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Friday, February 8, 2008

Frisee Restaurant (and crab cakes!)

I *love* crab cakes. Typically, they are a risky item to order in restaurants because they can vary widely in quality, preparation and taste. For instance, I despise soggy crab cakes, or ones that have more bread crumb filler than actual crab meat or ones made with too much bell pepper...or worse--there are shameful places that use poor quality crab meat or imitation crab meat, but let's not talk about things that masquerade around pretending to be something else because that is a topic in of itself (I dont want to see fish all squished up in log shapes hoping to disguise itself as crab meat. you're not fooling anyone). But when I come across some good crab cakes, oh maaaaan, I am sold and little can tempt me into ordering something else.

I was very impressed with the dungeness crab cakes at Frisee: served with petite frisee mix, crispy lardons (I could have done without this), grilled chili aioli and fruit compote (which was cinnamon flavored apple cubes that seemed really out of place). But it was all high quality crab meat and delicious!

I didn't necessarily agree with the chef's choice of accompaniments, but the crab cake itself was so delicious that I didn't care. Now, the Cortez Restaurant & Bar makes one of the best crab cakes I have ever had (and order regularly): Kataifi crusted crab cake with citrus marinated cabbage & caper-tarragon aioli. Kataifi is basically shredded phyllo dough that is collected into very thin strands and, when deep fried, makes a unique crazy curly design so it has aesthetic appeal and a delicious crunch. Sheer Genius.

Desserts: mediocre but decent.

Chocolate and banana bread pudding with dulce de leche and chantilly cream.

Raspberry "shortcake" with fresh raspberries and blackberries with vanilla cream sandwiched between layers of phyllo surrounded by raspberry coulis.

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