Cowboy Star - Foiehibition

>> Sunday, July 1, 2012

Date of Dining: 6/29/2012
Price: $90 for 3 course prix fixe (includes fundraiser for CHEFS)
Location: 640 Tenth Ave, San Diego, CA, 92101
website

The Quick Bit

+ great steaks
+ great menu beyond steak
Δ steak seasoning could be perfected

With the Californian ban on selling foie gras starting today, I didn't actively seek out opportunities to gorge myself on foie gras for the prior month even though many might have expected it. Mostly, this was because many of those chefs offering foie tasting menus seemed more about cashing in on the ingredient going away rather than actually supporting and lobbying for foie gras to stay. My friend Rodzilla has a great writeup about this. However as time was winding down, I did feel an urge to get some foie gras again; I just wanted to make sure I had it in a restaurant where the Chef actively supported getting the foie gras ban overturned.
My last post about Cowboy Star was during restaurant week where I covered a menu beyond the standard steaks. For what they were billing as Foiehibition, Cowboy Star offered a special Mighty Moulard Duck tasting menu. The idea was to have a celebration of the entire animal and not just focus on the foie gras. This was perfect for me as while I did want some foie gras, I wasn't ready for another four plus course tasting menu of foie gras.
mighty moulard tasting menu
While ordering drinks, I was directed to a new specialty cocktail that caught my eye:
hog ranch - bourbon, beef consommme, bacon lardons
One amazing part of this drink was the smell; the aromas of the consomme really permeated through the drink along with the smokiness of the bacon lardons. The drink was basically bouron on steroids - all the upfront flavor of the bourbon was there, but the beef consomme completely masked the burn, so that there was an incredibly smooth finish. The bacon lardons were cooked very well and added a nice smokiness.

Amuse

brioche, fig, balsamic reduction, goat cheese
A complimentary amuse is always provided by Cowboy Star. Unfortunately, I didn't think this one was balanced. While I wanted to get a large dose of fig, it was the one flavor that wasn't able to fight through the goat cheese, brioche, and balsamic.

First Course

yellow corn soup - sweet summer corn, watercress pistou
The soup was an extremely satisfying mouthful. While it was a hot soup, I felt this could have worked cold as well. The flavor of the corn was so sweet and concentrated that it was an extremely enjoyable flavor. Further, the mouth feel of the soup was silky smooth.
foie gras - seared foie, hickleberries, toasted brioche, vanilla infused salt
The foie gras was seared and seasoned to perfection. For my last piece of foie gras in California, I was extremely happy to have a perfectly seared piece to convey the purity of flavor that I would be missing. Most impressive was that it was not too oily. I was extremely happy with the pairing with huckleberries as they added the perfect mix of sweetness, tartness, and jaminess.

Second Course

buttermilk fried sweetbreads - apple savoy slaw, crispy potatoe, bourbon sauce
The sweetbreads were fried to perfection, and were a very generous portion. For those who love sweetbreads, these were prepared perfectly. For those that don't enjoy sweetbreads, this simple preparation is not going to win anyone over.
confit - confit of duck leg, frisee, preserved blood orange rinds, duck egg, foie gras crouton
This was my favorite course of the evening. The skin on the duck confit was crisped to perfection and all the elements of the duck were on display - rich gamey meat flavor, crispy savory skin, beautiful duck fat, and of course the foie gras. I'm glad that the croutons were not modified in any way and were merely more of the seared foie cubes. While this dish isn't going to win any awards, it was a great salute to the noble duck in all forms.

Third Course

18 oz cattleman cut rib chop
No visit to Cowboy Star is complete without an order of steak. Choosing to get an item with the bone in, we settled on the rib chop. The portion was extremely generous and the steak was cooked to our specifications. There was not really anything to complain about on the steak as it was very well executed.
roasted bone marrow
We also got an extra side of bone marrow to go with the steak, which we ate happily with the steak. I did think the bone marrow was a bit aggressively seasoned. I would have preferred to have them not season it and bring out a side of salt instead.
magret - pan roasted duck breast, braised turnips, crispy leeks, savory cherry sauce
The duck was cooked beautifully and the plating was done very well. The crispy leeks added a very nice depth of flavor to the duck and the turnips. The turnips were very well done also and contrasted the cherry sauce of the duck. Overall, this dish was a success and a great way to end the salute of the duck. I was actually happy that this dish didn't include any foie gras as it wasn't needed.

Conclusion

As I mentioned in the past Cowboy Star isn't just a great steakhouse, but it is also a great restaurant. I was really worried about gorging on foie gras, but I felt that in sharing the foie gras, I had just the perfect amount to say goodbye. I also felt that the menu to salute the duck was tasteful all around as well as to the idea that foie gras can be served in a tasteful manner. Cowboy Star re-affirmed their gigabyte award.

1 comments:

Rodzilla July 2, 2012 at 12:18 AM  

I like the idea of seared foie "croutons". Great choices aside from the prix fixe as well.

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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
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