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Marinated Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Marinated Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc


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Ingredients

Sauce base

  • 2 cups Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Shrimp

  • 1 cup Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 extra-large uncooked shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled with tail left intact, deveined
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Recipe Preparation

Sauce base

  • Combine Champagne, shallots, vinegar, and peppercorns in heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup liquid, about 20 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Shrimp

  • Combine Champagne, olive oil, shallots, and ground pepper in resealable plastic bag. Add shrimp to bag and seal; shake bag to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate shrimp at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. Mix chives, tarragon, and parsley in small bowl.

  • Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Drain shrimp; discard plastic bag with marinade. Arrange shrimp on prepared pan in single layer. Broil shrimp until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Stand 3 shrimp, tails upright, in center of each plate.

  • Rewarm sauce base over medium-low heat. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time, just allowing each to melt before adding next (do not boil or sauce will separate). Season beurre blanc to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Spoon warm sauce around shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve.

  • Champagne and sparkling wines labeled extra dry are actually slightly sweeter than those labeled brut. The latter work best in this dish.

Reviews Section

Laurent-Perrier Champagne (Series) – Brut NV

The delightfully balanced and elegant Brut NV is the signature House Champagne of Laurent-Perrier. Designated non-vintage because it contains grapes from more than one single harvest, this Champagne has been expertly blended from several excellent vintages, each lending unique characteristics. Containing 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier and comprising more than 55 individual crus with an average rating of 94% ensures perfect consistency and excellent quality. The result is an embodiment of Laurent-Perrier’s signature House style of freshness, lightness, and elegance.

Offering the fresh crisp acidity of pear, hints of citrus, and backed by a silky yeasty bread note, I think it is the perfect match for delicate foods. For this piece I chose to pair it with shrimp, one of my favorite proteins, marinated and served with an elegant champagne-infused beurre blanc sauce. This is a variant of Joël Robuchon’s beurre blanc recipe, altered to include more champagne of course!

With a total of 28 Michelin stars, Joël Robuchon enjoys the distinction of having more of them than any chef in the world. He is someone I really look up to because his expertise in French cuisine is unmatched. I have had the pleasure of cooking many of the recipes out of his book The Complete Robuchon and this beurre blanc recipe is one of my favorites because it is so versatile and can easily be adapted to suit your tastes.

Marinated Shrimp with a Champagne Beurre Blanc Sauce
Recipe for Beurre Blanc Sauce from Joël Robuchon The Complete Robuchon Cookbook

Ingredients for the Shrimp
24 extra large uncooked shrimp (peeled, deveined with tail intact)
1 cup of Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1 tablespoon fresh chives (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley (minced)
freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients for the Beurre Blanc Sauce
Recipe for Beurre Blanc Sauce from Joël Robuchon’s The Complete Robuchon Cookbook. I adapted the recipe slightly by adding extra 100ml of champagne.
2 sticks of unsalted cold butter (250grams) just out of the refrigerator
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 cup of Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
2 tablespoons of Champagne vinegar
Salt and white pepper to taste

Marinate
First, marinate the shrimp. Combine the champagne, olive oil, shallots, and freshly ground pepper in a large freezer bag. Add your shrimp to the bag and shake gently to evenly coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. While the shrimp are marinating prepare your fresh herbs by mincing them. Gently combine the chopped herbs and set aside.

Beurre Blanc Sauce
While your shrimp finishing marinating prepare your beurre blanc. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and return to the refrigerator. Your butter must be cold to properly make beurre blanc sauce. Put the shallots, champagne and champagne vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer the mixture for 20-25 minutes (the size of the saucepan will affect the cooking time). The liquid should reduce by about two-thirds. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the saucepan off the heat and then briskly beat in the butter one cube at a time. Do not add another cube until the last piece has just blended. The sauce MUST NOT BOIL. If the sauce does boil it may separate and then you will need to start all over, wasting precious Champagne! Add the salt and pepper to taste. If you like you can strain the finished sauce to remove the shallots.

