Food has always been deeply rooted in my travels and at home. But what makes food good? Is it the cooking process, the flavors, the presentation, the pairings, the chef? Well, it’s all of those things. The chef makes everything work in conjunction to deliver patrons memorable dining experiences that should keep us wanting more.
What I love about doing a Chef’s Table is that it allows a chef to go off menu and really prepare something special that they have come up with. One of the things that I truly appreciate about Chef Alvin Dela Cruz (or Vinny as I call him) is that his food is always fantastic. He’s an extremely talented chef and prepares old favorites in new ways or creates new dishes with unexpected flavors.
Recently I indulged in a special Chef’s Table with Vinny and it was nothing short of spectacular. He pulled items from the fall menu and made special items to accompany it. If you want to challenge your palate to try something outside of the box and equally be blown away, then come dine with Chef Alvin Dela Cruz at West End Bistro.
I dined with a guest, so I will share all the dishes with you since I tried them all.
One simply doesn’t love a little goat cheese ball of goodness, am I right?
I loved this course a lot. For starters, I had never indulged in crispy pig ears and they are scrumptious AND the root vegetable salad was exploding with flavor. I love how Chef paired root vegetables with apples and challenged the dish with za’atar and labneh cheese. The flavor combinations really came together nicely.
Chef knows (now) that I don’t love scallops that much but we both tried them. My husband said they were incredible. I did taste mine and thought the flavor combination of pumpkin, pomegranate and cinnamon foam worked well. I wish I loved scallops more because this was definitely an out of the box idea that is just beautiful.
This was my favorite. Vinny made me a homemade pasta with lamb ragu that would just put Italian dishes to shame. Chef knows I love pasta and that is how you win me over. This was my first time eating a lamb ragu ever and I was really impressed with the flavors and how well they paired with the pasta. I thought the dish might be too heavy with the pasta but it wasn’t – the dish was perfect.
My husband got the lamb, which chef cooked sous vide. It was literally cooked to perfection. If I am being honest, we don’t eat lamb ever – BUT thanks to the Chef, I think this will become a more regular dish for us.
For this round I had the short ribs – which if I must say, were unbelievable! They were so tender that they nearly vaporized in my mouth. I couldn’t dream of preparing a dish so perfect.
My husband had the New York strip and its pairing were just right. I love that Chef did a texture of onions with this dish and a red wine jus.
Chef did a palate cleanser before dessert, and to be frank, I think it is brilliant what he did. He created a cucumber sorbet ball and poured a small amount of olive oil over it. What this dish does he told us, is that the olive oil coats your tongue and you can taste more of the flavors.
I ATE BOTH. My husband does not like cucumbers (but he did give it a try just to see) and I lucked out with both.
The last and final round, dessert. If you know me, you KNOW I have a mouth full of sweet teeth. I will choose dessert over all other things everyday.
I really love what they are doing with dessert here at West End Bistro! My husbands dessert, the key lime chocolate snow, is the most inventive dessert I think I have ever seen. But wait – it actually tastes amazing. It looks very interesting, like mounds of snow and includes key lime cream, pink peppercorn meringue, rum gelée, and white chocolate cream. Its truly a work of art.
Two additional desserts were brought out, the french apple tart and the s’mores. I tasted both and they were just insanely delicious.
It’s almost unfair how talented Chef Alvin Dela Cruz is. He has more talent in his hands than most of us could fathom to imagine. You have this brilliant chef challenging what we know as food and pushing us to step outside our comfort zone. And that is exactly what its about. To be a good chef you have to challenge us. You have to make us say “what is this and how did you come up with it?”
*Disclaimer: I was hosted by West End Bistro, but as always, opinions are entirely my own.