I speak to Pichet Ong from time to time. We have mutual friends and see each other at parties, and of course he’s a chef and restaurateur and I’m a food writer. Our circles overlap.
There has been a common thread in our conversations ever since he opened P*ong in April of 2007.
“You haven’t been to P*ong yet,” he says, every time we talk. And of course he’s right. It’s his restaurant, and it’s a small place. He can tell.
So last night I went. I just showed up and asked if they had room for one person to eat, and they did.
Pichet seemed almost shocked, and possibly nervous, but maybe not. He might have just been distracted; he was about to leave for Copenhagen for a consulting gig. Good for him.
As an aside, if I may speak on behalf of all writers and editors, which of course I cannot, if you’re wondering how we like the use of asterisks and such in the names of restaurants, we don’t.
But I do like Pichet.
What I ate and drank:
Cocktail: The Vegetarian
vegetable-infused vodka (celery, bay leaf, yellow beets, coriander) mixed with carrot juice, orange juice, and served with a Chantenay carrot strip pickled in rice vinegar and sea salt. It's served in a glass rimmed with ginger molasses.
The carrot strip is sort of accordioned onto a skewer, which, along with the fact that the edges are darker than the center, makes it look like a pink bacon strip. Funny, given the name of the drink.
Pichet says it’s not intentional.
Salad of fava beans, peas, sugar snaps, manchego, radish and almond with basil ice cream
Chapuy Brut Tradition NV Champagne (Oger, France)
Chilled New Jersey corn & Manhattan milk soup with avocado and caviar
Peeky toe crab salad with tarragon, mint, lemon crème fraîche and green apple mousse
Sancerre, Domaine Sylvain Bailly 'Terroirs' 2006 (Loire, France)
Charred baby octopus, watermelon ketchup, cucumber and bulgarian feta
House cured arctic char, fennel-vidalia marmalade and maple mustard emulsion
Grolleau/Cabernet Franc (organic), Chateau de Passavant 2006 (Loire, France)
Organic lamb & spring pea shepherd’s pie with purple and white yukon gold potato
Cabernet Sauvignon, Amber Knolls Vineyard 2005 (Napa, California)
Foie gras napoleon, with chocolate, pineapple, hazelnut, cognac and chile pepper jam (I believe this is the first time I’ve ever had foie gras genuinely served as a dessert)
Sauternes, Chateau Les Tuileries 2005 (Bordeaux, France)
Coconut sorbet and vanilla-roasted pineapple
Bay leaf panna cotta with native strawberry & rhubarb compote
Gewurztraminer, kent rasmussen winery, late harvest 2003 375ml (Russian River, California) e
Poached stone fruit & gianduja truffle, moscato d’Asti, hazelnut hard candy and ricotta ice cream
Brachetto d'Aqui, le donne dei boschi, ca'dei mandorli 2006 500ml (Castelrocchero, Italy)
Milk chocolate & sicilian pistachio terrine with blood orange, rum and pistachio ice cream
(Tawny) Port, Cockburn's '20 Year' (Oporto, Portugal)