Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #4 - "Table for One" - 17 OCT 09

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by ehagerty, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    I cannot believe how busy I have been since returning from my serendipitous getaway in October. As it is, I am supposed to be packing for a week away in London (UK, not Ontario, or Ohio - as my brother thought), with business clothes I haven't worn in 3 years (what size was I then???). But I want to let you know that - I have PICTURES - and even more importantly, I have detailed notes from my server JACK and the kitchen to accompany them.

    With a little luck, I will get SOME pictures posted during my work evenings - unless I am required to eat, drink and be social with the London team (probably - poor me, eh?)

    For those who may not already be aware, there are other nights to this story..
    Night #1 - Victoria & Alberts - Picture Trip Report (January, 2009)
    Night #2 - Victoria & Albert - A Once-in-a-Decade Dinner, for the second time in 2009 (May, 2009)
    Night #3 - Victoria & Albert - My Dining Scheherazade (September, 2009)
    Night #4 - Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #4 - "Table for One" (October, 2009)- THIS REPORT
    Night #5 - Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #5 - "Table for One - Again" 23 FEB 10 (February, 2010)
    Night #6 - Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #6&7 - "I could die happy, and I am only 20" (May, 2010) (February, 2010)​


    Table of Contents for THIS report:

    Introduction - Post #1 - 14 NOV 09
    Table for One - Post #6 - 16 NOV 09
    Amuse Bouche - Post #10 - 17 NOV 09
    Cold Appetizer, Buffalo - Post #20 - added 21 NOV 09
    Fish - Post #32 - added 26 NOV 09
    Lagniappe - Extra Course - Post #33 - added 26 NOV 09
    Herb Bread and Butter - Post #37 - added 27 NOV 09
    Scott Hunnel's Study in Duck - Post #43 - added 02 DEC 09
    Lamb & Beans - Post #47 - added 06 DEC 09
    Cheese - Post #48 - added 06 DEC 09
    Dessert - Post #49 - added 08 DEC 09
    Kitchen Visit - Post #51 - added 08 DEC 09
    Final Thoughts - Post #52 - added 08 DEC 09



    Here is a picture of Jack and Sherry - a most excellent serving team, among all very good serving teams. More on them later (after all, my excuse for signing on was to print my boarding pass!!)


    Jack and Sherry - a wonderful serving team - and happily married, too!!

    [​IMG]





    Jack actually graduated from CIA (Culinary Institute of America - around the same year as Bourdain) and can explain dishes in amazing detail. That kind of information and ability to explain what Chef Scott intends with each bite is makes for a very interesting dining experience!!



    Stay Tuned (I mean "subscribe"!)

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  3. Symans3honeybees

    Symans3honeybees DIS Veteran

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  4. tarak

    tarak DIS Veteran

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    Just read through your first three reviews. I'm hoping to eat here for our trip next year (DH and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary). The only meal I've had that seems close was eating at aquavit in New York about 8 years ago. It was probably the best meal I've ever had. Looking forward to having competition in that memory department!
     
  5. Flossbolna

    Flossbolna Sea days are just so relaxing!

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    Ok, first I thought this was a new report, than I got confused and thought that this was the fourth post of your September report, but now I finally realized that this is the first post of your October report. You got to eat at V&A twice in two months!! I am really looking forward to this! :goodvibes
     
  6. Gobbles!

    Gobbles! Mouseketeer

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    Although Jack and Sherry aren't our usual servers when we dine at V&A, they are AWESOME (and cool to hang out with). Glad you enjoyed your evening with them.
     
  7. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Racing the clock in my hotel room (where daily internet charge for hotel is roughly $30/day - or $12/hr - I bought one hour to Skype with DH - and I will quickly post this during the remaining 6 minutes. I used the 8 hour flight to prepare some of it in word..
    --------------------------------------

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    Ruminations on dining alone

    Dining alone at V&A is wonderful – not as synergistic as dining with others who are enjoying it as well, but infinitely better than the alternatives:
    o NOT dining at V&A at all
    o Dining alone ANYWHERE ELSE

    Here’s some recent “history” for the younger crowd…
    ...When I first started traveling for work (1985) it was still considered somewhere between “odd” and “inappropriate” for women to dine alone in a restaurant. I was often the only single diner, and when other single diners were present, I was almost always the only single female. Most women still ordered from room service or fast food to avoid the “stigma” (perception of “easy mark”, “notorious undertippers,” "friendless" etc) of dining alone. I attribute my willingness / comfort to the fact that I had worked in restaurants (and grocery stores) and felt “at home” in them. Hard to believe 20 years later…..