Bringing the dish together
Take the marinated shrimp out of the refrigerator and drain them. Place no more than 5 of the large shrimp in a preheated, oiled skillet. Cook each shrimp 2 minutes per side then remove. You want the shrimp to be pink and opaque, but not overdone. Stand shrimp (3 per plate/person) with tails upright in the center. Spoon the beurre blanc sauce around and in between the shrimp trying to avoid getting it on the shrimp themselves. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top and serve immediately.


  • Shrimp (up to 12 large)
  • 1 bottle Sparkling Wine (peeled and deveined – recommend 3 shrimp per person)
  • 2 Shallot (recommend Segura Viudas Cava)
  • 1 stick Butter (minced)
  • 1 cup Olive Oil (unsalted)
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar (cut into small chunks)
  • 2 tsp Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Pepper

Combine 2 cups of sparkling wine, 1 cup olive oil, 1 minced shallot, and 1 tsp. black pepper in a small bowl. Pour the marinade into a large sealable plastic bag and add shrimp. Work the marinade into the shrimp until all surfaces are covered.

Make your sauce base by pouring 1 cup sparkling wine, 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1 minced shallot and 1 tsp. black pepper in a sauce pan. Whisk together, bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce until there is 1/4 cup liquid remaining.

Remove shrimp from marinade and place in a pan lined with aluminum foil. Broil under high heat for 3 minutes per side until the shrimp turn pink.

While shrimp is broiling, gently fold in the butter piece by piece, over medium low heat to the sauce base. Continue to whisk the sauce until the entire stick of butter is melted into the sauce. Do not boil the “beurre blanc” or champagne butter sauce, or the ingredients will separate.

Pour some of the sauce in the middle of a plate, and stand 3 shrimp, tails upright in the middle of the plate, using toothpicks to help them stand together if necessary. Watch the video below to see how to do this! Garnish by sprinkling the herbs over the shrimp and enjoy!


  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons butter (cold)
  • 1/16 teaspoon white pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp (rinsed and deveined)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac

Simmer the shallots, white wine, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over low-medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to about 2 tablespoons.

Add the cream and bring to just under a simmer.

When the first few bubbles rise, turn the heat down very slightly and add the 12 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly. Be sure to allow one pat of butter to melt completely before adding the next.

Once the butter is fully incorporated, season the beurre blanc sauce with white pepper and set aside.

In a skillet over high heat, melt 5 tablespoons of butter, and then sauté shrimp, turning a few times until cooked through – about 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and season the shrimp with salt. Carefully add the Cognac(it may flame) and stir thoroughly.


MARINATED SHRIMP WITH CHAMPAGNE BEURRE BLANC

Beurre blanc is a butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar, wine and shallots to which cold pieces of butter are added one at a time and whisked in entirely before the next piece is added. Add butter over low heat, or even off the heat source, so the sauce doesn&rsquot separate.

This dish is not a recipe you can whip up at the spur of the moment. You&rsquoll need to plan time to marinate the shrimp, prepare the reduction as the sauce base and then slowly whisk in the butter. But rest assured, your diners will be wowed!

You can either serve medium-sized shrimp as an elegant seafood appetizer, or use the largest shrimp you can find (and afford) and serve as a main-course dish.

2 cups Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

1 cup finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Combine Champagne, shallots, vinegar and peppercorns in a heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1 cup liquid, about 20 minutes. You can make this up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

  • 1 cup Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 extra-large uncooked shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled and deveined, with tail left intact
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Combine Champagne, olive oil, shallots and ground pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp to the bag and seal shake the bag to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate shrimp at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally. Mix the chives, tarragon and parsley in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Drain shrimp discard plastic bag with marinade. Arrange shrimp on prepared pan in a single layer. Broil shrimp until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Stand three or four shrimp tails upright in the center of each plate.

Rewarm sauce base over medium-low heat. Whisk in butter, one piece at a time, allowing each to melt before adding next (do not boil or sauce WILL separate).

Season beurre blanc to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon warm sauce around shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve.


