remember casey thompson from top chef season 3? she was like a dark horse that season, not showing how really strong she was until the second half. she recently opened aveline in san francisco but had gotten a bad review from michael bauer. i am always trying to support top chef alumni (and there are a lot in the bay area!), so i decided to check it out for myself.
starting out with the crab macaron, they come out in a box like a real french macaron. cute but kinda waste of paper with the box.
then we had the salad with albacore, plums, horseradish, pickled tapioca, and baby mustards. an interesting presentation and delicious flavors but you had to really work hard yourself to get everything in one bite.
then came the yolk beignet – duck egg yolk in a seet bread with wagu and lard on top and a trotter sauce. i was expect something delcious and deep fried with the name beignet, but it ended up being not very appetizing and a weird concept.
you had me at fried chicken (see post “i love me some fried chicken!”). this was absolutely delicious – chicken was moist and cooked perfectly. the batter was just like willie mae’s in new orleans (the place often noted as having the best friend chicken in the country). it is served with pickled baby vegetables, kimchee powder, and dots of a pepper sauce. best thing there and i would totally eat this again.
and then the campenelle with the pig cheeks, smoked yogurt, and crackling. super duper rich and honestly we only ordered for the cracklings.
i saw tonite as kinda what i expected from casey after watching the show. when she is focused on one dish, it can be fantastic – like with the fried chicken. add more to the list and then things start to not make sense (i.e. yolk beignet) or over thought (boxing of the macrons or the presentation of the albacore), and you lose a little of the great cooking that she is know for. her wait staff also tried to serve our meal as if we were in a multi-course dining situation and the meal took FOREVER. i didn’t come for that experience and the food did not match that level of dining, so the long wait in between dishes just made me annoyed more than anything else.