Crayfish cake with remoulade and daikon micro green salad
Smoked and braised lamb shank with white beans, chorizo, cassoulet and roasted fire tomato sauce
Bailey’s chocolate shake with chocolate chip cookies and berries
Maybe it was the knowledge that I was eating the last of my Restaurant Week meals -nine in six days – a protracted, rapid series of (mostly) fantastic meal experiences that, until now, I haven’t enjoyed anywhere outside of Tuscany. Maybe it was that I had just choked down that god-awful pad thai at Comsos. Maybe it was simply that Sanctuary makes exceptional food. Whatever the case, our dinner Friday night blew our respective doors off.
I know I’ve already awarded five “Oh Gods” out of five to other meals that had barely perceptible downsides, but, no disrespect to those deserving venues, when the bar gets raised such as it was at Sanctuary, you’re forced to think back and wonder if perhaps you had been a bit to hasty awarding a perfect score previously and maybe you should have allowed for a short period of contemplation before writing those reviews. Or at least waited until total sobriety. Well, the past is the past, and the present is now and the future is when alien archeologists uncover this blog post and wonder about this so-called ‘God’ that I keep referring to.
Flouting the implicit spirit of Restaurant Week, Sanctuary had only one fixed priced menu to choose from. This lack of variety probably caused some people to take pause (i.e. me, though I was coerced into going anyway), but then those people would have been tragically screwing themselves out of an outstanding dinner.
The crayfish cake was, in two words, kick ass. After exactly four chews, my companion said “This is what Sea Change should have done.” (Burn!) It was meaty and held together well without being soggy and there was a pleasing little hint of spice at the end. The remoulade was just a little to mayo-y for me, though pretty much everything with mayo in it is too mayo-y for me. My companion assured me that it was superior. We both ended up eating this cake as if it were the last crayfish on earth –one sliver at a time, savoring every morsel, desperately trying to commit every facet of it to our permanent memory banks.
The lamb shank was the largest either of us had ever seen. Seemingly slow cooked in something wonderful for about 12 hours, the oozing, juicy meat shredded right off the bone, without so much as a single sawing motion from a knife. This raised the question of how they were able to transfer this exceptionally delicate shank from the pan to the plate without it completely falling apart due to the force of gravity. The chorizo was a nice touch, but there wasn’t much of it and, compared to the religion-changing taste of the lamb, it really only played a minor role. I’m not a huge fan of beans, but the white beans almost completely took on the flavor of the roasted fire tomato sauce, virtually erasing my usual texture qualms.
The Bailey’s chocolate shake was as rich and yummy as one would expect of anything with the word ‘Bailey’s’ affixed to it, with the added advantage of the chocolate chip cookies and berries that tasted equally incredible, whether eaten on their own (me) or liberally dipped into the shake (companion).
When asked for final thoughts on the entire meal, my companion responded with an emphatic “F*ckin’ A”. Truer words have rarely been said.
Oh wait, there was one quibble people should know about when eating at Sanctuary, particularly in cold weather: the temperature in the front quarter of the restaurant temporarily, but instantly, dropped about 15 degrees every time anyone opened the door. And it was only in the 40s Friday night. Anyone unlucky enough to be seated near the door in the dead of winter had better be able to work a knife and fork while wearing their choppers.
I’m awarding this dinner the most resounding five “Oh Gods” out of five of Restaurant Week.
Restaurant Week is over, but for the record, the fixed price was $30.
Sanctuary’s Restaurant Week dinner menu is posted here.