Marinated Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc - Recipes

Today is National Champagne Day! I know that I will be enjoying a flute of the bubbly later tonight, and I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year! I thought that I would not include any recipes, as let's face it, it is pretty easy to figure out how to celebrate National Champagne Day! And, I want to send out a sincere thanks to all of you who have responded to my series of National Food Days with your own recipes as well. If you would like to share your recipes, or your food/beverage related business on the Jet-Chef blog, please contact me!

(image from www.bpcouncil.com)

I did find a couple of amazing recipes that would be ideal for a New Year's Eve/Day celebration. Both of these recipes are from www.Epicurious.com. Enjoy!

(image from www.Epicurious.com, photo by: SCOTT PETERSON)

Pink Grapefruit, Strawberry, and Champagne Granita with Sugared Strawberries
Bon Appétit, April 2004

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Use a Microplane grater or the smallest holes on a box grater to remove the lemon peel in thin, fine pieces. Any delicate buttery cookies — such as pirouettes, small shortbreads, or tender madeleines — would be delicious with the granita.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup water
1 cup small strawberries, hulled (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup fresh pink or ruby grapefruit juice
2 1/4 cups chilled brut Champagne
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
9 teaspoons mascarpone cheese*
18 whole small strawberries

Preparation:

Stir 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water in large saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cool. Puree 1 cup strawberries in processor. Whisk 1/2 cup puree into sugar syrup. Mix in grapefruit juice, then Champagne. Pour mixture into 8-inch square metal baking pan. Freeze mixture until firm, stirring every 2 hours, about 6 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover keep frozen.)

Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar and lemon peel in pie plate. Spread 1/2 teaspoon mascarpone around pointed tip half of each whole strawberry. Dip in lemon sugar to coat mascarpone.

Moisten rims of 6 Martini glasses with water dip rims into remaining lemon sugar. Scrape fork across surface of granita to form ice shavings. Mound granita in glasses. Garnish with sugared berries and serve immediately.

*Available at Italian markets and some supermarkets.

Test-kitchen tip:
To coat Martini glass rims with sugar, barely moisten fingertips and run around edge of each glass, then dip rims into sugar mixture. Keep the coated glasses in the freezer for up to two days before serving the granita.

(image from www.Epicurious.com, photo by: Mark Thomas)

Marinated Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Bon Appétit, December 2003

Yield: Makes 8 first-course servings

The classic — and amazingly easy — French sauce made with butter and wine gets a glamorous makeover with Champagne. Feel free to use less-expensive sparkling wine for cooking, but keep the blanc de blancs flowing as an accompaniment.

Ingredients:

Sauce base
2 cups Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Shrimp
1 cup Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 extra-large uncooked shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled with tail left intact, deveined
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Preparation:

For sauce base:
Combine Champagne, shallots, vinegar, and peppercorns in heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup liquid, about 20 minutes. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

For shrimp:
Combine Champagne, olive oil, shallots, and ground pepper in resealable plastic bag. Add shrimp to bag and seal shake bag to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate shrimp at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. Mix chives, tarragon, and parsley in small bowl.

Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Drain shrimp discard plastic bag with marinade. Arrange shrimp on prepared pan in single layer. Broil shrimp until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Stand 3 shrimp, tails upright, in center of each plate.

Rewarm sauce base over medium-low heat. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time, just allowing each to melt before adding next (do not boil or sauce will separate). Season beurre blanc to taste with salt and pepper.


Friday, April 23, 2021

DINNER IS SERVED!

I had so much fun planning our Easter menu and prepping all the courses. It's been so long since we've had a dinner party! I ordered both the cod and the lobster from my favorite fish market in Maine, which is where my dear brother and sister-in-law happen to live!

www.taylorlobster.com


Seafood - Vincent's Italian Cuisinevi Chops Marinated and grilled, served with brabant potatoes and.

Tiramisu or White Chocolate Bread PuddingEat Fit NOLA items meet the nutritional criteria designated by Ochsner Health System. Visit EatFitNola.com or ask your server for more information.

