Rare duck is a rarity, but yum…
A couple of years ago at the South Beach Food & Wine fest I got to ask celeb chef Jet Tila why Asians cook the hell out of duck. What, you don’t love crispy duck skin? he drolly asked. Actually I do, I replied, I just don’t like the dried out meat underneath.
I only mention this because recently the web gal and I had the pleasure of dining at the Bardessono Hotel and Spa’s restaurant Lucy’s. Executive chef Jim Leiken was nice enough to come to our table before we ordered and told us about a couple of the specials that were on the menu that night, one of which was duck breast. When I asked if he could cook it rare, he nodded his head in seeming appreciation of what I was asking.
And oh my, did Jim deliver in spades. It’s not an easy dish to pull off, not like a steak. But man, it was just perfect, crispy, golden skin on the outside with flavorful, juicy red meat underneath that paired beautifully with Storybook Mountain Vineyards’ 2016 Zinfandel Mayacamas Range. One of my favorite dishes when done right, like this one was, I could eat it every day if I could, but like I say, it’s hard to find a chef that could pull it off the way Jim could.
We had bread, soup and Seared Ahi Tuna to start that was very tasty. The web gal immensely enjoyed her Daily Soup and steak that was flavored and cooked just right. Lucy’s yummy desserts and being served by incredible staff provided a great ending to a fine dining experience.
When we were finishing up our mains, Adam Kerr, the Director of Food and Beverage for the hotel and restaurant, stopped by our table to say hello and he was such a raconteur of Napa tales, telling the web gal of younger days where he had to be like Spider Man in finding bottles at the top of the French Laundry wine room. Such tales made him a natural to do the NSI quiz. Cheers and enjoy…
What was last night’s dinner? Shrimp tacos, here at the restaurant, and they were great.
What’s your favorite drink? I like a classic, old-fashioned with a couple of fingers of whisky if it’s been a long night.
What’s your favorite music? Hawaiian, all day, every day. Just puts you in such a great mood.
Favorite place to dine in Napa beside Lucy’s? Just down the street at Bistro Jeanty’s. Classical French fare at its best.
Favorite thing about living and working in Napa? Bit of a cliché, but the people. Great to work with like-minded people who appreciate the finer things in life.
What makes a great wine list? In a word: intention. We laugh about it, but it’s so true. Sommeliers create these lists that are to their tastes and ignore what the clients or chef wants. It’s insane. If they’re not buying your list, you got a problem.
Any brush with celebrity? Oh man daily. Everything from outrageous rock stars to Royalty. Doesn’t matter, try to serve everyone as best as I can.
Any wine, restaurant or trip on your bucket list? I’d like to go to Patagonia, southern tip of South America, phenomenal wines, terrain, Andes Mountains and ocean. What more could you ask?
Final thoughts? Aloha always. Have reverence for the now, as it is the most special.