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What I Ate: December 24, 2009 (Aquarelle)

Posted 24 December, 2009 at 10:08pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Dinner: We had a rather disappointing meal at Aquarelle (606 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX‎ - (512) 479-8117‎) which was in start contrast with our first meal at Aquarelle (during Austin Restaurant Week). The main reason I wanted to go back was the delicious but simple dinner rolls, but they didn't have the same addictive taste as they did during our last visit.

The started us with an amuse bouche of salmon mousse with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Good.
Aquarelle - Amuse Bouche

PEI Mussels Capers, Tarragon, Tomatoes, White Wine Garlic Butter Sauce $14. The mussels were not overcooked, but that's about it. The sauce felt uninspired and not strong enough to season the Prince Edwards Island mussels. When eaten with a caper, the caper flavor is too strong, but without the caper, the mussels are bland.
Aquarelle - PEI Mussels

Warm Pumpkin Velouté Carrot and Raisin Salad, Cayenne Pepper Cream, Croutons $8. The velout´ tasted a little gingery, but not much like pumpkin. In fact, it seemed like it could have been any base (like potato) and we wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. The carrot and raisin salad was good and the croutons were excellent.
Aquarelle - Warm Pumpkin Veloute

Lamb Chops Spicy Onion Compote, Mint Gnocchi, Lamb Jus $32. Last time I had this dish, the lamb was excellent. This time the lamb was just as good - but the rest of the dish didn't work for me. The gnocchi could have been seasoned a little more and were gummy (like the previous time).
Aquarelle - Lamb Chops

Pan-Roasted Chilean Sea Bass Bayaldi of Tomato, Tomatillo, Zucchini, Saffron Tomato $33. This dish was a fail for us. The only part that worked was the flavorful crust of the Chilean sea bass, but once you got past the two millimeters of flavor, the rest of the fish was bland and devoid of flavor. The tomato based sauce was a little too watery and mild to help give the fish some flavor.
Aquarelle - Pan-Roasted Chilean Sea Bass

Before dessert, they brought us a homemade lime & peach sorbet. We couldn't taste any peach - the lime flavor was overwhelming. The sorbet was overly acidic and had a bitter lingering aftertaste.
Aquarelle - Homemade Lime and Peach Sorbet

The dessert Brulée of the Day ($8) was the final nail in the coffin. Today's crème brûlée was pineapple flavored which intrigued me. From what I know about pineapples, you have to cook them to deactivate the enzymes that disrupt protein unraveling that is essential to setting gelatins and custards. I was curious to see how they executed this in a dessert like crème brûlée where the custard should be dense and silky when gliding a spoon through it. When it arrived, it was surprisingly large (perhaps five inches in diameter) and nicely decorated (including a Merry Christmas iced onto our plate). The caramelized sugar crust was uniform and broke cleanly, but the custard was runny. It was more like a runny whipped cream than a custard. I couldn't taste any of the rich egg yolk flavor - just a melted pineapple ice cream that had been thickened a little through some dark art that should not be practiced in a French restaurant. Disappointing.
Aquarelle - Pineapple Brulee

Lunch: We heated up the rest of the Korean food for lunch.
Left over korean food

1 comment to What I Ate: December 24, 2009 (Aquarelle)

Scott, December 25th, 2009 at 8:47 am:

  • So THAT'S why you can't use fresh pineapple in Jell-o…