CanneloniHomemade pasta stuffed

with ground baby veal, pureed spinach and Parmesan

cheese baked on a bed of Alfredo cream and topped

Extra virgin olive oil, garlic

$13.95Add Shrimp $19.95or Chicken $18.95

Sauted calamari with extra

virgin olive oil, artichoke

hearts, black olives, garlic

Baby white veal meatballs in

red sauce over angel hair

Italian SausageServed with Angel Hair pasta

Fettucine pasta tossed with a

Add Paned Veal $19.95Add Chicken $18.95

Lightly battered Louisiana

oysters sauteed with green

virgin olive oil over angel

fresh lasagna sheets with

ricotta, & basil, finished with

Caesar (substitute with entree $3.00)

Italian Black olives, chopped green olives, artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese

(substitute with entree $3.50)

Arugulawith lemon and parmigiano reggiano

(substitute with entree $5.00)

$6.95Served with our house vinaigrette

Italian Chicken Vegetable $5 $8Corn & Crabmeat Bisque served in a freshly baked bread cup $9 $13

Eggplant SalsicciaPaneed eggplant stuffed with

Mozzarella cheese, Italian Sausage, tomatoes and basil

baked and topped with red sauce $9.95

Rose of SicilyBaby artichokes,

marinated,then deep fried topped with extra virgin

olive oil, shallots, capers, and Prosciutto

EscargotSauteed in garlic butter, green

onions, white wine, and bell peppers. Served with

Oysters RockefellerFried oysters with sambuca braised spinach, baked with parmesan cheese and lemon

Oysters AlmondineFried oysters topped with

toasted almonds and lemon tarragon sauce

Artichoke VincentArtichoke Hearts battered &

fried then topped with crabmeat, shrimp, green

onions & tomatoes. Finished with lemon tarragon cream

Eggplant Sticksbreaded and fried,

Meatballs on Garlic Toast$9.50

Calamaribreaded and fried,

Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms

topped with tarragon lemon cream $9.95

Parmesan Crusted Jumbo Shrimp

on a bed of fried spinach, topped with a white wine butter sauce

Jumbo Lump Crabmeatjumbo lump crabmeat atop a

bed of mixed greens, marinated artichoke hearts, calamata

olives and sliced Roma tomatoes. Served with a choice of dressing.

$20.95For Eat Fit, try this salad

with our house vinaigrette

Romaine & KaleRomaine lettuce and Kale with

red onions, homemade croutons, creamy blue cheese dressing and

crispy pancetta (substitute with entree $6)

All Pasta Served with Italian Chicken Vegetable SoupCorn and Crabmeat Bisque as a substitute for Chicken Vegetable Soup $6 extra

Burrata CapreseSliced tomato and

burrata with basil, topped with a balsamic reduction (substitute with entree $6.00)

Roasted Beet and ArugulaOven roasted beets layered with arugula and goat cheese with

red wine vinaigrette (substitute with entree $6.00)

$9.00For Eat Fit, try this salad

with our house vinaigretteDressings: House Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette, Creamy Italian, Honey Mustard, Thousand Island, or Ranch.

with any salad add anchovies $3 add white sicilian anchovies $5

Lamb ChopsMarinated and grilled, served

with brabant potatoes and french beans, finished with a

Seafood Stuffed Pork Chop

Double-cut pork chop breaded and stuffed with a seafood

stuffing, topped with a light pineapple demi-glac

Roasted Duck BreastThinly sliced and topped with a sweet hot pepper jelly glaze.

