We are now back home in Colorado and have been for a month or so. We really enjoyed the tasting menu's and decided that we will try to go to a new (to us) restaurant once a month. The first place we chose was the Black Cat in Boulder. http://www.blackcatboulder.com/ with chef Eric Skokan. The space is pretty small and tables set close together so sometimes you feel a bit crowded, but the food and the service more than made up for the close quarters and the fun "sofa" chairs would be great for a date. We decided starting with this meal that we are going to rate the restaurants with our own personal 1-10 scale with the base being Per SE as a 10. Overall we both came away very happy with our meal here and would go again. Well I will talk a bit more on the overall experience at the end - but for now on with the meal.
****************We have a interview in September with Chef Skokan*****************
Roasted artichoke with pine nut crumbles and mint from the chefs garden.
This was very tasty and just the right size. The mint flavor just mixed in very well with the flavors of the artichoke. A great start to a meal.I also want to add before we were given this we were both offered fresh white or wheat bread and the choice of olive oil or butter, both the breads and the butter were fantastic and we were told the bread came from a local bakery
Homemade mozzarella with rosemary coulis and capers.
This was VERY good. The rosemary was very prominent and the cheese was smooth and just wonderful tasting. This also included a small piece of bread and I used it to soak up the last of the coulis. This is one of 2 dishes that really had me wishing for more and when I think back on the evening it is one of the first items I think of.
Diver scallop with blue crab quenelle with a lemon sauce and fresh greens from the chef’s garden.
Another big winner. I am not a huge scallop fan and my wife even less so but the taste of this with the crab was great and it had a surprisingly rich texture. Barb did get a bit of grit in her's however. Regardless this ended up being a great dish. HOWEVER there was one major problem. When the meal started we were asked if there was anything special we wanted off the menu and we picked two items (more on that latter), but we also mentioned that Barb is somewhat allergic to scallops and we requested to make sure we did not get any for her. But they brought this out any way and had completly forgot we had said that. Just so you know, there was no allergic reaction to this....
Blue crab soufflé and lump blue crab with a watercress coulis.
The soufflé was my wife’s favorite dish of the evening and was up there with mine. Never really thought of putting crab together with a pastry but darn it was good. It was served nice and warm and seemed nearly like a crab desert. The lump crab teamed well with it as it was served cold and the contrasting temperatures and textures was very nice.
Duck comfit with red onion and barley.
The duck had a great rich flavor and the barley just seemed to add to the overall taste but I did not care much for the onion that came with it. My wife’s duck had a very large piece of skin and that took away a lot of the pleasure from the dish for her.
Braised Salmon with red lentils and curry emulsion.
Ok, here was the one and only loser of the evening. The salmon did not seem well cooked at all and the curry emulsion was just way too powerful. One up side of this was the very top of the salmon. It was seared very well and if the whole dish had the flavor of that crisp top it would have been great. Another downer of this one was the server asked us if there was anything on the menu we definately wanted
included as I said earlier and we pointed at a salmon dish that was on the menu but this is not what was listed but it was what we were given.
Quail Farsi with toasted zucchini and fried potatoes.
I loved the rich gamey flavors of the quail and the zucchini and the potatoes complimented it well.
Miso duck and duck comfit spring roll.
Ok we thought we were finished with that last dish and we were both pretty full but thought it was odd we had not received a desert. The waitress came by and replaced our silverware with a new set including a meat knife so were like “whoa there is more”? A definite double edged sword on one side as it’s wonderful to get extra courses from such a talented chef but already being fairly full, more rich meat courses were hard to fully enjoy. What we had for number eight was Miso duck and a duck comfit spring roll. The miso duck for me was a big WOW, YUMMM - my favorite of the evening. My wife enjoyed the spring roll more but I found it to be a bit tough.
"Steak and Eggs” braised veal with a poached egg with farmhouse greens.
We were very full at this point and my wife could only eat a few bites. I enjoyed the great taste of the perfectly cooked braised veal and of course a poached egg is always nice. If I had not been as full I think this would of been a highlite as well but as it was I was entirely too full to truly enjoy it.
Desert course: Coffee ice cream, 2 small cookies and chocolate pot o crème.
OK, we were stuffed up to the eyeballs but we had to find room for this, lol. The pot o crème was so very chocolaty and rich it almost made you gasp at the taste. The ice cream and cookies were both good but that chocolate was a taste bud explosion.
That was the meal with the exception of the salmon we loved every course. The only quips are the scallop incident and 2 minor quips at first-the pacing seemed very fast and almost rushed but as the meal went on it got slower and slower till near the end felt far too slow but in all reality that is just a minor thing.
Two other little things of note-the ice teas we had was a choice of were Earl grey and a peppermint tea. I tried both and enjoyed them greatly. The total cost of our little trip for the two of us was $159.22 not bad really when you consider all that we were given it was slightly cheaper than degustation in New York City (see previous post) and over all a better meal and though this meal did not have any perfect 10s it did have several 8's and 2 9's.
Our overall rating was a 8.15 out of 10 ( edit: after a bit of talk we decided to add .75 to any meal that had a 5 course or larger tasting menu due to difficulty) which isnt bad when you consider it is being weighed against Per Se :) Well anyway this catches us up on the blog except for some fixes here and there you probably wont hear from me again till next month unless something strange happens and we go out before then. If anyone has any questions or
suggestions for places to visit please let us know and thanks for stopping by.
7/21/2008 Wanted to add a side note I decided to write to the chef of the Black Cat regarding the incident with the scallop he very promptly wrote me back and let us know it was a miss communication in the kitchen and he has talked with his staff to help prevent problems in the future. I really was torn on writing to him with this because I did not wish it to sound like we did not have a great meal but in the end I decided he would probably want to know and I was very pleased with his quick response to the issue!
Mom Is Moving to Colorado!
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