Friday, June 14, 2013

Zy: The Modernist Dinner

It has been a busy season lately but I finally have a chance to post some pictures from the dinner that Chef Matthew Lake put on at Zy last month following the recipes of The Modernist Cuisine.  The dinner was a fantastic experience and at $60 per person it may have been the best food bargain I have ever run across.

We opted in on the drink pairings and while they were all quite good selections - including the relatively new High West Campfire whiskey that I love - one concoction stood out.  This was a gazpacho cocktail - vodka filtered through gazpacho ingredients to create a cocktail that is clear as water but tastes exactly like gazpacho.  I would have paid the $30 drink pairing price tag just to try this - it was amazing.

The first course was a "garden salad:- baby roots cooked three ways (pickled, roasted & poached), raw breakfast radish, white asparagus and edible soil.  As you can see it was beautiful on the plate and opened the meal with a bang.

The next course was ham and eggs.  No big deal - broiled egg yolk atop truffle toast with ham stock, “egg white” and crispy local prosciutto.  Fresh herbs and microgreens finished the presentation.  I wanted more toast, but the dish was interesting.

Halibut brandade with Meyer lemon jam, sugar beet crisp & dried garlic followed the egg.  This dish was a great start to three amazing fish courses.

Just when I was hoping that something on the menu would be cooked sous vide, we were presented with a steelhead trout cooked sous vide and topped with new style sorrel veloute and crispy mushrooms.

My favorite of the seafood was the seared Maine scallop, served with onions cooked in parmesan whey and spring pea shoots.

We moved away from seafood with a bob white quail marinated in black garlic with fava beans and caramelized carrot puree.  Quail can be tricky but this one was near perfect - moist with a perfect glaze and crisp skin.  As much as I hate to admit it this may have been a better preparation than my standard post-hunting trip methodology (which is: clean bird, stick jalepeno inside, wrap in bacon, then grill).

Why do a palette cleanser when you can eat foie-gras filled chocolates instead?  The next course was controversial but I loved it.  A chocolate bon filled with foie gras parfait, meomi agar, coco & sea salt.  I choose to believe that this was Dan Barber foie gras, but either way it was so good because it was such an unexpected combination of flavors.

The crown jewel of this meal was an ember of prime Niemen flat iron with vegetable ash and lamb & veal espanole.  When we spoke with Chef Lake afterwards he talked about the original intent to do this course sous vide, but that the flat iron really needed the eventual preparation choice to work.  The smoke presentation was particularly fun as well and has become a regular feature of most visits to Zy.

The first sweet course was two puddings- one of warm blue berries and a second being cured strawberry & yuzu served with butter crumble.

We finished the night with a superior dessert - a "broken ice cream sandwich" of pine ice cream and sour cherry shortbread with pine and spice vapor.  It was things like the inclusion of pine vapor that kept this meal firmly in the realm of the cookbook that inspired the menu (and blew our collective minds).

Overall this was a great chance for Zy to showcase the talent of Chef Matthew Lake and his crew.  I don't think there are too many chefs in town who could do this and so far the list of those who choose to cook at this level is even smaller.  There is an excellent experience waiting for pretty much anyone at this restaurant, whether you prefer the best brunch in town or an event like this one.  Bless these folks - it just keeps getting better over at 268 S. State Street.


  1. Great write up, can't believe I missed this evening. $60 is a steal for that!

  2. One of the best meals I have ever had in SLC.