05.29.2012

Kali Dining – Hosted by Chef Kevin Meehan “A Dinner Party with Strangers”

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EE-kali9_crop1 The Jade Panther
Price
Four Dollars
Rating
Five Forks

Truly a unique dining experience with the intimacy of a dinner party with friends, or in some cases – making new friends, Chef Kevin Meehan entices diners with a five-course meal; each item created with great care and creativity.  The menu changes based on availability of ingredients – a true farm to table experience reflecting California fresh fare showcasing the season’s best.  Reservations fill up quick and if you can get a seat or two or eight (wrangle in all your friends), it’s worth the experience.

The Food:  Homemade potato chips graced the table while diners trickled in bringing bottles of wine to share.  Conversations were started, some couples knew each other, others meeting for the first time.  The one thing they had in common?  This was their first Kali Dining experience.  Each diner was presented with a fresh baked mini bread loaf and seasoned butter before the first course was presented:

Amuse Bouche – a delicate and delightful starter, the Duck Egg Scramble was the perfect start to the meal.  Perfectly seasoned, each bite was worth savoring.

First Course  - earthy with tones of sweetness, mild bitterness and warmth, the Stinging Nettle Soup was pure comfort.  Nestled in the middle of the bowl was a pepper meringue, brown butter powder, ash jam and a yolk – as soon as the broth hit the bowl, all the ingredients melded together to create an experience.

Second Course – although delicious and visually captivating, The Lobster Bolognaise, lightly seasoned with black pepper and dressed with sabayon (an egg based sauce), was missing the depth I typically look for in a bolognaise – my guess is it could have used more sauce or less noodles.  The spaghetti was fresh and light but lacked the al dente texture that would have brought this dish to another level.

Third Course – melt in your mouth goodness with various textures and flavor profiles one would never think to combine like braised red cabbage, persimmon, squash and pistachios – the Brook Trout was definitely a winner.

Fourth Course – a portion I personally would have preferred less of but enjoyed every single bite, the Filet Mignon was my ideal meat and potato type dish.  With sides like smoked fingerling potatoes, balsamic mushroom mousse, leek confit and garlic – it was like heaven in my mouth.  Everything was cooked to perfection.

Fifth Course – an interesting dish not typically my ideal dessert, the Goats Milk and Honey panna cotta with a carrot jam, crumble and walnuts was a nice refreshing end to a delightful meal.  The panna cotta could have been a little bit more delicate and less dense but all in, an interesting mix and balance of flavors – it was like eating a broken down version of carrot cake.

Overall Impression:  One of the best dining experiences of my life.  Every dish was a pleasant surprise, like opening a present on Christmas morning.   Chef Meehan displays a level of experience, creativity and care – one can’t help but appreciate immensely his efforts to create unique and exciting dishes.  Not only are his dishes a dance on the palate but also visually stunning, like art on a plate.  A must if you find yourself in the Los Angeles area.  Keep an eye out as menus, locations and dates change cyclically.

Kali Dining – Location Varies visit the website for more information – www.kalidining.com

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