Being a professional in the food world has its drawbacks. Coming across a meal that satisfies, entertains and refreshes is a rarity. The usual story is constant disappointment by wannabe overachievers stumbling over their own ideas or a kitchen staff that couldn't care less about the quality of their product or their opportunity to produce a moment of joy for the diner. At Sea has a dedicated staff who knows their product well and cares deeply about food, its trends and their relationship to it all. Their presentation is everything that comes to mind when you hear the words "modernist cuisine" but as exhausting as that may sound, don't let it deter you. The 5 course tasting menu is thought-out and structured with care, as it should be. Many disregard that essential principle and inundate the diner with too much in their overzealous attempt to provide variety under the guise of value. Restraint may be the virtue most lacking among young chefs.
The ceviche was glorious and subtle, fresh with its hints of cucumber and the added richness of aioli. The whipped, smoked butter was an unexpected gem. The celery salad amuse bouche inspired me for my next appetizer course. The smoked salmon with barley, mustard and hollandaise was delicate and displayed a professional approach that left me confident as to what was to come. The caprese salad interpretation was fun and refreshing. The ribeye and asparagus, my least favorite, was satisfying and the stewed leak and demi glace pulled the whole dish together. My complaints? I wish that chefs would bump up the final savory course in size to give the meal a sense of wholeness....a signal that things are coming to an end.
Honestly, I'm sick of tasting menus and I'm exhausted by gels, foams and microgreens but At Sea made me feel like I was doing it for the first time. Cheers.
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