Exec Chef: James Syhabout
I’ve been meaning to try Commis since summer 2013 and finally was able to! It’s quite an amazing restaurant. The decor, and to a certain extent the food too, is very minimalist. Things are pretty but bare, which I can appreciate because it translates into a focus on food. There’s a kind of no-nonsense approach to the food, where what you get is just beautifully cooked dishes made with very fresh ingredients. There’s very little flash or flare (although part of the kitchen is open) but I think that actually helps cut down on the cost (the location is a factor too) so that what the diner get is just great food for a great price.
1. Carmelized Onion Financier, Pickled Green Strawberries with Goats Milk and Dill
The light and refreshing amuse really wowed me. The onion biscuit was just this super sweet oniony fluffy muffin that had none of the harshness of actual raw onions. Incredible.
Executive Chef: Corey Lee
Date: August 17, 2013
I’m so glad it was my mom’s birthday late in the summer and we were able to try Benu! It was really nice of her to take the family out and I ended up loving the meal. I’ve never been to The French Laundry before, but knew of Chef Corey Lee by reputation from all the praise he received during his time as the Chef de Cuisine at the Laundry. Seems all the praise well-merited.
So delicious. It has all the creamy, earthiness of preserved quail egg, but with an additional spicy sweetness from the ginger and an extra lightness from the foam and potage! I would’ve guessed it was an oyster if I hadn’t already looked at the menu.
Exec Chef: Alice Waters
Date: June 29, 2013
I’d been here only once beforehand, it was several years ago with two of my best friends from growing up. It was amazing then, and I fondly remember their baked alaska with strawberry ice cream as being my favorite dessert ever. The meringue was so soft and chewy like a marshmallow, and I had never in my life liked strawberry ice cream before but Chez Panisse’s made me have that Ratatouille moment where my eyes glistened and I was mentally transported to a sunny field of strawberries. These memories had built really high expectations that I had to keep curbing, the giddy kid in me to be undoubtedly disappointed unless I gave him reality checks.
Luckily, it was a great experience. Alice Water’s pioneering of local organic food has always been admirable and I never fully appreciated it until I moved to New York. The fresh ingredients truly shine and make the dining experience a thoughtful one.