A Moroccan inspired fish tagine (and the fish tasted more like chicken

indeed) with fregola sarda, chermoula and preserved lemon that had a

fun crunch. Micro greens and shoots of daikon and cilantro were a

presentational whim and the 2009 WILLM Alsace Grand Cru Riesling 2009

Kircherg de Barr was a gem.

FOIE GRAS TART deserves a prize as well. It was a shell of foie gras

made from confit of duck liver filled with fig and rhubarb gelees with

sauternes and a Spruce Greek yogurt. Ginger crumble adorned the dish

and was so yummy some asked for little take away packages to put on

ice cream at home! 2005 MACULAN from Torcolato in the Veneto region of

Italy was another gem of a slightly sweet wine that did not invade but

blended with the foie gras.

ROAST LAMB LEG was a tender leg in small roulades over a risotto

Milanese made with saffron and white wine. The sauce was a simple jus

reduction and quite rich but definitely award winning. A 2007 E.

GUIGAL Crozes-Hermitage was our only red for the night, but it was a

warm evening and we were quite happy with all our wines.

CHOCOLATE was composed of Salted (Malden Sea Salt)Milk Chocolate

Bavarois with Dolche de Leche Ice Cream. It was a cylinder of dark

thin and intense but the rich milk center was a gem. A 2007 COPPO

"Passione" Brachetto d'Aqui is indeed a sparkling red from Piemonte

and pairs divinely with all chocolate!

What a wonderful and HOT meal!