April 25, 2012

La Degustation Boheme Bourgeouise

One of the most interesting culinary experiences thus far has been at La Degustation; a noveou Bohemian restaurant located in the Jewish quarter. Although the food is based on traditional Bohemian and Czech recipes, the restaurant and its dishes are anything but. Everything from the sleek open-faced kitchen to the gastronomical tasting menu screams modern and invention. It was also dubbed the best restaurant of the Czech Republic in 2009 and one of two restaurants in Prague to hold a Michelin star. We stopped by for lunch to try out the "Degustation de Jour" which allowed us to select however many of the 7 dishes of the day. It was I must say a hit and miss type of meal. Who knows, maybe the food was a little "too innovative" for our taste buds but the quality of the food and its preparation were some of the best I have ever seen. 

Chefs hard at work
Amuse bouche of beef tar tar
Spring root with truffle
Duck liver with pistachio, raisin, white chocolate and gelatin
Case in point were the appetizers we decided upon. The truffle/vegetable dish was light and a perfect start tot the meal but even I couldn't get past the duck liver paste. It was served on a bed of gelatin and topped with an odd combination of white chocolate, raisins and nuts. All of which I would love as additions to a dessert but not with duck liver.

Handmade pasta with beef tongue
Fried fish over raspberry puree 
The pasta dish was served with a light soy sauce/vinegar mixture, something I had never seen before. It kept the pasta very light and reminded me more of a salad dish as opposed to a pasta dish. Not surprisingly, this was V's favorite dish as he likes anything resembling noodles. The fish, perhaps a cod?, was fried perfectly. The vegetables it was served with were pretty much raw and had a sharp bite to them which cut down on the greasiness of the fish (not that it was greasy to begin with). Once again, a very interesting and somewhat disconcerting combination of textures and flavors.

Pork bellly and polenta with berry reduction and cornflakes 
For our final dish, we both opted for the pork belly. This was my favorite although I couldn't understand why there were mini cornflakes on my plate. The polenta was absurdly creamy and resembled more of dense mousse than something made from corn. Everything balanced each other quite well.

Marzipan pastry
As a parting gift, we received these Neapolitan-like pastries which had something resembling marzipan in between the layers. It was a rather dense dessert but not overtly sweet and made for a lovely afternoon snack.

All in all, I can see why there so much hurray around La Degustation. Its one of the most unique culinary experiences I have ever encountered and is a refreshing change after plates on plates of heavy goulash with gravy. Even in NYC standards, I think the food is progressive and I appreciate the restaurant's constant attempts at innovation. Of course, I'm not saying I would always want to have a meal like this but I'm glad I did :)

No comments:

Post a Comment