Monday, March 11, 2013

Dining with the Wolf & Wolvesmouth

After three and a half months of reservation requests, I finally got invited into the Wolvesden this weekend for an unforgettable meal cooked by head Wolf, Craig Thornton, and his crew of misfit wolves. The meal was amazing in every way and defied easy categorization. The food wasn't Italian, French, Southern American or Chinese. There were no crazy foams, liquid nitrogen or the balls of some animal. It's Craig Thornton cuisine and it's damn delicious.

Dana Goodyear at The New Yorker did a fantastic job last December in her article about Thornton and his underground supper club, Wolvesmouth so I won't wax poetic here. I'll just say that I really admire Craig's focus on taste which translated into an eye-opening and delicious experience for me (who knew borage flowers could be so sweet!). The communal table setting and BYO policy was also a great way to meet new people and not pay exorbitant prices for alcohol (money that I was happy to put towards my donation for the meal instead). If this same 9-course meal was transferred to a restaurant, it'd likely be a stiffer experience that would cut into my dining-out budget for many months.

So, thank you to the Wolf and the whole Wolvesmouth gang. This was a revelatory meal I won't easily forget and it was inspiring on many levels - the combination of flavors, ingredients, and technique, the artful presentation and of course, your enthusiasm, creativity and dedication. I hope I'll be invited back soon as the season changes.

Here are some photos I took in the minimally lit Wolvesden...every dish was so good that it defied me the ability to pick a favorite!

Ribeye Cap
(broccoli jalapeno slaw, broccoli cheddar puree, broccoli tempura, pink lady apples, rapini flowers, lime)

(apple, turnip, sorrel, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cider, cabbage)

Ocean Trout with Belly
(carrot, beets, wasabi pea, calendula flowers, squid ink, yuzu)

Rabbit Meatball
(cilantro, cilantro flowers, chipotle, avocado, sopes grapes, radish, green onion)
*Finally! A rabbit dish that isn't dry and bland. More rabbit meatballs please.

Pork Belly & Lobster
(tostones, mint lime aioli, celery root & snap pea remoulade, pina, banana chip)

(borage flowers, cocoa coffee, walnut, parmesan frico, mushroom, beet top)
*Craig said this was his most challenging dish - having to form the cooked squash into balls and dipping them into semolina flour without losing its shape. Then it has to sit for 24 hours before further preparation.

Fried Quail
(piquillo, candied peanuts, cucumber, green tomato, grilled baby gem lettuce, blue cheese buttermilk)

Dessert 1
(pistachio, blueberry meringue, chocolate tofu mousse, raspberry, raspberry tofu sherbet)

Dessert 2 
(olive oil meyer lemon steam cake, olive oil lime parfait, lime curd, citruses, FD mandarin salt)

Donations in the crocodile head at the end of the night. I love that they gave us Chinese lucky red envelopes to put the donation. What a nice touch!

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