Served with brabant potatoes and french beans

$25.95 served without potatoes

Veal PicataSauted veal topped with lemon cream

Veal MarsalaSauted veal with mushroom marsala

Osso BuccoBraised veal shank with

angel hair pasta topped with veal demi-glac

Veal ParmigianaBreaded veal topped with melted mozzarella cheese

Veal RobertoSauted veal topped with

jumbo lump crabmeat finished with a portobello

mushroom sherry beurre blanc

Veal SorrentinoVeal sauteed & layered

with paneed eggplant & red sauce. Topped with melted

Veal Chop14 oz. veal chop stuffed with fresh basil, fontina cheese, & prosciutto. grilled and finished

with a cream sherry wine demi-glac. served with white truffle rissoto and grilled asparagus$45.95


Vincent's

WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
Vincent's is the least pretentious great restaurant in New Orleans. In both of its small, cramped, well-worn restaurants, it serves familiar New Orleans-style Italian food with a lusty flavor and enough polish and originality to make everything they do stand out, even when compared with much more expensive restaurants. No restaurant better defines the Creole-Italian cuisine.

WHAT'S GOOD
Over the years, Vincent and his cooks fine-tune the flavors of the kind of Italian food you loved when you were a kid--assuming your mother was a great Italian cook herself. From that effort came quite a few best-in-town dishes (cannelloni, corn and crab bisque, and soft-shell crab with a red sauce), and a few alluring originals (eggplant sandwich, artichoke Vincent, parmesan-crusted chicken). Seafood is especially fine, napped with great sauces. Some of the heartier dishes verge on grossness, but that may be appropriate. Little touches like breadsticks (uncommon in New Orleans) and the blue cheese vinaigrette create nice moments.

BACKSTORY
In 1989, Vincent Catalanotto--long-time waiter, bartender, and local character--discovered that he could cook as well as any of the chefs who had been screaming at him. He took over a failed, little, well-hidden restaurant in Metairie and started cooking. The place quickly became a runaway hit, with a packed dining room all the time. In 1997 Vincent and partner Tony Imbraguglio bought the historic Italian trattoria Compagno's on St. Charles Avenue and not only made it as good as the first Vincent's, but kept up Maria Compagno's high standards. Two other locations--in Baton Rouge and Mandeville, both franchises--were less good and folded.

DINING ROOM
Neither location gets and prizes for atmosphere, unless you find haphazardness atmospheric. The Metairie restaurant just underwent a major renovation and expansion, but it's still unfussy. The Uptown Vincent's retains the old-time neighborhood charm of its predecessor, with waiters and customers squeezing through the rare gaps in the darkness. The service staff is chummy and quite willing to serve whatever you want.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
»»Eggplant sandwich (panneed eggplant, Italian sausage, spicy mozzarella, red sauce)
Oysters amandine, lemon tarragon cream sauce
»Artichoke Vincent (shrimp, crabmeat, tomatoes, artichoke)
»»Rose of Sicily (marinated, fried baby artichoke, proscuitto, basil, garlic, olive oil)
»Eggplant sticks
Fried calamari
Seafood stuffed mushrooms
»Veal meatballs on garlic toast
»Italian chicken soup
»Corn and crabmeat bisque in toasted bread bowl
»House salad
Italian salad
Caesar salad
Entrees
»»Cannelloni (pasta sheets rolled around ground veal, spinach, parmesan cheese, Alfredo and red sauces)
Angel hair bordelaise (aglio olio)
Spaghetti and meatballs
Angel hair and Italian sausage
Fettuccine Alfredo
Shrimp fettuccine
»Sautéed Italian oysters, green onions, garlic, olive oil, angel hair
Eggplant parmesan, angel hair pasta
»Braciolone (sliced veal rolled around artichokes, bacon, garlic, parmesan cheese, baked and simmered in red sauce
Seafood stuffed pork chop, pineapple demi-glace
Filet mignon, sauce of the day, whipped potatoes
»Grilled, sliced duck breast, pepper jelly glaze
Chicken parmigiana
»Garlic chicken (bone-in, baked with garlic and herbs)
Panneed chicken, lemon cream sauce
Stuffed chicken breast (provolone cheese, prosciutto and artichoke hearts)
»Parmesan crusted chicken, creamed spinach, champagne beurre blanc
Chicken marsala
»Sauteed fresh fish, crabmeat cream sauce
Stuffed shrimp in pastry, crabmeat cream sauce
Crab cakes, champagne beurre blanc, Cointreau aioli
Crabmeat and shrimp Parma, champagne beurre blanc, baked with parmesan cheese
Herb crusted salmon, jumbo lump crabmeat, garlic braised spinach
»Soft shell crab with garlic butter tomato sauce
Veal picata
Veal marsala
Veal parmigiana
»Veal florentine (egg batter, parmesan spinach, lemon cream sauce
»Osso bucco
Desserts
Spumone ice cream
Torroncino ice cream
»Tiramisu
»Creme brulee
Dessert specials

