Sorry for the delay, folks, but behold my write-up from last week's successful pop-up at the Crosby for Dave Mau (the pants-less genius above) and his partner in crime, Cody Requeno. Their four-course meal was home cooking at its most gourmet: no fancy preparation, no weird ingredients, just heaps of food that came out in waves. Excuse my horrible photos, and read on…
The dinner started with what the guys called spicy tempura fries but were really gigantic tater tots. Whatever they were, they worked: crunchy, perfectly oily, very potato-y, with a simultaneous spice factor of the wasabi ranch and Sriracha that was worked into the crunchy batter, enough so that there was more than the mere flavor but actual heat. You can somewhat tell from the photo, but each fry was about the size of a kid's palm.
Next up was the smoked salmon fresh roll.
While delicious–fat chunks of salmon, a perfect goi cuon simulacrum, an added bit of cha gio shells mimicking Dat Thanhs' legendary modification, and a better-than-usual dipping sauce–this was the weakest dish of the evening. Goi cuon? Really? Would've been better to have seen a burrito or something a little bit more challenging–so consider this the Pat Dobson of the bunch, which made the following dish the Dave McNally of the quartet: Cody's nachos.
These were nachos in name only, as there was no cheese or jalapeños. But the crunch factor was spectacular: wontons fried to a chicharrón-esque heights, bay scallops and rock shrimp soaking up the grease. It was like a Bro-Mex take on ceviche, and seems a bit dated in the food-trend game, but no matter: between the spice, the seafood, and the crunch, you could make a luxe lonchera out of this.
But the Jim Palmer of the evening was also the humblest dish: tri-tip.
It was a deceptively simple plate: the tri-tip and some 'cue sauce on jullienned lengths of carrot, daikon and Thai basil. The meat, of course, was superb, as Mau is a barbecue master, but those spin-cut veggies. In execution, the meal played like a bún plate out of Santa Maria, the noodles assertive in their cooling effect, the meat lean and gorgeous. Given the onslaught of yummies in the first three courses, to have something so simple, so lean, yet so delicious served as the perfect capper to a great evening.
No word on when Mau and Requeno will do this again, but they should do it soon. As for Crosby chef Aron Habiger? He helped the guys out and is scheming anew–stay tuned…