|Vai Restaurant (Press Photo)|
I was immediately greeted by our lovely server Anays and a cucumber martini made from gin infused cucumber mixed with fresh cucumber and lime juices. As I write this, it occurs to me that it could have been a bit incongruous with the cold winter weather, but instead of feeling too summery, it served as the perfect palette cleanser and opener.
Shortly thereafter, the bread arrived with a trio of roasted garlic, eggplant puree, and cranberry bean salad. They said they don't make the bread in house, but you could've fooled me since it tasted fresh out of the oven. They must get a daily supply.
The first course was the hamachi and yellowfin tuna duo served over avocado with preserved ginger sauce. The ginger sauce gave it a hint of sweetness that you don't find in your typical tuna tartare. What a great, light way to start a meal. (Note that since we were doing a tasting menu, this portion is about half the size of the normal serving.) This was paired with a Sparkling Rose from Modelet. I am ALL about the Sparkling Rose right now, so they were already winning me over with this choice.
|Bread with Trio of Accompaniments|
|Hamachi & Yellowfin Tuna Duo|
|Pan Roasted Sea Scallops|
On to the third course, charred octopus with jalapeno pesto and crisp fingerling potato served with a Pinot Noir from Relativity Vineyards. This dish was HOT. Even, I, the Queen of Spice, thought this dish had some serious kick- so if you are not a spicy food eater- stay away. But if you like a nice kick in the pants, do not miss this dish. Surprisingly, the real heat doesn't come from the jalapeno pesto, but from the calabrian chili-garlic. (Note that this is the same chili-garlic in the spaghetti in New Zealand cockles). The octopus was tender and crunchy and not a bit chewy. I would be tempted to proclaim this my favorite dish of the evening...
|Whole Roasted Branzino|
By this time we were incredibly satisfied, so it was the perfect time to wrap up the evening with dessert. We enjoyed a sweet Passito wine from L'Ecru with our, not one, but three delectable dishes. An almond pot de creme (which is served at the end of every meal), a passion fruit semifreddo, and a frozen chocolate mousse. While the chocolate mousse sounds like the most boring of three, it stole the show. It had an amazingly, rich and creamy texture and was perfectly highlighted by the mascarpone, espresso sauce.
|Almond Pot de Creme,|
Passion Fruit Semifreddo,
& Frozen Chocolate Mousse
|Chef Vincent Chirico|
*My meal was provided by the restaurant as part of a Press Dinner.
Update: I also just found out that when the weather warms up they will add an additional outdoor cafe- so add this to your list of outdoor dining finds for this summer!