FOR BEST RESULTS
Come here very hungry. It's often a good idea to split appetizers and entrees, three plates per four people. If you're in the mood for a funny but perhaps naughty joke, ask for Vincent.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They overcook the pasta more often than not, particularly the side dish of it that comes with most entrees. Same story on the vegetables. They should always toss the sauces with the pasta, but they don't.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.


David Greenberg Reviews. TIRPSE

Caught in an interminable traffic jam, racking up an Uber fee so high that taking a helicopter or chartering a submarine would have been cheaper, you finally stumble into TIRPSE with the look of someone who just clambered out the window of a locked ward. Since this is surely a medical emergency (and your insurance covers meds), you order a mango champagne cocktail (HK$178), your wife an old-fashioned (HK$168). Exemplary versions, delicious, you realign slowly with Earth’s magnetic field. You particularly like the artistic care taken to fashion the lemon-peel garnishes.

You assumed that Tirpse was a riff on Terpsichore, Goddess of Dance. You learn though that it is esprit backwards, gratifying to one who loves wordplay (What is “Natasha” backwards?). They serve French-Japanese food by tasting menu only (your five-course dinner, HK$1,488). You each order the wine option (five glasses, HK$728). Decelerated finally, in the leisurely act of sipping your cocktails, they pour the first wine, Schäfer-Fröhlich Schiefergestein Bockenauer Riesling 2014. My, TIRPSE’s waiters have a spring in their step. Your wife, family sommelier, approvingly picks up a note of petrol (not to be confused with petrel) in the wine. Two amuse-bouches are served.

Plated elegantly, the first is comprised of small pieces of bright green toast (from parsley-infused house bread) with chopped sea bream rimed by minced parsley. The pristine fish is mixed with fish sauce, lime zest and juice, Japanese parsley and coriander. Sauce notwithstanding, it is so mild that your bouche must search for its amuse, like trying to pick up a weak Wi-Fi signal.

The gazpacho, on the other hand, zings with flavour. You would have happily consumed a large bowl. It is brilliantly accented by salty bits of pistachio. In the middle, bobbing like an ice floe, is a shard of frozen ricotta. It seems clear to you that if any shard is called for, it should be crab or lobster or shrimp. Maybe some kind of roe. Ricotta is too mild. And freezing it, while clever, suppresses its flavour even more.

It seems both your waiter and the sommelier are committed to keeping the train moving on schedule. Your dishes are whisked away, and a starter of avocado foam, firefly squid and wild garlic arrives. The sommelier pours a glass of Heavensake Junmai Ginjo. You’re no sake fan, but you like this enough to think that maybe you could be. You gulp the remains of your cocktail and first glass of wine to help to clear the decks. And you swig your wife’s cocktail. She’s a slowpoke, and this is what she gets for it. This pattern of service, moving from course to course at a slightly swifter pace than your own, continues throughout the meal.

Since TIRPSE is part French, it’s worth noting that the French word for avocado, avocat, has two meanings. One is “avocado”. The other is “lawyer”. So the foam in this dish could be based on puréed lawyer. Puréed lawyer is notoriously dry and unpleasant though, and then they sue you. So you’re fairly certain it’s avocado. An interesting edible garden of minty kinome leaves (from the Sichuan pepper tree) and what looks like a micro-radish projects from the surface. You can taste no garlic, let alone wild garlic, at all. The firefly squid hidden within are startlingly delicious. Never before have you had squid so squiddy. You love them. There are just a few, not nearly enough, within the thick avocado foam. You have to probe for them with your fork, just as rescuers probe for avalanche victims. The foam, flavoured with fish sauce and lime juice, is good, but nowhere near life-altering. In your view, it’s actually an impediment, obscuring the squid’s delicate flavour. You think they should have skipped the avocado foam altogether and really put the squid (lots more of them) front and centre. Grilling them over charcoal and serving them with just a beurre blanc, with Japanese flavouring perhaps, would have been one way to do this.

