Thursday, July 02, 2009
The Seattle Weekly: Noodles a Go-Go by Jonathon Kauffman
You might notice the pretty picture in the corner. That picture was taken by me. I may be on my way to becoming a photographer. Here's Jonathon:
Every week on our food blog, Voracious, I write up a local noodle dish of note in a post called The Thin Wheat Line. Here are a few of the recent installments:
Tagliatelle With WTF
Noodle: Tagliatelle with sous-vide duck egg, hedgehog mushrooms, and Parmesan foam.
Source: Spur, 113 Blanchard St., 728-6706, spurseattle.com.
You know how when you've trained your parrot/dog/infant to do the most adorable thing and bragged to your friends about it? Then when they show up for dinner, you trot it/he/she out and make the secret hand gesture—and it/he/she just wanders away to lick bread crumbs off the floor? That's how I feel about this pasta.
I've eaten the tagliatelle at Spur a couple times now, forgetting to snap a photo for Thin Wheat Line until it's half-eaten and as photogenic as a bowl of overripe bananas. Despite the wording of the menu, it's a simple enough dish. Gastro-speak translation: Cooking the duck egg sous-vide means vacuum-sealing it in plastic and slowly poaching it at low heat; the chefs can do this with enough precision that the yolk thickens to just the right degree.
I love the way you break the orb and it slowly deflates, coating the delicate, fresh pasta in a thick golden custard, which is the only sauce the pasta needs. The sautéed mushrooms, the pine nuts, the rare crunch of green onions, the occasional wisp of Parmesan flavor in the foam (don't hate)—it's a stunner, rich without leaving your mouth coated in butter.
So the night I bring a bunch of people to Spur to try the pasta, it's off—tossed with so much lemon juice that the mushroom flavor disappears under all that acidity. Apparently both chefs (Dana Tough and Brian McCracken) were taking that night off, and I don't know if the sous merely screwed up the dish or if the chefs had purposefully upped the citrus since I'd last tried the pasta. Either way, take it back down, guys. I have more people I need to impress with that dish.
Click here for the rest