black garlic soubise, bronzino, buddha's delight, chef thang le, chinese new year, congee quinoa, lotus rice, moon cake, orange creamsicle panna cotta, pickled sardines, pig tongue, pop up, pork neck and prawn banh coun, quail, scallops, smoked trout roe, tasting menu, toki underground, xo sauce, year of the dragon
When I saw that Toki Underground was hosting two special pop-up tasting menus for Chinese New Year, I was ecstatic. I quickly called and was one of the lucky ones to snag a reservation for Chef Thang Le’s dinner on Tuesday night.
I was so excited, that there was almost a fear of unrealistic expectations. But Chefs Le and Yang did not disappoint.
I won’t even attempt to pick a favorite course because I simply could not get enough of all the courses, but in summary:
Wish It Was Available in Bulk: Course 2 – the black garlic soubise that accompanied the perfectly prepared scallops and pickled sardines, pomegranate, and turnips.
Best Reinvention: Course 3 – congee quinoa, pig tongue, apples, charred lettuce, soft egg. Pure. Genius. See before and after photos below.
Biggest Surprise: Course 4 – “Buddha’s Delight” of barley, beets, cabbage, carrots, garlic, onions, pumpkin . . . “dressed” in “vinaigrette” in powder form. Normally, the vegetarian course of a meal is boring or sort of the throw away course for me. But Course 4 was probably one of the best preparations of vegetables I’ve ever had!
Most Impressive Culinary Trick: Course 6 – A deboned yet still whole(!) bronzino, bamboo shoots, pumpkin, and grapes. I wish I knew how for my whole steamed red snapper.
If the Toki’s Year of the Dragon Tasting Menu is indicative of how the coming year is going to be . . . I can’t wait!