Another wonderful food bloggers event, this time at III (3) Forks Restaurant. This is one of the places I've been meaning to try with my wife but never have found the occasion to do so. I was in for a treat and the restaurant wanted to reach out and show off their new happy hour menu (a trend it seems).
We were greeted by our hosts for the evening. Earnest Hernandez was the Maitre d', our wine steward and chief host was Jeff (didn't get a last name). We had live piano music (which happens starting at 6pm every night) as pictured above. (didn't get a name here either). I happened to get to the event early and Maitre d' Hernandez was kind enough to take me around the restaurant and explain III Forks and their inspirations. III Forks is a "Prime" steakhouse, until tonight, I didn't connect that with the label of USDA Prime. The restaurant prides itself in selling only Prime cuts of meat, this label means that the meat has been rated by USDA to be the top 1-2% cut of beef in quality. (I'm not sure how they determine it) The beef is then aged and then cooked in a specially designed cooking device that reaches 1800F in cooking temperature. (wow I didn't even think you could cook anything in that kind of heat) unfortunately for me none of that fare was presented tonight. But I look forward to a nice dinner with my wife one day soon.
I apologize in advance, the photos are very washed out because I had to depend on my flash. I will say I had a healthy dose of camera envy as some of the bloggers brought out their "big guns" cameras (or they brought their photographer friends that had the uber cameras). Being that this is a hobby, I'll have to hobble by with humble camera.
I managed to break out pen and pad and take notes on what was being served to us tonight. I'll order the post in the waves they brought them out. We'll start with Tuna with Terriyaki glaze and dusted with Sesame seeds. The tuna was cooked with great skill each piece perfectly seared with a beautiful red center. There was a nice initial smokey flavor followed by the sweet sauce and tender texture finishing nicely with the nutty sesame seeds. I'm pretty amazed that they could churn out that many one inch squares cooked to that precision. This is the very reason why I'm but a humble cook and these guys are the professionals.
Next up was my favorite of the night: Beef Croustades topped by a red wine, mushroom demi-glace with a blue cheese crown. My first bite of this tasty treat was perfect. Not too much blue cheese so as not to be too salty and the whole thing melted perfectly in your mouth. I kid you not, melted in my mouth. It was a perfect slightly sweet earthy tastes from the mushroom component accentuated by the blue cheese. I salivate just thinking back to it.
We round the corner with a Rice wine marinaded duck served with a blackberry redux over a house made cracker. This seemed to clinch the favorite spot amongst my fellows and I have to say it was a very close second in my book. I personally am not a sweet fan so that might have pushed it to number two for me. The house made crackers were so soft and flaky and made this little bite very flavorful and wonderful. I think the micro greens were a good addition as they kind of gave a "fresh" taste (if that even makes sense) that helped offset the sweetness factor for me.
Racing for the finish we take our second to last bite with Hand Cut potato chips topped with caramelized onion and blue cheese. I'm very partial to blue cheese so this snack was already a winner in my book, but the addition of caramelized onions to bring a nice sweet component was an unexpected surprise. I think, if nothing else, and true with all of these blogger events, the level detail the kitchen staff has to live up to has to be commended.
Last but not least we have Marinaded Sea Scallops topped with Toasted coconut and peanut. As you can see in the photo it's much more than that, tasting out each component you had some lemon zest and basil and some type of sauce. Generally I liked the whole thing, the scallops were perfectly cooked , but I did find the lemon zest's bitterness to detract from the tasting, I got the strong citrus hit, but missed out on the coconut and the basil flavors.
I do want to stress that this is their happy hour menu, I don't believe they serve these items as part of their normal menu (I think they do serve the Croustades). If they executed this well with this multitude of small bites, I certainly cannot wait to taste the foods that they pride themselves as their main focus! As always I had a wonderful time, thank you to the organizers and III Forks for showcasing their food. They were all very generous with taking care of us and really helped us understand the food. Despite having multiple restaurants all of the staff were very quick to point out they have been there since inception and that the restaurant treats it's employees really well which is why they have a fierce devotion to the restaurant. It's a relief to hear as I know that the industry can be a meat grinder (no pun intended).
Holy cow, I don't post this much usually. I'm having blogging fatigue. I will say walking away from this event, I need a proper flash or at least an amazing high speed lens or something. I feel like a dork trying to take decent pictures with all these awesome photographers around me.
Ok now to focus back on my blog. Look for the next post, Easter around the world. (well I'm hoping to make that a reality cross your fingers that my research goes well).