Sunday, October 31, 2010

WA Restaurant

When your executive chef of a 1200+ room resort, who has worked in every major country in the world tells you what one of the top 3 restaurants in Orlando is...... you check it out. WA restaurant is a modern Japanese Fusion restaurant on the back skirts of Turkey Lake behind Universal Studios. Honestly unless you really look and use your iPhone, you probably will not find it. It is so hidden in a empty administrative building located on the first floor. When you enter you can already tell that it has the modern decor and ambiance, maybe 12 tables and a few armchairs around a 52' flat screen.
We went at 7pm and the place was dead, 3 tables other than us, which to me is a good thing because you can get better service and take advantage of other little perks. Before we ordered dinner the server brought out an amuse for us which was stir fried shitaki mushrooms tossed in white soy sauce. The dish that the soy sauce came in was cool so I actually took a picture of it.
We ordered 10 dishes and I asked the server to bring the food out in courses. The first course was 2 sushi rolls and we also got a traditional Japanese beer Asahi. The Wa Roll was Tempura shrimp, Krab, Avocado, salmon and a coconut curry sauce and we also got the tempura veggie roll.
2nd Course was Chef's special for the night, Hirame (Japanese Flounder) with lemon and Himalayan Pink Salt. My fiance's favorite dish of the whole night.
The 3rd Course was one of the best of the night in my opinion, Big Eye Tuna with seared Foie Gras and Scallion Oil.
The 4th Course was a seafood ceviche which had octopus, shrimp, conch, squid, caviar, Asian pear and citrus broth. Amazing to say the least.
The 5th Course started the Fusion menu which was Pork Belly, panko fried scallop, sweet nappa kimchi and scallion.
The 6th Course was Quail, with edamame, pork belly, apple, in a pork jus/apple cider broth. Spot ON!
The 7th Course was a European style dish sauteed shrimp, seared scallop, caramelized onions, pancetta, risotto cake in a spicy cream sauce.
The 8th Course was a miso bouillabaisse that had clam, mussels, shrimp, scallop, seared grouper and a piece of toasted bread. One of my favorites of the whole night.
The last course we got was dessert, which was Green Tea Creme Brulee. It was pretty good, strong green tea taste and really creamy.
Between all these courses the server gave us two bottles of hot sake on the house, since he said "We know how to eat and the course style reminds him of when he worked for Norman in Miami." Overall the food was fantastic and all on point, 9.5/10. I have eaten at many of the other fine dining and elegant places in Orlando like Normans, Primo, Bluezoo, Hue and now Wa. I have to agree that Wa was in the top 3 best meals Ive had in Orlando besides Bluezoo and Normans. In the next two-three weeks I'm going to try to get to the Ravenous Pig, which is supposed to be another top 3 competitor....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carrot Chili Sauce

I have always been infatuated with Asian cuisine and culture every since i could remember. I appreciate the quality and consistency of the food and the time it takes to prepare things such as Pho. The pickled Thai bird chili's I did earlier came out good, really spicy but i sliced them paper thin with a dish I came up with for the tasting menu a few weeks back and it balanced nicely. Grilled King Salmon with Miso Silky Potato, edamame puree, ponzu air, and the sliced pickled Thai birds.

So we still had some of those Thai bird chili's left at the job so between the 350, 400, and 550 covers we have done consecutively I managed to make a Asian inspired carrot chili sauce. I sweated out some shallot, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and the Thai birds. Reduced some orange juice till it was almost a glaze and then added carrot juice and reduced that. Blended the liquid and the shallot, peppers, garlic and ginger mixture with a little xanthan gum and olive oil. The heat creeps up on the palate and then the carrot smooths it out with the sweetness.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jr. Sous Chef Tasting

I have been creating my menu for a tasting that i did today for a Jr. sous chef position at the hotel. It was a stress full and adrenaline filled couple of days and especially hours leading up to the tasting. I created a menu that took my different cooking techniques I've learned and different textures for the components. It was a 5 course tasting for the big chefs at the job, and overall the reaction was pretty good. They liked almost everything and explained to me few things that fell short. Overall a great learning experience and I am totally humble to every critique they gave me and i appreciate the opportunity to showcase my food. The only course not shown was the Lobster Ceviche with avocado relish, tomato paper, and coriander oil. I will know the outcome next week when the 2 other people are finished with their tasting/interviews. Thank you to everyone who gave me the encouragement and support through a important time in my career.

Raw Hamachi with edamame puree, soy pudding, cucumber kimchi, and yuzu air(not shown)

Opakapaka- FORVM glazed pearl onions, roasted cauliflower, braised baby fennel, organic white carrot puree, and shellfish froth.

Deconstructed Arroz con Pollo- Mojo infused Poussin, puffed riced, olive fluid gel, plantains, aiji mojili(spicy red sofrito)

Waygu Strip- 3way Potato(sweet potato foam, truffle finger lings, sous vide marble potatoes), braised savoy cabbage and truffle beef jus.