THE NEW GENOA
The fireplace may not have been there the first time around, but the recipes were. This is a good thing- the place is a classic. Our server told us right off that the dishes on the five course prix fixe menu were based on archived recipes from Genoa's historical archives, updated for the restaurant’s reincarnation. The revived interior feels sumptuous and luxe, incorporating an original armoir, recessed ceiling, modern chandeliers and upholstery. Warm, solid, and very classy.
For once, I resisted pilfering a menu, so I’ll go by notes and memory of this very lovely,* 3 hour, Tuesday night, holiday season meal.
1. Amuse bouche: shaved endive with black truffle and very vibrant lemon essence/zest. Wake up, tastebuds!
2. The Genoa cocktail: dry white wine, sweet vermouth and a lemon wedge served in a crystal wine glass. Surprisingly fresh and satisfying as an aperitif (and apparently the original recipe from over 20 years ago).
3. 1st course: Oregon Dungeness crab mixed with micro greens (sprouts) on grilled bread. The crab was so clean and fresh, no need for the bread, I’d rather eat it like sushi. It was paired with an oaked Italian chardonnay, but could’ve used something crisper (sans oak).
4. The pasta course, oh god, THE PASTA COURSE. I was in heaven with the duck confit “tortelli” (ravioli). It was one of those dishes that made me pause, close my eyes for a second, and attempt to permanently remember its taste sensation. So rich in flavor, yet so delicate (crazy umami). And the wild mushroom fettucine (freshly made) was like pasta dressed with butter and the essence of a forest floor. Mmmmmm....
5. Winter salad, a.k.a. palate cleanser. A beautiful presentation of pomegranate seeds, blood orange, arugula, red onion. The onion was a little strong, but it was placed at the perfect point in the meal to cut the heavy stuff. Served with a (almost tropical) Verdicchio, this may have been the best pairing.
6. Lamb chops, cooked perfectly medium rare with a rub of sea salt and rosemary (I licked the bones). Garnet yam souffle, sauteed garlic and greens. This dish was what I am considering my Christmas dinner for 2009. (Notice that I had no time for photos of the best dishes – too busy enjoying). The Chianti paired with it was okay, but I have to admit that I would have loved a glass of Hawk’s View Cellars' Pinot Noir (’07) with this dish.
7. The meal would’ve been very nicely punctuated with a goat/sheep’s cheese plate, but we opted for dessert instead. Their tiramisu was perfect. Espresso, smooth and delicious. Vin Santo, one of my favorite things to drink on earth at the close of a meal (besides chinato).
Merry Christmas and thank you, Genoa!
*Our table was the deuce to the right of the fireplace, and I had the place facing the flames. I couldn’t have asked for a better seat.