Friday, September 21, 2012

Restaurant Eugene : Atlanta

(Meal from Feb 2011)

My better half had previously eaten at Restaurant Eugene and was excited to eat there together with me.  I was excited to see her excited about a fine-dining restaurant in Atlanta, so was looking forward to the meal.

We both did their prix fixe menu.

Kumomoto oysters (Amuse Bouche)
Refreshing because of the ice cold temperature and the toppings on top of the oyster.  The toppings really contributed most of the flavor, with a tiny hint of the brininess of the actual oyster.

Cured trout tartare
Ginger, cracker bits, parsley sauce - bits of fish that remind me of a delicate risotto due to their size.  Very strong fishy flavor. I think the variety of flavors that the chef could pack into a single dish was becoming evident.  I particularly liked the contrast of the parsley flavor, which gave a wider (for lack of a better description) flavor, against the sharper, more pointed fish flavor.

Shrimp risotto
A unique jelly-like substance covered the risotto, adding a somewhat neutralizing texture to things.  Nicely cooked shrimp, risotto almost with a flavor of a beef or chicken stock.  Dehydrated shrimp that was fried, causing them to pop - tastes like something in between the Chinese shrimp chips, Bugles and pork rinds.

Monk Fish
A really interesting sauce - like a complex fish paste, with bits of vegetable chunks, mussels, oysters and other seafood.  Very seafood-intense like some Thai fish sauces. Liked the crusting on the monk fish - the monk fish itself decent - not quite used to the more chewy texture of monk fish.

Found the pork jus they poured on it to be slightly overly salty.  But again a complex palette of flavors going on.  Sweet potato puree.  Slivers of potatoes nicely cooked.  Kale, that undercut the saltiness and was actually quite delicious in that respect.  Not quite as much of a fan of the deep-fried onions on top, which were essentially onion rings.

Cheese plate
- Holy smokes, the kid gloves are off.  Kudos to restaurant Eugene for serving up a cheese that was stinky and extremely strong and intense in flavor.  I personally can't say that this cheese was my favorite, but I applaud Restaurant Eugene for serving cheese that is not neutered down for popular consumption.
- Other things on the plate: apples slices, pomegranite seeds, swath of marshmellow (creme?) with honey, dab of fig sauce?  Walnut bread

Pre-dessert (wha? I thought this was a 5-course meal)
- Port poached grapefruit - interesting - slight sweetness on front-end, slight tartness on back
- Champagne jello - champagne flavor definitely comes through
- Barley streussel - pretty sweet
- ate it all, and appreciated the novelness of the flavors, textures, but I'm not quite sure this one succeeded, either separately or combined.  Just never really saw each of flavors of the elements making the others better.

Buttermilk Sorbet on top of poundcake, with cranberry consumee
- Ended strong.
- Intriguing - buttermilk sorbet - tastes like buttermilk in sorbet form.
- Cranberry cosnumee - a strong tartness (like cranberries have naturally), "cleansing" was how my better half put it.  Yet strangely, I did not like eating the three together, where some of the stronger flavors of each somehow negated one another.  For example, eaten together, the poundcake and consumee, made the cranberry taste almost like a Fruit Lifesaver.  The sorbet and poundcake, eaten together, covered up on the lovely milky taste of the sorbet.

I can't say that I loved all of the dishes, but I really liked the complexity and wide-range of flavors in each dish.  I also appreciated that the chef didn't hold back on offering bold/less familiar flavors (and smells).

We'll return when we can.

Restaurant Eugene
2277 Peachtree Road Northeast Atlanta, GA 30309 (Map)
(404) 355-0321

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