The Ultimate Foie Gras (Terrine)

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As much as I love foie gras in the seared form, that affection is significantly tempered when it comes to terrine. Not that there’s anything wrong with terrine per se, but when you have the seared to compare it with, it’s hard to get excited knowing you are only getting the runner up fruits of a goose’s torturous labor. That said, there are a few exceptions to the rule, because the Ultimates below taste like anything but settling…

The Inn at Pound Ridge – Pound Ridge, NY

As if foie gras wasn’t already enough of a treat as is, Jean-Georges took it upon himself to cross-breed it with crème brulée and thus I give you foie gras brulée. A terrine baked into a crust with a caramelized, candied top. It’s so damn good you’ll never want just plain ole terrine again. The only problem with it I can foresee some people having is deciding whether or not it’s more of a dessert than an appetizer- rich people problems are the worst.

The Bazaar – Los Angeles, CA & Miami, FL

It’s going to take you a minute or two to wrap your head around the presentation of this one, but after one bite of the foie gras cotton candy, you’ll take significantly less time wrapping your head around the fact that you want to place another order of it, stat! To elaborate, they take a tiny brick of terrine and hide it at the core of the cotton candy ball on a stick. The result is a fun, melt-in-your-mouth experience, as the cotton dissolves instantly, enveloping the savory pate in sweetness.

The French Laundry – Yountville, CA

This is the most traditional of The Ultimates, served as a straight up terrine from a local farm that exclusively deals with Thomas Keller, which means the geese are probably fed foie gras before they themselves are turned into it. But it’s actually not the terrine that’s the star here. And while the brioche toast they serve it with is divine, it’s not that either. Interestingly enough, it’s the salt. But not just any salt. A medley of salts sourced from all over the world, including one that dates back over 40 million years! Granted that could easily be a crock of shit that they spin to justify the obscene price tag, but Morton’s or not, I felt quite special scarfing down my foie gras with prehistoric seasoning.

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The Inn at Pound Ridge

258 Westchester Ave. Pound Ridge, NY10576 (914) 764-1400 • theinnatpoundridge.com

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Having been to a number of Jean Georges restaurants, I know they can be hit and miss. Fortunately my experiences have been more on the hit end of the spectrum, so my expectations were moderately high. And while many of the criticisms of this place thus far would be fair, I still have to say my expectations were met.

First, the décor. It is everything everyone says it to be. Just beautiful and warm and literally transporting, meaning you no longer feel like you are in Westchester, but rather in a remote cabin up in the mountains someplace, where the faint drones of work and screaming kids can no longer be heard. From the lighting to the beams to the wood-burning fireplace you just want to curl up and stay forever.

Which brings me to the first nit… You may very well feel like you’re there forever, because the service, as others have pointed out, is slow. So not the place to come for a quick bite.

But now for the main event, the food. First, the Russian River Pinot Noir by Mara is incredible. Went so well with everything we had. Fish. Meat. Spicy. Sweet. So props on the wine list.

For appetizers, we had the ricotta with mashed cranberries as our “bread” which was dangerously good. Dangerous, because you have to summon a good deal of self control not to fill up on it.

After that, the wife had the Hamachi with dusted pecans. The fish was incredibly fresh and the layer of pecan was a nice touch. That said, it needed a little something else to bring it to that next level. More acidity perhaps? But certainly not bad.

And last- and least, I had the angel hair pasta app with Brussels sprouts and pesto. Sounds much better than it is. I would skip it. It’s not bad. But just not worthy of its surroundings.

As for the entrees, here’s where The Inn shined. Both the Hake and the Tenderloin rocked. But in all fairness, the Tenderloin is simply on an entirely different level. A strong recommend from our server, for which I am eternally grateful. If you like heat and meat, you must get this. The scotch bonnet sauce is so divine I had to ask for more of it to sop up the rest of the buttered spinach.

But then our server led us astray on dessert. Should’ve gone with my gut on the apple streusel, but nooooo, I had to listen to her and get the lack-luster almond cake.

Regardless, I will most certainly be back. And the beauty of the place is that during the week it’s much easier to get in. Plus, you can always just sit in the equally stunning bar area and just grab the burger (which looked very good) and a beer. Oh, and of course I’d get the streusel.

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