What’s the point of covering an event that may not be around any longer? For those who haven’t heard, the Evolve Cuisine team decided that this past Exlpore Your Senses event would be the last before taking some time off to focus on their primary cooking gigs.
Like all prior events, we started with Cocktails from the only man who can make me like tequila, modern mixologist Mike Yen. The Cosmo was my favorite to date, and I don’t care how girly that makes me.
Next came three hors d’oeuvres, each having been prepared by one of the loyal Evolve Sous’ (Alex Emery’s “Smoked Duck Breast, Bing Cherry, Spicy Coconut Milk” pictured at top). Guests were then asked to vote for their favorite. I technically did, but I’m still undecided.
As this was an event to “explore the senses” the meal proper started with Smell. As pictured there wasn’t much of an aroma, but once the crab broth was poured over top a strong truffle aroma rose from the consomme.
Sight was based on the visually striking Sculpin. Like all the fish for the evening, this came courtesy of Tommy Gomes at Catalina Offshore. The freshest fish available combined with great technique -a barely there crispy crust, slight sweetness, and gentle heat. This was one of the best cooked fish dishes I’ve had, and my second favorite of the evening.
Sound - on account of the “pop rocks” and yes you could really hear them.
Touch was named because of the way a certain ingredient “touched the heart” of many guests in attendance. The title may have been a stretch, the dish was not. My favorite component was what looked to be a standard liver terrine, but was actually seared liver made into a panna cotta. Definitely not your average chickenliver.
The dry ice effectisn’t exactly novel, but always fun, and especially with vodka.
Taste - the beef cheek was perfect, sous vide and finished on site. I wouldn’t have been upset if it was presented by itself, but sitting atop a bed of creamy hominy pumpernickel grits, and covered with the sweet brine of an uni emulsion, this edged out the Sculpin for my favorite savory of the evening.
At this point we ran out of senses, so Chef Barron and team tried to hit them all. “For this dish we utilized every part of the duck, including the chicken liver” Seared liver, spot prawn stuffed with duck confit, duck prosciutto, blackberry sauce and horseradish. That’s quite a lot for one dish, quite a lot of awesome.
Dessert is not a sense, and I couldn’t find break dancing anywhere in this dish. I may have tasted love in the olive oil corn cake, but honestly, Chef Bonilla could have called this ass-crack and razor blades and I would have eaten it. His desserts are some of the best I’ve tasted anywhere, and this was my favorite yet.
Like all the Evolve events prior, the atmosphere could not have been better. Interaction between guests and staff is as casual as can be. Guests are seated with friends, or make new ones by the end of the night, and I can’t think of anywhere else to find this level of food at this price point. So back to the original question - Why cover an event that’s not going to be around? To document a great experience, rally for the comeback, and most of all let the Evolve team know that if this was the last one, they went out on top.