October at O’s
NOTE Chef Kleinman has now moved away from O's and has his own catering business where he brings the magic of Molecular gastronomy to your home or party!
Hi all, Barb and I made it out to O’s in Westminster and had a very fun meal. http://www.westindenverboulder.com/page.php?url=restaurant). Chef Kleinman also has a blog that is alot of fun to look at www.food102.blogspot.com
Chef Ian Kleinman does what he calls a Molecular Gastronomy tasting menu on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and it is a very fun meal to experience. I say fun, because that’s exactly what it is. A sense of excitement and curiosity is in the air throughout the meal as we talked and wondered what the next item will be even though you have the menu in front of you, made it particularly fun for us. Questions like What is "Space Foam"? "Is it a drink, a dessert? and then finding out when he made it table side.
This sense of excitement and fun goes right along with Chef Kleinman’s thoughts on cooking. While we were speaking to him, he said, "To me it’s just as important for a meal to be fun as good because it’s the fun meal that you will be talking about and thinking about for years to come". I think he is correct at this, because I know that Barb, myself and our friend Elena, who came with us, spoke about the meal and the experience all the way home and days later. Even a few weeks later in other meals, our experience there came up.
One more little note before we get started with the meal after much debate we decided not to rate this meal because there is just no basis for a rating on a lot of the items. I mean how do you rate "space foam" or a foam that has a taste that hits like a truck yes it is very good but we just can’t figure out how to add on for the creative nature and the fun factor this meal had. I say it at the end and I will say it now you just have to give this a try.
Here is a picture of the Dining Room.
We were there pretty early in the evening so the room was still pretty empty. However, the tables are spread out enough you would not feel crowded here regardless.
We went, as I mentioned for the Molecular Gastronomy menu which changes week to week and this week the first thing out was:
Last of the year's Tomatoes from Chef Kleinman’s garden, Prosciutto Cream, Hazelnuts, and Balsamic Textures.
He said: Balsamic textures? What the heck are Balsamic textures? Well, the brown foam you see on the left side of the picture was Balsamic Foam, and you look at something like that all fluffy and light and expect this will have a very mellow mild taste. I took a fried tomato and very generously dipped it in the foam and SLAM! My goodness, a taste explosion went off in my mouth. My eyes grew wide and I could not connect mentally the foam in front of me with such a bold wonderful taste. I went back again and this time putting just a dab on a bit of cherry tomato and sure enough that foam had more taste in it than any regular sauce I had ever had. I was just amazed. Then came the Balsamic caviar (the little black dots you see on the right and throughout). After the foam, I was thinking, well if foam delivered such a mouthful of flavor these are going to just be over the top. Well, I was wrong. These had a nice soft delicate flavor and a more solid texture. It really changes your expectations of food. The dish was pretty cool and that’s not a phrase I use for food often.
She said: I'm not usually a tomato fan, but this dish was very nice and light. A good mixture of textures and tastes. Unlike my husband, I don't just "dig in" to something I'm not sure of, so I didn't get the overpowering flavors of the balsamic as he did. I daintily dipped my tomato in, and the combination was delightful.
Carbonated Black Plums, Berbere Shrimp, Yuzu, Yogurt Powder, and Baby Corn.
He Said: Ok I always try to get a bite of everything in my first nibble to see how all the elements work together, as it went into my mouth there was mass confusion. I think every taste bud in my mouth fired at one time, the yogurt powder was tart, the yuzu was sweet citrus, the plums very sweet and juicy, then add in the shrimp which going to sound odd almost tasted a little like sausage. With all this going on at one time, I literally sat there kind of stunned for a second while my mouth had the flavor equivalent of a full mouth full of pop rocks going off. After that I went a bit more slowly trying to taste everything by itself, and this with that and way too soon the dish was done. Looking back I can't say that this was a great shrimp dish as the seasoning really made it not taste entirely like shrimp, however, I will say it is a great dish by itself because the flavors were fantastic regardless I really liked this.