    I have also learned since than, that dining alone has its merits
    o you can concentrate on what you are eating
    o you can eat at your own pace
    o extra attention - restaurants staff will typically spend more time talking to you (you get to learn things) to provide some friendly socialization to enhance your solo-dining experience, as opposed to thinking interaction might be an intrusion into the specific dining context of your meal (not all diners like to be entertained / interrupted… I know – I had many regular customers – some wanted limited interaction and speedy services, some wanted entertainment - I had an extensive joke list, rendered redundant by the internet - and a leisurely meal…)

    Summary
    o If you don’t like to be alone, dining alone probably won’t be your thing either
    o If you like to be alone (which doesn’t exclude also liking company), you are probably already doing this
    o If you are on the fence, try it



    Menu

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    I’ve been asked in previous threads whether the pictures represented the “standard” (non-chef’s table) menu. My response was that I wasn’t really paying attention (lost in the moment). I made it a point to pay attention this time – this IS the regular, main dining room menu / dinner.


    Just sitting back and enjoying the view…

    [​IMG]



    Will respond to comments and provide next chapter as soon as possible.
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  8. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Hi Elllen! Looking forward to your review as always ... you take the most gorgeous pictures of food I've ever seen. :goodvibes

    We had Jack & Sherry the following evening when we all dined at V&A ... they remembered you! :thumbsup2
     
  9. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Actually, after speaking with Israel about your love affair with food on the 17th, he instructed the staff to make sure you had Jack and Sherry as well, on the 18th. I also reminded him that you wanted to try the Early Grey whiskey - but I don't recall if he had been able to restock it.
     
  10. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for joining.
    We look forward to your review!!
    It doesn't get more self-indulgent, does it!!
    Where do you hang out with them? Are you a local? CM?
     
  11. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    I decided to try to take notes this time. In fact, I have many – but gave up shortly after this point, because there are just so many finesse points to document – ingredients, source, preparation, presentation, etc. Jack graciously offered to supply notes – I graciously accepted

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    --------------------------------------------------------
    Jack's Notes:

    AMUSE BOUCHE; "A quartet of autumnal Amuse Bouches. Beginning in the bottom right quadrant (the component I'm most excited about: Alaskan Spot Prawns, grilled in shell /w it's natural roe, simply brushed w/ evoo. To its left, pan seared octopus over balsamic marinated, grilled Florida. melon. Above that, I call it "Scott's Smoked Salmon Shooter" (although, chef is NOT amused!) Starts w/ a celery root puree, marinated heirloom tomatoes, Scottish smoked salmon , then he hits it w/ a little chive oil, garnishing w/ curly-cress. Lastly, Scott’s Smoked Salmon Flan is a savory custard prepared w/ locally produced eggs (literally, less than a mile as the crow fly's from mine & Sherry's house in Ocoee)
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Wine Pairing: Pommery Royale Brut NV


    I apologize in advance for the lack of commentary on the wine pairings. I do not have an educated palette - I know what tastes good, but I cannot tell you why. Let's just say, "It was all good."




    The "Big Picture"

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    Eggshell & Cup

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    Cup

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    My notes indicate that this was my favorite - so good it was like an amuse bouche dessert.....



    Octopus

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    Shrimp with roe

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    BTW - this shot was taken with a Canon D10 (a point and shoot designed for underwater use - which, as it turns out, is also very good under pretty much any conditions). Just wanted to make sure people know you don't have to have a fancy camera to get good pictures.





    Eggshell

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    What you cannot tell by looking at an eggshell - the contents were light, fluffy, buttery; nothing fishy. The eggshells are sterilized before use (for those who think about such things.)

    Here are my "Pauline Kael" notes for this course:
    Once again, there were four items on the plate. Each item was comprised of multiple ingredients perfectly pairing and offsetting any one other. I really enjoyed taking small bites in different sequences to see how one followed the other. They were so delectable, it was almost illicit - each time I took a nibble of one, I felt I was cheating on the other 3 (not that I am the cheating sort, just saying...). I definitely didn't want this mini-scheherazade to end....


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  12. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

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    Hope you enjoy your time in London :thumbsup2
     
  13. adsrtw

    adsrtw DIS Veteran

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    I enjoy dining alone, but I do have to admit that it was intimidating at first. Once again, I can't wait to read about the rest of your experience.
     
  14. MariDisney

    MariDisney Queen of the World

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    I can't believe you're going to do this to me again. Drooling already.
     
  15. Gobbles!

    Gobbles! Mouseketeer

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    We used to be locals but now live a bit too far away, but still make it to WDW 3 times a year. We went to a Tables in Wonderland dinner that they went to and ended up staying afterwards with them for drinks. We are looking forward to our upcoming V&A's visit in January to say hello. LOVE all of your pictures from V&A's. Looking forward to the rest of your review.
     
  16. gretchenohar@hotmail

    gretchenohar@hotmail <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

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    ditto!!!
     
  17. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Awww, thank you! They were wonderful to us, even after we became rather ... boisterous ... at times. I fear they may have actually placed Mr. Yuk stickers next to our names in their book of troublemakers. :rotfl2: We may never be allowed back. :lmao:

    And the Earl Grey whiskey never came up that night but that's OK ... we had enough other alcohol to make up for it. I will just put it on my list of things to try ... some day the opportunity will present itself.

