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May 18, 2010

Alice Eats: The Daily Planet

15 Center Street, Burlington 802-862-9647

Planet2 I am taking full advantage of Vermont Restaurant Week. Friday I hit Café Shelburne for three stunning courses of goat cheese ravioli, chicken and buttery wild mushrooms over housemade fettuccine and a ganache of white, milk and dark chocolates, lying in a bath of pistachio cream. Saturday was dinner at the Bluebird Tavern with the panelists from our discussion "Food in the 21st Century" held that morning at the Essex. Sunday night was a revelatory fiesta of high-end Mexican plates at 3 Squares.

Last night, I hit The Daily Planet for an early dinner before helping host Culinary Pub Quiz at Nectar's. Even before menu items hit the table, I gloried in two different breads, a white rosemary-studded one and multigrain, both spread with house-made butter, dotted with big chunks of sea salt.

My party shared all three of the appetizers on offer. Frog Leg Stew was presented amphibian 'n' biscuits-style in a comforting cream sauce with chopped veggies. Buttery toast points floated in the comforting stew in place of biscuits. This was my first taste of frog, the "tastes like chicken" adage holds somewhat true. Imagine three-quarters chicken to one quarter grouper.

A plate of Rabbit Rillettes was so large it appeared to contain the remains of an entire bunny. The creamy shreds of meat paired delightfully with homemade salt and vinegar chips. Even the plate of Spring Greens was something special — resting atop a slathering of tomato jam, the leaves were tossed with white balsamic and pinenuts and accompanied by a smear of honey.

Red-Wine-Poached Chicken stood out among the entrées, which also included a wonderfully aromatic reamed Leek and Razor-Clam Risotto, topped with a poached egg and fried garlic. The chicken was wrapped around creamy goose liver mousse and presented over asparagus in a decadent, almost dessert-worthy red wine reduction.

Both desserts were presented in v-shaped ice cream dishes. Luscious vanilla custard combined with ash-covered Lazy Lady goat cheese for a unique, not-too-sweet parfait (pictured). Also for dessert — a big scoop of graham cracker ice cream, rolled in crumbs, was layered with sea-salted strawberries, another delightful combination of sweet and savory.

Tonight, I'm heading to Bistro Sauce. I'll let you know what I think!

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