She said: This dish was very well presented with the orchid (edible) and the plating. But, once you find out what it is, then you taste it - it doesn't make sense. As Jonathan mentioned it had a sausage taste to it, which was just wrong (not bad mind you, just wrong). This is shrimp, I expected shrimp flavors. But, all in all I enjoyed this dish, but I think with the expectation of shrimp, my taste buds played a trick on me.
3rd course and this one needs several shots
Chef getting ready to put the "Space Foam” in the liquid nitrogen.
Space Foam in the liquid nitrogen
Space foam on the plate.
He said: We saw this little menu item and honestly had no idea what to think, space foam what the heck it could be. Then the chef came out with the liquid nitrogen and stuff on the cart and we were all just fascinated while he explained that the liquid was at -320 degrees and he had to play around with different textures and mixtures to get the mixture of port wine syrup, heavy cream and gelatin just right so it would come out the way it did. The only way I can really describe this was it tasted like a cream puff. The outside texture was like pastry and the inside was a nice cream flavor. The taste and texture were just great and it does make you go mmmmm.
She said: We were all pondering what on earth Space Foam could be. Was it a fizzy drink, a block of foam? When Ian came out and explained it all, it was interesting to watch as he made it. It was delicious! Like Jonathan said, it tasted like a cream puff. The crunchy pastry with the gooey middle. I could have four courses of Space Foam and be very happy.
Sou-vide New York Strip, and Truffle Sauce, Pepper Butter Chapstick, Stewed Cipolin in Duck Fat, and Tarragon.
He said: Yes that is a Chap Stick container on the plate and no I did not put it there myself. It contained a fantastic butter which you put on your steak just like you would use chap stick on your lips. This was the least inventive course of the evening but by no means was it bad. The steak was very tender and cooked perfectly and the butter added a great peppery taste alongside the truffle sauce’s deep rich flavor. The onions were very good and really, how can you go wrong with onions with a ducky flavor.
She said: If you look at the picture closely, you see the chapstick sitting on a tomato shaped like lips (very clever and a little odd all at once). Anyway, this dish was very good, but not out of this world (Space Foam reference). I like the onions and meat mixture. The flavors were nice and easy on the palate. I think after the molecular Space Foam, we were expecting something like that again and our expectations were set too high, because this was a great dish all on its own (but we were getting spoiled by science).
The cart that came out to make the Ice cream.
Chef Kleinman’s witches brew
Pineapple and Candy Ginger Ice Cream with Baby Kiwi and a Sugar/Macadamia Nut Crumble - made tableside with liquid nitrogen.
He said: Wow, ok if you have never had ice cream made this way you need to and soon. I have never tasted an ice cream that was this smooth and creamy, the baby kiwi was room temperature and of course the ice cream had just been made at -320 degrees, so the temperatures played off each other and the flavors just danced in your mouth.
She said: It's always fun to see your food made, and this was no exception. You can tell that Chef Ian really enjoys this part of his job. He's very engaged and smiling as he works his magic. I've never had kiwi before, so I was a little intrigued and skeptical about this dish. But I do love ice cream, so it couldn't be bad. Wow, what wonderful flavor combinations. The crunchy nut topping, the ginger ice cream and the kiwi were just wonderful mixtures in my mouth. The very cold ice cream, the warm kiwi
were just powerful yummy flavors.
Numbers and such: The meal itself is a set $50 dollars per person and is well worth it for your night’s food and entertainment. Chef Kleinman also took the time to answer a few questions with us and we will have those up in an article next week!
Final words: If you read this article and are on the edge and not sure if you would want to try it, GO, you will like it. If you don't think this is your sort of thing, GO, I bet you will change your mind. If you really liked what you saw, GO, and drag your friends along as well. In short, GO to O's and soon you will be saying "Ooooo that is good. When you go let Chef Kleinman know you heard about the menu here and say hello for us!
Thanks as always for stopping by our Colorado food blog. We enjoy sharing the Colorado restaurants we visit with you as well the restaurants where we travel. If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you either by a comment here or by emailing us at jonathan@milehigheater or barb@milehigheater.
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