    As for your pictures ... I know we had the same amuse the following evening but your photos breathe in a way that ours don't. You really have an artist's eye ... it's a gift. :goodvibes

     
  18. BriarRosie

    BriarRosie <font color=blue>Creator of Tag Fairy Haiku:<br>Cl

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    I agree about this wholeheartedly. The pictures are crisp and detailed.
    I'm glad there were notes about the amuse, because I know I couldn't recall
    exactly what we had!
     
  19. Uncleromulus

    Uncleromulus <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    Awaiting the rest with interest!!!!
     
  20. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    I did, actually. Although I didn't get to be a "tourist" like I have in the past. This was a beeline to Canary Wharf, week full of day-long meetings, followed by various eating / drinking activities and the gym - then a bee-line back to the airport. If there are fellow week-at-a-time prisoners of Canary Wharf reading this post, make sure you eat at Sri Nam (found it on Frommer's, really good Asian / Thai food).
    So, I am not alone!!
    Sorry!!
    We met some really fun and interesting people at at TiW dinner at the Wave in May. Many of them seem to the be CM's and regulars. It is a great venue for meeting like-minded people. We just happened to get an email from the Wave coordinator from the TiW list - and we just happened to be on vacation in WDW when it occurred.
    VnA staff really seem to appreciate enthusiastic food-lovers - I'm sure you're in good standing!!
    Given that you ate here the day after, you may see a lot of familiar dishes! Feel free to chime in!
    Thanks for joining - I think you were the first person I read on the disboards who had written about VnA!
     
  21. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Menu Listing:
    Colorado Buffalo with Fennel, Olives, Artichokes, and Sherry Vinaigrette

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Jack's Notes:

    AMUSE BOUCHECOLD APP. Influenced by chef's vacation in Spain, I say it's a Mediterranean expression of our Colo. Buffalo Tenderloin, topped w/ a fennel ratatouille w/ hearts. of palm. the emulsified "teardrops" are eggplant vinaigrette, the loose, an albequenia olive vinaigrette, on the left a tapenade of Spanish olives w/ a dehydrated roma tomato chip, on the right. baby artichokes w/ 8 yr. balsamic.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Waine Pairing: Bisson Bianchetta, Golfo del Tigullio (DOC) Genova 2007




    The Entire Plate (a.k.a The Big Picture, but how many times can I say that? No limit, apparently...)


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    Olive Tapenade - Close up of the tomato chip and artfully arranged "leaf" on the olives- again, that incredible commitment to detail....

    [​IMG]


    I apportioned the tapenade onto the baguette in minute amounts, and savored it as though it was caviar. This from a person who will not eat an olive voluntarily from a can or jar.






    Artichoke with drop of 8 year old balsamic vinegar for "dipping"

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    I am generally indifferent to artichokes. I like them well enough, but texture is a big part of what I like and don't like in food experience (E.g. "crunchy" - very good in cereal, vegetables, not so good in canned tuna). Not crazy about hitting the chewy, stalky parts of an artichoke (or the core of a parnsip, etc.). But, as with all things here at V&A, you don't have to worry about any food aversions - because they select and prepare everything to optimize the desirable elements, and minimize the undesirable ones.





    Focus on the buffalo

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    Close up of the fennel blossoms

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    Fennel is one of my favorite food accents. It was a no-brainer to try this appetizer. Interesting how chef got it to behave and take its place as a collaborator - it's a hard flavor to tame.

    (BTW - if there are other fennel lovers out there - try Molly Stevens braised fennel with thyme and black olive - the mystery ingredient is anchovies. Get this - I don't like olives OR anchovies - but I love this dish! I think my mother-in-law's testimonial is more powerful. She doesn't like olives or anchovies either. As a matter of fact, she's been pretty much cooking the same limited range for 60 years; doesn't read cookbooks and/or collect recipes. She said this dish was so good, she ate it cold, out of the fridge, for breakfast the next day. I'm not sure I could do that, but it did make sense after I thought about it - the flavors "set" and probably taste like something you'd find on an exotic, Mediterranean food bar. Remember, the only food preference required is liking fennel.....)






    The photographer takes poetic license with the chef's creation - for the sake of the picture, I placed the bright red tomato chip on bright yellow blossoms. Sorry Chef - I won't do it again!



    [​IMG]





    Conclusion for this course: Every time I come here, I have the best meal of my life. Each selection on the plate was both exquisite and extraordinary. And this is only the second course.


    p.s. My notes indicate that you can get items such as fennel blossoms from "Chef Farms of Ohio" - however, when I googled, I came up with "The Chefs Garden" based in Huron OH. Not sure they are the same, but probably....

    p.p.s My notes also indicate that the selection of white wine pairing over red, with buffalo was made to prevent the red from "killing the herb notes". Not sure if that was something Jack said that I wrote down, but probably.....


    And, once again, I am hastening off. Tonight = "Viennese Masters" at the BPO (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra) - Strauss, Mozart. See - I do have more senses that sight and taste alone!!!



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