The blue lobster in the lobster, Sichuan pepper, seaweed is perfectly cooked, sweet, deep, pure. Since lobster is commonly overcooked, this is a rare delight. The setting for this gem is an edible green garden with quenelles of broccoli purée and seaweed purée. Quite pretty, the garden doesn’t do much to enhance or amplify the lobster itself. It’s almost an omnipurpose garden into which they might have dropped any protein. Broccoli is an affable gent but, by your lights, not a great marriage partner for lobster. And though the seaweed is from the lobster’s ‘hood and congenial by itself, you think it’s also matrimonially weak. Apparently, Sichuan peppercorn flavours little dabs of oil on the plate. You did not taste it at all. Perhaps if you had purposefully searched for it, you would have.

Kinmedai, a Japanese fish, is steamed in sake and kombu (kelp), perfectly au point, fresh, nummy. It rests upon a bitter vegetable you’ve never before had and that you enjoy, butterbur. A lot of a fish’s flavour is in its skin. You think that sautéing it – crisping and intensifying the skin’s flavour – would have made the dish stronger yet. It comes in a transparent sauce of kombu, ginger and clams that tastes distinctly oceanic, like savoury seawater. You like it, though not enough for its flavour to haunt you days later.

You can smell the yeast steam of the house-made hot ciabatta before it arrives. The butter – actually a mixture of brown butter, butter and sour cream – is audaciously delicious. Spread on the ciabatta, the effect is boggling pleasure. You order a second round. Only your wife’s unblinking gaze stops you from ordering a third and a fourth. You eye other tables for this bread and contemplate the possibility of mounting your own Entebbe raid to get it. However, landing a souped-up Israeli Air Force C-130 Hercules, a duplicate of Idi Amin’s personal Mercedes limo, and a hundred commandos within the confines of the restaurant is too much.

Your wife orders lamb, you Wagyu (HK$268 upcharge), for your mains. Both are cooked perfectly medium rare and are delicious. Consider how much less delicious duck or chicken (or turkey or goose) would be with uncrisped skin. In like manner, beef and lamb are diminished without significant exterior char. You think of New Punjab Club’s mythic tandooried lamb and Artemis & Apollo’s charcoal-grilled chops. The caramelised, not-quite-burnt crust amps their flavour. Since the lamb was cut from a rack, it has little of this. The beef has more, but not as much as you crave.

The artichoke with the lamb (cooked sous vide and then fried) is sublime (you’ve made this dish many times without sous vide and don’t understand why they felt the need to do it). There’s a dollop of caviar on the chop that baffles you, a complete non sequitur. It makes no more sense than a dollop of caviar on a BLT. All you can figure is that it’s there to badge the dish and, by extension, the restaurant as luxe, like adding a Gucci logo. It’s served with lamb jus and a foam comprised of shallot, garlic, turmeric powder, vegetable soup, butter and cream, which is good (but not in proportion to the number of ingredients).

The beer sauce with the beef, made from beef jus and black beer, is tasty enough, but it lacks the depths of any number of French demi-glace-based sauces such as a classic bordelaise. You would have enjoyed a Béarnaise, which always punches way above its weight, more. Any of these sauces could have been given a Japanese tilt if desired.

They bring a Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie 2008 to go with dessert. It is by far your favourite wine of the evening, with dulcet tones of raisin and honey.

