Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Light Dinner at Iridescence

Originally published in D-Tales here, edited and renamed for content. Visit the D-Tales blog for pictures.

...Now, let's talk about the first portion of the evening. Dinner at Iridescence. OMFG love that place, especially since they moved to the top of the hotel. The 40-foot ceilings and windows overlooking the city create a dramatic effect, and the lighting design and color schemes utilized throughout the restaurant make the environment as visually stunning as the food. Even though we failed to make reservations and the place was "fully committed" for the evening because of three different conferences all in town that weekend which had all the hotels booked up--apparently this was the busiest that Iridescence had been since they opened--and we had to dine in the bar area and were limited to the appetizer, tapas, and dessert menus, we still made the most of it.

From the tapas manu, we ordered the Goat Cheese Risotto Croquettes, with basil oil and a tomato puree, served with prosciutto. Risotto croquettes are great--it's what you do with risotto when it is no longer acceptable to serve but is still okay to eat. Just roll it into a ball, bread it, and deep-fry it. These particular deep-fried balls o'risotto goodness were also stuffed with goat cheese, and the strong flavor of the goat cheese was balanced well by the salty proscioutto and the unobstrusive risotto. The sauces complimented but were unnecessary; all the flavor this dish needed was in the croquettes and prosciutto. My friend ordered the garlic shrimp with potato puree and crispy leeks--I only tasted this, but what I tasted was a tender shrimp doused in heavily garlic-infused butter. Everything should be so doused.

From the appetizers, we tried the Habachi American Kobe Beef Tableside. It was served with three unremarkable sauces...again, the beef was really quite flavorful on its own and didn't need to be drowned in the overpowering garlic aioli, lobster aioli (though points for creativity there), and mustard (bleck). The presentation was...cute. Very fondue-style D.I.Y. The hibachi had cooled after about 5 minutes, so don't dawdle. I'd recommend they ditch the cutesy presentation there and focus on creating a dish in which the superior flavors of the Kobe beef (considered the best beef--the most flavorful, the most tender--in the world) can be highlighted; it seems a waste to have such a great menu item buried in its own presentation.

Presentation is, as always is the style with Iridescence, top-notch, as was the service in the very busy bar area. On top of three espresso martinis (had a craving), I then ordered the super-mega-ultra Iridescence Sampler Platter (at the urging of non-dessert-eating, sugar-shirking friend). You get a root beer float, an chocolate mousse layer cake, a chocolate-covered cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie sandwich, and warm chocolate custard offset with just a dash of strawberry sauce and raspberries. The display was impressive and the desserts tasty; what they lack in creativity they make up for in sheer volume. In the future, I'd recommend something else from the dessert menu, something which better showcases the patissier's style and skills. The rest of the dessert menu is full of unique and eclectic pairings which certainly deserve perusal.

But I still enjoyed the hell out of everything, because it's Iridescence, and Iridescence is amazing. It's worth a trip just for the decor alone...even the bathrooms are impressive. My friend was very apologetic that we didn't get to have a "full dinner," but this was just as good and just as enjoyable. One day...I will try the 13-course Degustation menu. One day.