We wanted my folks to experience the restaurant where their future grandson-in-law works, so we went to Senza. It was also my dad's birthday, so that was a very special treat too.
The minute we walked through the door they greeted us like long lost friends, and said happy birthday to my dad. Everyone was very welcoming, and they even gave me a hook to hang my purse from the table! The decor was updated since the last time we were there. They have walnut tables now, instead of the white plastic picnic tables, and a couple more of them. DD1 did the redesign, and it is very elegant now.
We had water, with a choice of still or sparkling. I can't remember ever having that choice before, but I chose still. Mom and dad had the wine, a different wine for each entree, chosen specifically to match the flavors.
My pictures are not the best. I didn't use my flash, so the colors don't pop, but the food was as beautiful as it was good. The description under the pictures is from the menu.
We had the 5 course meal. Between all of us we tried most of the items on the menu. We started with the amuse:
Amuse: hamachi, yuzu kosho, sweet soy. dashi
It was a bite of fish, and a swallow of cucumber ginger soda. The flower is a squash flower, and is edible too, but none of us ate ours. (This is a serving for 2 people.) It was good, and a good introduction to the rest of the meal. My mom's face after she tasted it was so funny... she was trying to figure out what the tastes were.
The next course was scallops for two of us, and petite greens for the other two:
scallop: fava, blueberry, onion caramel, oxalis
petite greens: crab, young coconut, peach, macadamia
The scallops were delicious. The caramelized onions were so good, the blueberries gave just a touch of sweetness. I used to eat oxalis in our yard when I was a kid; I always liked the flavor. Mom & dad had the greens. They had a little trouble eating it (it was hard to get a forkful in your mouth) but they said it was really good. Those are peaches, sliced so thin you could almost see through them.
The service made everything even more special. It was so fun anticipating the next course by what utensils were provided, all carried on trays cushioned with napkins.
This is the soup:
They bring it out with just the extra flavors and pour the soup into the bowl at the table:
vidalia onion: duck prosciutto, truffle, bianco sottobosco, corn
The pumpernickel was the crouton, the little white "blob" was ice cream (!), and the green is petite scallions. I think this was my favorite dish. It was delicious! The soup was sweet onion, and the other pieces just added so much interest and flavor.
My dad and I had the ribeye, and DH and mom had the agnolotti. This was the main course. It was served on such a large plate that it looked like not very much food, but there was plenty.
ribeye: cherry, black garlic, morel, mustard
agnolotti: maitake, juneberry, kumquat, thyme
The ribeye was so good! The meat was tender, and the cherries were the crowning touch. There was a little tiny cracker, and the mushroom (!).
The agnolotti is ravioli with mushroom, the kumquat added such a distinct flavor.
There was an extra course that we were not expecting at all. It is a cheese course. It was melt in your mouth good! Since it wasn't on the menu, I will have to depend on my memory. The cheese was served like whipped cream. It was almost the consistency of pudding, but still with a very strong cheese flavor. The eclair was stuffed with pureed raisin. Just wow!
For the final course three of us had the chocolate, and DH had the oatmeal. They brought dad's plate with a candle burning! (but they did not sing to him).
chocolate: coconut, banana, raspberry, pumpkin seed
oatmeal: pine nut, cherry, dreamsicle, apricot
The chocolate was simply delicious. It had just a touch of chili in it... I could feel it in my mouth afterwards, but it didn't make it hot. The coconut was just a mouthful of ice cream and there were a couple of little pieces of cake. DH had the oatmeal, and really liked that too. It had a contrast in textures, flavors, and colors.
Some of the combinations on the menu make you wonder how someone could even think of putting them on the same plate, but they all work so well! After the first bite my mom and dad stopped trying to analyze everything and just enjoyed. They raved about the meal all the way home. We were not blown away quite as much as last time, because we expected a out-of-this-world meal, and we certainly got it.
The restaurant is doing well, and the reviews have been excellent. I also highly recommend it. By the way, all the food is gluten free! But that is just an added benefit. You wouldn't know it by any of the tastes or even textures of the bread.
We got invited to return soon, and we certainly hope to.
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