LAB = experiment+food

I took a friend out for a belated birthday dinner last week to LAB where there website has the formula:


Sounded interesting.  My friend is also quite the food enthusiast so experimental food seemed right up our alley.  We decided to order a few dishes to share and then a main each.  First up were the Parmesan Potato Croquettes with a tomato chutney.

You really can’t make a mistake with fried potatoes and cheese.  These little bundles of joy came out fresh out of the fryer, wicked hot and wicked tasty.  The tomato chutney was cool, a nice contrast to the hot croquette.  The chutney was also very sweet.  Almost suspiciously sweet.  I feel like there wasn’t any salt in the croquette which would have balanced it a little better but it was still well taken.  Next was the Mushroom Ragu under a fried polenta with sage smoked parmesan

The fried polenta was  like a crispy, airy flavorful cracker.  A nice contrast in texture to the creamy and very mushroomy ragu. The texture of the ragu itself is much what you would expect of ragu however I found the dish as a whole a little bland, especially since it uses mushrooms which usually do it for me.  It had the nice taste of mushrooms but honestly could have benefitted from a little salt or some other spice.  Next was the  Eggplant cavier on a parmesan crostini.

Again, like the Ragu, we found this a little on the bland site.  Possibly another veg mixed in would have helped or maybe some sort of spice.  It’s funny, after the first bite we both agreed it was missing something but ten minutes later when I had another bite, I thought the flavor opened up a little.  Almost like a nice wine.  Maybe it was wishful thinking or maybe eggplant needs time to breath.  Who knows.  Next was the Caprese alla burrata.

I recently read that burrata is mozzarella mixed with creme.  I KNOW!  It’s as amazing and rich as it sounds.  The tomatoes  on this dish had these wonderful and prominent notes of smoke.  With the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes, the smokiness of whatever they did to prepare them, the creaminess of the cheese and the bite of the vinaigrette and oil drizzled on top, all I could say is “Wow!”.  Then I would put more in my mouth.  My friend had the Gnocchetti with fresh pea sauce and pea shoots.

I loved the color of this dish.  It’s taste as refreshing as it looks.  And yes, it’s taste like peas, delicious delicious peas.  Creamy, tasty, pungent peas.  The texture of the gnocchetti was also perfect.  I had the Short ribs braised in brio with rosemary polenta and gremolata

These are some of the best short ribs I’ve had in a long time.  The meat fell right of the bone.  You didn’t even need a knife.  The meat was juicy, tender and ever so tasty.  The brio braise gave the meat a nice sweet undertone without overpowering the beef flavor.  The “gravy” had a great consistency, not as thick are some gravies or syrups but thick enough to stick to the meat if you swirled it around.  The polenta added a nice creamy texture to balance the almost stickiness of the brio braise and the gremolata added a fresh, earthy background flavor.   Loved it!  For dessert, we shared the Chocolate budino with salt caramel chocolate mousse

The budino was nice and light.  They used good chocolate however it didn’t weigh the dish down.  It wasn’t mind blowing with rich flavors.  In fact, it kind of reminded me of pudding snack packs.  But hey, I like pudding snack packs…but then again you can probably get a whole 8 pack for the price of the dessert.  Oh well.  The marinated cherry on top was really good.  The bill came is a flask and test tube.  This appeals to my uber-nerd side so it gave us both a smile at the end of the meal.

The appetizers were a little touch and go but the mains and caprese salad knocked it out of the park.  I think I would go back to try some of the other pastas, the lamb shank (given how well they did the ribs) and to eat the caprese salad again (so smokey, so gooood!).  Not all experiments were a success but there were those select few that deserved an “A”.

~ by jlowjlow on July 5, 2011.

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