Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Checked out Acqua at the Mission Bay Hilton for Restaurant Week this season and I was pleasantly surprised.  I normally don't expect very much from a hotel restaurant.  Especially when my friend and I arrived to an almost empty restaurant with no host(ess) in sight.  Luckily, one of the other staff members noticed us standing there and took it upon himself to get us seated.  Once we were seated, things started to get rolling.  The gentleman who seated us came back with a basket of rolls and asked us to select from at least 3 different types.  I usually prefer having the bread basket left at the table, but not in this case.  My rosemary bread tasted like it was fresh out of the oven.  The butter was whipped and at the perfect temperature for spreading.  As soon as I finished the last bite of my roll, there he was again with the basket!  Each roll was warm and tasted oven fresh.
The server came over shortly after we were seated and set down our complimentary glasses of champagne, which was a little fruity and sweet.  Then returned with an amuse bouche, compliments of the chef.  Isn't it just so pretty!?!  The acidity from the drizzle of sauce balanced out perfectly with the saltiness of the generous piece of pancetta, sliver of beet and shaving of parmesan (?).  The apricot preserve that the red endive lettuce was sitting on provided just the right amount of sweetness when I picked it all up and ate it in one perfect bite.
One may argue that I was bribed and therefore can no longer be trusted.  To this, I say: Yeah, I can be bought.  But when the chef and kitchen puts this much effort into conceptualizing and then executing that perfect bite with a freebie, I get really excited thinking about the food that I'm actually paying for.  I mean, they set the bar pretty high with this first bite.
The empty tables started filling up by the time our appetizers arrived.  My friend gave me a taste of her 5-Spice Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  It was very creamy with a hint of savory.  The generous pieces of lobster meat was served on the side for the diner to mix into the soup so that it would not sit in the hot soup and become tough and stringy.  I almost wished I had ordered that, until I tasted my perfectly cooked jumbo seared diver scallops.  The chantrelle mushrooms were cooked to a perfect crispiness.  I love crispy mushrooms.  I don't know what that foam is that's sitting on top, but I hardly noticed it.  Again, I love pancetta. 

My friend's filet mignon was so melt-in-your-mouth tender that it could be baby food.  Why can't all steaks be cooked like that?  WHY!?!?!  The chef recommended medium rare for my venison.  Note to self: Always order rare.  The general population might like their meat pink (or worse, well done to death).  I like my red meats red.  The acidity from the calvados sauce and the sweetness from the slices of grilled asian pear balanced out the gaminess of the venison with out covering it up.  I love gamey meats, alot of my friends don't.  I think if they had this, they could be converted.  I thought my sauteed spinach was too salty, but I always complain about too much salt when everyone else swears its perfectly seasoned.  The rosemary aroma also added a little something something to the taste of the meat with out really flavoring it.  I don't know how that happened, it just did.
Does my main course look really skimpy for a main course?  Well, I didn't photograph the bowl of spaetzle that came with my venison.  It was sauteed in butter to a nice golden brown.  It heated up wonderfully for my lunch the next day.  How was it you ask?  It was sauteed in butter, need I say more?
Have you ever been full but couldn't stop eating because what's in front of you is just too good for you to stop?  That's what happened when I got my crepe w/ vanilla gelato.  The marzipan filling was so addictive that I couldn't stop.  Anyone know where I can get a whole jar of this stuff?
Props to our server and the rest of the staff for always showing up exactly on our last bite to clear away the plates and making sure the kitchen fired the next dish at the exact perfect moment.  Each dish tasted like it was just cooked at that exact moment and we didn't have to wait in between each course.

No comments:

Post a Comment