Monday, June 18, 2012

Taste: Flawless Victory

The problem with starting off with a title obviously inspired from Mortal Kombat, is that you are now required to use more references of the game series or franchise in your review or metaphors.  I can't.  Well, maybe I can. "My past visit to Taste was like a Johnny Cage ball-breaking punch."  ---In a good way. (As in, when you are playing Johnny Cage and are able to use that un-blockable move that will cripple every opponent, except Sonya Blade of course)

This past Saturday night, I went with 8 other people, which was the largest group I have been to for fun at a restaurant, and we were treated like gods.  Nothing was bad about the whole entire evening, except the rain storm as we were leaving, but I bet that if the Manager at Taste that night could have changed it, he would have.  As my title alluded, the whole night was a Flawless Victory and was so good, I can still hear Shang Tsung laughing in the background.

We started by making reservations for 6 people, a day ahead and that number eventually grew to 9 people.  There was never an angry, dismayed or even a breath of annoyance from the host on the other end of the phone and I was actually amazed that he didn't even make any remarks to me like "are you sure this time?"  He was perfect on the phone, so from the start, everything was working good.  We did the valet, got there without a hitch and a had nice spot upstairs, where we never had been before. 

If you have never been to Taste, there is a small food and wine menu and then a larger menu for cocktails.  On one side of the cocktail menu, there is a list of "Classics" where you will find such drinks as the Cosmopolitan, Old Fashioned or even a Mint Julep.  On this side of the menu though, they also have the estimated date of creation.  Last time we were here there was so many drinks and so little time.  Also, last time I was here, I wasn't feeling as brave as I was now.  So, as we sit down and the waiter asks what I would like, I order a drink, but not just any drink: the Ab-duck-tion.

This drink is made with duck fat infused Grand Marnier.  The first sip is flavored with the citrus and after that you get a hint of creamy duck fat.  It wasn't overly powerful and still subtle with good flavors.  It was a great idea and a great drink.  Hey guys, that's a 5 out of 5 stars from me!

My wife and I order some "snacks" as our appetizers.  We ordered the "Pig Pop" which was basically freshly made pork rinds and an order of some fingerlings in a Spanish sauce.

 These are freshly made pork rinds.  They are salty, spicy and oh so piggy.  Nothing like pork flavor.  They were very tasty and I'd give them a 4 out of 5.  The other thing we ordered set the precedent for the meal.  It was chopped up fingerling potatoes which were cooked perfectly and had this incredible sauce on them. 

 They called it "Spanish Sauce" but it was a mixture of spicy goodness in liquid form.  It was so good, that a friend of mine named Franco, whom was sitting with us, declared that all french fries for the night have that sauce on them.  The potatoes with Spanish Sauce were easily a 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5, they were so delicious.  My friend was hoping that they would now serve french fries with the sauce, a dish he created and we lovingly refer to and call "Franco's Fries".

So, we ordered some more foods, looking for things to try and see if the chefs could top the previous dishes.  Each time, they were able to do so.  I wanted to do something different and while I attempt to try new foods every time I go out, obviously some places have newer foods to try than others.  What I mean by this is while a random burger bar may have a new kind of condiment for their beef patties, it isn't as new and not as a new flavor than something like say...beef tongue on a potato rostini.

Okay, what we have here is the beef tongue dish.  What I received was this and after ordering and looking at it, I picked off a piece of the meat on top and tried it.  It was weird.  To me, the shaved meat on top tasted like the most tender pastrami ever and for others, it tasted like the best braunshwieger.  It was awesome and then that is when it was pointed out to me, that the great tasting shaved meat was actually beef tongue.  This was the first time I had ever eaten tongue and it was freakin' awesome.  I couldn't believe it and even bothered to try the fried potato item on the bottom of the dish.  It was so great and delicious and I have nothing to say bad about this dish.  It is like going through a whole game of Mortal Kombat, while taking advantage of the glitch which allows you to use Liu Kang's dragon kick move repeatedly over and over and beating every single opponent.  It was perfect and I loved it.  So, an easy 5 out of 5 on this.

Then there was the lamb sugo with toasted bread.  This dish reminded me of the last time I ordered beef marrow.  
  What we have here is some great tasting ground lamb, with some spices and vegetables.  You scoop it out of the skillet and then spread it on the bread and it is like a billion times good.  Um, can I give this a 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

Now, I didn't order this next item, but should have.  This was the pork burger and the large hungry mouth moving towards it, is exactly its fate.

Ok, let me give you an idea of what this burger is like: imagine your most favorite and happiness moment ever.  Now, take that moment and put it into a burger with perfectly cooked bacon.  Now, the hungry mouth belonged to my friend Franco and while he loved his burger, he still offered a bite to anyone at the table.  The burger went around the table and after 4 other people besides him took a bite, we all had one thing to say: "Oh my god!."  I'm not joking, we all 4, all said independently, "oh my god!".  It was incredible and so delicious.  It was amazing and this single dish was by far better than any dish I remember having at Niche' (Taste's parent restaurant).  This was an easy 5 or even 6 stars out of 5.

What else was eaten?  Well, someone else at our table ordered the curried cauliflower and it was awesome.

Also, something that I though that would never work was my wife's drink.  I didn't catch the name of the cocktail, but it had a sliced jalapeno in it.  I looked at it and thought about how spicy it could be.  But then I tasted it and it was great.

Besides the rain and the thunderstorm, the only other negative thing was the fact that I met and talked with the manager of the night and then forgot his name afterwards.  I think it is bad form to talk about how great everything was and not give high-fives or a cookie to the manager for running such a tight ship.  To the manager of Saturday night, it was great, everything was great and I would say near perfect.  Taste may be my new favorite spot for groups and just going out.  I loved everything and it is easily the best bar in st. louis.  I will tell everyone to go there.  I'm just sorry I forgot your name.  As for Ted, every drink was made perfectly.  Not a complaint.  You guys rock.  Flawless Victory.


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