A few weeks ago Foodbuzz did a call for submissions for its 24, 24, 24 event: 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blog Posts. I did a quick think-through of ideas and decided on a whim to propose a chef’s tasting at Zebra, a fancy French restaurant that we have always wanted to go to but haven’t had the opportunity –
The contemporary French restaurant is so fancy, Kath and Matt, being ultimate foodies, have yet had the chance to go since moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. Zebra’s wild chef prepares a 10 course tasting menu each night to tempt guests with an amuse-bouche, foie gras, shellfish, sorbet, fowl, lamb, cheese, and dessert. …..
……Folks have said Kath resembles a goat (and hey, she’ll eat most anything!), and Matt’s nickname isn’t Kanzi because he knows sign language – he actually does a great monkey impression and is covered in fur. What better setting to enjoy each other’s company than a jungle of delectable bites at Zebra.
Our wish was granted a few days later, and I promptly made reservations for the 10-course tasting menu! I was shocked we’d been accepted and beside-myself excited.
Tonight we got all fancied up in heels, a coat and a tie and headed out. It took 10 minutes just to read about all the courses to come!
Upon seating, we were presented with the Castlblanch Reserve Brut Cava from Spain. I decided that I probably would be better off without 10 courses of wine, so the husband got the wine flight and I sipped off of his. But the Cava was on the house!
We enjoyed every sip (A little deer in the headlights below!)
The first course was Cornets of Salmon Tartare with Creme Fraiche. A sweet sugar cone with salmon and a ridiculously good creamy filling in the point. (I photographed it on my pat of butter 😉 )
We were served bread throughout the evening, which I tried to avoid to keep myself from filling up, but MY GOSH this was an amazing roll. So salty! I am used to Great Harvest’s sweet breads and this roll was such a pleasant contrast. Kinda like pretzel dough. I had 2 throughout the evening – to cleanse my palate!
Course #2 was Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Virginia Nectarine Compote and Petite Green Lentil Cake. Now, I know what foie gras is, and wouldn’t normally ever choose to eat it, but this was a “When In Rome” situation so I hope you all will forgive me. It was perfectly seared and the ’06 Selak Ice Wine from New Zealand served with it couldn’t have been a more perfect match.
(I’ll use this moment to let you know that I didn’t eat everything you see. Probably 75% of each portion and shared some bites with the husband, who is a bottomless pit).
Course #3 featured Pan-Seared North Atlantic Swordfish, Caper Lemon Risotto, Nicoise Olives, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Coulis along with the ’05 Tensley Cam 4 of Santa Barbara, which was the most amazing white blend. The swordfish was hearty and delicious, but my favorite part were the olives and capers in the risotto – and the big parmesan cracker!
#4 on the menu was Butter Poached Maine Lobster and Avocado with Tomato Confit and Saffron Creme. My favorite part was actually the tomatoes on the bottom – they were like a cross between a hearty tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes. Mmmm!
This was served with the ’06 BV Reserve Chardonnay from Carneros.
Then came the fun part – Zebra’s Floating Sorbet. This was a scoop of Lychee sorbet served over a frozen iced champagne pond.
We were instructed to “break the ice” and then let the sorbet melt into the champagne layer.
I told the husband I’d trade him bites of my meats if he gave me his champagne. What a gentleman 😉
But I did give him some more spoonfuls –
For course #6 we were served Griddled Palmetto Farms Squab Breast, Assorted Mushrooms and Rosemary Scented Squab Glace. What a cool bowl!!
The squab was perfectly rare, but the sauce was my favorite part – so tangy!
The bird was served with the ’06 Shadow Mountain Pinot Noir, Willamette.
Course #7 was Lamb Tenderloins Diablo with Whole Grain Mustard Yukon and Chevre Mash, Swiss Chard and Glace d’ Agneau, which translates to lamb over goat cheese mashed potatoes!!! I think I ate the most of this course, and this was also the point when I started to feel very full. The lamb was served with the ’05 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville – questionably our favorite wine of the night for its inky characteristics!?
Then came the salad, course #8. Micro Arugula Salad with Sheep’s Milk Roquefort, Sugar Roasted Walnuts and Pear, which I swear had lavender in it.
The pear was out of this world, and there’s a huge hunk of salty cheese hiding in the greens!
The salad was served with the Dow’s Ten Year Porto of Portugal. SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!
As we wrapped the savory courses, we had a cappuccino, which was so delicious and came with a crunchy biscotti. My stomach would have been happier without this, but my mouth won the war.
And then came the Pre Dessert, which was a Salted Caramel Cream served over a Sesame Toffee. This salty caramel iced cream may have been my favorite bite of the night!
And then the grande finale – the Souffle of the Evening – a Raspberry Cream Souffle. It was served piping hot, and our server poured a hot raspberry cream into the middle tableside.
I did a number on that one! I bet the staff was shocked by the amount of food we ate
By this point we were starting to moan (in private, of course!) until a small plate of Friandises was delivered. I have no idea how, but I found room for the dark chocolates! We literally hobbled out of the restaurant!
I wish I could show you a before and after of my stomach, but the husband says that would be unladylike
We are going to digest more before laying horizontal – perhaps another It’s Always Sunny is in store!?