A recent visit to RTB was probably my strongest experience there yet. The atmosphere is fairly lighthearted but the cooking is quite finessed. Lots of great bites - the barbecue wagyu, caviar bump, sunchoke, lamb & abalone, and oysters were probably our favorites. There were a few small improvements/changes to some dishes as welll. Service was also on point.
Toasted grains broth with burnt onion oil. A nice comforting start.
Aji no konbujime (horse mackerel cured in kelp), smoked on one side, with citrus gelee, preserved chili, and some special leaf oils. Nice texture and that citrus gelee combined with the faint smoke reminded me of tosazu. Though there was a fair bit of complexity (light smoke, spice, brightness) it didn’t obscure the aji’s taste or texture. There was also a faint wasabi flavor coming through and I want to say the daikon oroshi had a touch of ume. This rendition was better than the last time; I think the citrus gelee and spice were dialed in to the right pitch.
Shigoku oysters with roast cauliflower, potato gnocchi, meyer lemon, and chives. The gnocchi’s texture was a nice foil to the oysters.
Lobster curry with red rice, yellow lentils, and fava bean leaves. This is a new dish with some Thai elements. The sweet lobster was nice with the light coconut milk curry, but what stood out was the texture contrast between the lobster and the lentils. This was nice but it wasn’t our favorite dish of the night. Paired with a nice Keller riesling.
“The North Coast” with lamb tenderloin, crisp lamb fat, some ridiculously tender abalone with its liver sauce, cardoon, and coastal herbs (“ice plant,” Miner’s lettuce, and fried “Mermaid’s Hair” algae). This dish keeps getting better and better. The crispy lamb fat was killer, especially next to that incredible roasted abalone. This dish showcased a lot of complexity, both in texture and composition. The sauce is very hard to describe, but it bridged all the tastes - from savory, fatty, briny, vegetal, and bitter - very well.
Tortellini en brodo with clarified butter filling, duck broth, and smoked foie gras. Textures were very silky and here’s where the kimoto sake became an interesting pairing. The duck broth and smoked foie give a lot of rich depth to it, and the dish is luxurious but also surprisingly light.
Golden Oscietra caviar with fresh cultured cream. Seriously good caviar. (Supplement)
Jamon iberico de bellota over sunchoke tater tot, fresh cream, and black truffle. (Supplement)
Warm Santa Barbara uni in a broth of spiny lobster, white wine, espelette pepper, and chives.
A5 wagyu from Miyazaki, Kansas city barbecue sauce. 1/2 portion. (Supplement)
Harbison cheese with honey and lemon thyme on a buckwheat tart
A5 wagyu from Miyazaki, part 2. So good we had to get another order. The other 1/2. (Supplement)
Spiced pumpkin cake, chocolate sorbet, with old sercial Madeira
We drank 2 types of champagne (blanc de noirs and Delamotte blanc de blancs), a bottle of junmai daiginjo kimoto sake (Jokigen Red Label) and a few other pours (Keller riesling, some warm sake, and sercial Madeira). The Jokigen is made of omachi rice in the kimoto method, 50% seimaibuai, “nakadori” middle yield. It had some nice open richness and creaminess, but also some good acidity.
We’ll be back for Avery!