Archive for July, 2009

Sawa (Sunnyvale, CA) – The Sashimi Club

Sawa – it is one of the most incongruous high-end dining experiences in America – located in Sunnyvale (re: nowhere) in a strip mall (re: next to Subway.) Menus and prices are not offered, merely discovered. The place settings, irony at its finest, depict the typical pieces of nigiri – none of which will be served. The fish, of the highest quality available in America, can come in such large quantities that one wonders if the ocean might just quit after the meal. The naysayers decry that Sawa strokes its customers’ unchecked egos but, masters of the universe or not, the regular patrons merely celebrate the brilliant seafood hidden beyond that neon Sawa sign.

Raw Scottish lobster, killed seconds before serving

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Ubuntu (Napa, CA) – Channeling the Garden

The first spring lunch at Ubuntu, two weeks before, was a revelation but this meal was fine-tuned to near-perfection.1 It was an exploration into rarely discussed possibilities of (Napa) springtime vegetables. Forging past the Chez Panisse mold of “simple and fresh”, Chef Fox is committed to a cuisine of the vegetable – understanding, coaxing, re-inventing, and creating. Every dish delved into the essence of the ingredient(s), tugged and pulled with tastes and textures, without the tricks of meat mimicry. Ulterior Epicure described Ubuntu’s food as a “living conversation dictated by the garden“; but I might say it is a “conversation with the garden.”2

vichyssoise chasseur (before pour)

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