It was one of those work days when it was one stressful event after another, and my boyfriend said he had a surprise for me. To cheer me up, he had made a reservation to the Culinary Institute of America’s French restaurant, Bocuse, the weekend coming up, to remind me once again of the reason why we have our day jobs. We do our best with our work, hopefully in a profession that we love, so we could live the life we love, live each moment and savor it — and that weekend, savor it we did.
The Culinary Institute, CIA, is located in Hyde Park, NY. Restaurants here are used to train their students to be ready for the real world, and it has been a training ground for chefs renowned in the culinary world such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Simon, to name a few. I have written about it before here, but this time I would like focus on the time we had the best dish both he and I have eaten so far here in the US: slow-cooked Guinea hen (for overseas, we’d need to go to our Barcelona story, which I’d write some other time).
The hen was tender and perfectly cooked, served with brown, buttery gravy that is not overwhelming in taste. On the side was a pea puree, and drops of mushroom and a hint of truffle mixed in that when you make sure you have just the right amount of everything on the plate all in one bite, the taste comes out perfectly.
The other dishes we had that day were very good as well, including an amazing gnocchi (my boyfriend’s appetizer) — Gnocci Parisien et Joues de Veau Braise — with unexpected bite and texture that it has a crunch but almost melts in your mouth. It was served with braised veal cheek, which was slow-cooked until very tender, and had a little heat in it which was the way we wanted it.
My appetizer was good as well. I ordered the Dungeness Crab, which came in a bed of avocado puree. It was a very light dish and was beautifully presented.
For our desserts that evening, my boyfriend definitely had the show-stopper. He ordered the Goat Cheesecake, Gateau au Fromage de Chevre, and it was served with dry ice. See for yourself:
The cheesecake itself was different, but not one of the best ones I have had.
I had the chocolate on chocolate dessert: L’assiette aux Chocolats. It delivered the chocolate with an orange liquor taste, but for me I would have liked more sweetness. I think this is a matter of preference.
Overall, this was one of the best restaurant experiences I have had.
Guinea Hen rating: 9.9 out of 10
Gnocchi Parisien rating: 9.75 out of 10
Dungeness Crab rating: 9.0 out of 10
Goat Cheesecake rating: 9.0 out of 10
Chocolate on Chocolate rating: 9.0 out of 10
Bocuse Restaurant rating: 9.75 out of 10