Effective July 1, 2012 California restaurants and gourmet grocery stores are no longer able to sell foie gras. The statewide ban now makes selling it a punishable crime. Like many Californians I wanted to go big and enjoy this delicacy one last time.
After some research I decided on Prospect, a contemporary American restaurant, which just celebrated its second birthday under a newly installed chef, Chris L’Hommedieu. Specifically, I chose Prospect for its foie gras, which was highly regarded and generated lots of buzz leading up to final days of it being legally available.
Two is always better than one, and Prospect prepared its Sonoma foie two distinct ways – hot and cold. The hot preparation had the foie lightly seared with an aged balsamic and placed on top of a piece of brioche. It had a delicate flavor and really brought out the buttery, succulence inherent to it.
Served with a pisatchio ‘biscotti, the terrine version was topped with a gelée made from local strawberries and Sicilian pistachios that brought out the nuttiness of the foie. As one of the employees aptly put it – this version was evocative of peanut butter and jelly.
Since the goal of this meal was decadence I followed up the foie gras with another politically incorrect dish – a hearty main course of veal tenderloin. The entrée was rounded out with tender, glazed sweetbreads, which were served on top of polenta and alongside caramelized mission figs and fennel bulb. The dish was a delicate balance of a lot of flavors, but through skillful preparation they all come together in perfect harmony.
The cocktails at Prospect are nothing to balk at either – as it has built a reputation around its mixologists and solid line up of concoctions. I went with the bartender’s choice where they tailor a cocktail based on your tastes. I am learning to like whiskey, so the bartender landed on a classic cocktail – the Brooklyn. It is a clean and not overly sweet whiskey-based cocktail with maraschino liqueur and dry vermouth.
Prospect is a sophisticated restaurant with modern décor and cuisine to match. I am still hopeful that the foie gras ban will be overturned, but if this was to be my final dance I can’t imagine a better way to send the delicacy off.