You have their strawberry, rhubarb, sansho pepper dessert. It consists of strawberries marinated in house-made rhubarb jam and raspberry syrup in a coconut-lemon-lime-orange custard, cloaked in meringue and milk foam. It is delicious. You particularly like the textural elements of the milk foam and meringue against the fruit. Your tongue lacked the sensitivity to distinguish the tastes of lemon zest, lime zest and orange zest from each other or, for that matter, the rhubarb and raspberry from the strawberry. It could well be that five glasses of wine dulled your palate. Or, could it be that a long queue of similar ingredients in the same dish lost their distinctiveness?

Your wife has hyuganatsu, honey, crème d’Anjou. Hyuganatsu is a kind of Japanese orange and translates as “new summer orange”. Its membrane-free slices are artfully mixed with mead (honey wine, which your fellow university students used to bootleg), yoghurt sorbet, turmeric-scented tuile and crème d’Anjou (sweetened fromage blanc). Unique, like the strawberry dessert, you love it.

The meal finishes with a petit-four treasure chest, a lovely wooden display box decorated alluringly as a forest glade, showcasing five sets of dainties. All were nice, but only the caramels gave you a solid dopamine hit.

Excellent cappuccino followed.

Wrought by an artist’s hand, TIRPSE is amongst the most beautiful restaurants you’ve visited in Hong Kong. It has a riveting harbour view. Junks slide by silently, as in a dream, lit like paper lanterns. The service is excellent, chairs pushed and pulled, napkins replaced, crumbs swept. There is a slight sense of “hurry up” though. Both plates and wine were continually swept away and replenished just a little before you and your wife were quite ready, as though the staff were trying to move you along, as though they had promises to keep and miles to go before they sleep. You couldn’t tell if it was a conscious policy of the restaurant, maybe to open your table to the next customers, or simply the waitstaff’s forward lean. Or conceivably it was your imagination, though your wife, Intuition’s favourite daughter, picked up on it as well.

You liked the simple dishes best. The bread was fabulous. The butter was fabulous. The gazpacho was fabulous. The desserts, more complex, were fabulous. You could happily live on those dishes. You liked components of other dishes – such as the lobster, beef, lamb and artichoke – very much. Every single dish was cooked perfectly, fish au point, meats medium rare, vegetables just past raw.

Above all else, when a diner tastes anything in a restaurant of this calibre, their jaw should drop, their heartbeat should surge, their toes curl. The food should be so delicious, they must suppress the urge to chortle. By comparison, it hardly matters from which planet a restaurant sources its fish or whether or not it’s cooked over sustainably harvested lava. Taste is paramount.

All of TIRPSE’s dishes were remarkably complex in terms of ingredients and cooking technique. There were clever touches everywhere. There were ample prestige ingredients, ample exotic ingredients. Yet, for all this, you were only gobsmacked by some of the dishes. Only some of the food for you was OMG delish. It’s as though the kitchen was so absorbed in cleverness and caviar and complexity that sometimes it lost sight of its end goal: taste. This resulted in some items that were:

  1. puzzling (the avocado-squid) or
  2. mismatched (the lobster-broccoli) or
  3. pretentious (the caviar on the lamb) or
  4. ineffectively clever (the frozen ricotta) or
  5. below their flavour potential (the lamb, beef and kinmedai sauces).

All of TIRPSE’s cuisine utterly delights the eye. Much of their food utterly delights the tongue. The rest, with minor reset, could certainly do so.

Rating (on a scale of 0 to 5)

Ambience: 5

Overall greatness: 3.5

Restaurants are intuitively rated within their particular realms. So Michelin restaurants, pizza places and stand-up sandwich joints are judged against like restaurants, not each other. A 5 for a high-end restaurant is not meant to be the same as a 5 for street food.

From my website, here’s how I rate food: “I believe the quality of a restaurant’s food is vastly more important than any other factor. Even if I love a restaurant’s food, I’m very conservative about giving out 4s or 5s I reserve 4s for food that is uniformly excellent. Preponderantly excellent tends to get a lower score. 5s are for food that is uniformly stunning.”

Shop 219, 2/F, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2333 0031, book online


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