Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Birthday at Chez Panisse

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Berkeley, California, August 29, 2016—

VERY HARD TO BELIEVE, but Chez Panisse was forty-five years old yesterday. Tonight’s dinner was a re-creation of the original:

Pâté maison avec salade de mesclun
Magret de canard grillê aux olives vertes
Galette aux prunes et crème glacée à la Panisse

with two or three minor adjustments: an added amuse-bouche before and mignardises after; an alteration of the original price (it was $3.95 in 1971!); a considerable elevation of quality in terms of ingredients, culinary technique, service, and setting.

As I wrote last week, I’m forbearing adjectival comment on the dinners here. Here are the photos, and the wine list…

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amuse-bouche: roasted potato "chip" with aioli, salmon roe, chives
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pâté maison, mesclun salad, cucumber and onion pickles
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grilled duck leg and breast with green olives, whipped potatoes, chanterelles
And, of course, the galette seen at the top of the page — not prunes tonight but plutos, which did not exist when Chez Panisse was young!

Apéritif: Prosecco flavored with elderflower and thyme
Rosé: Domaine Tempier (Bandol), 2015
Cahors: Clos Siguiers, 2013
Marsala: La Vigna Miccia, Marco De Bartoli

•Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-548-5525

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating:  2016   2015

2 comments:

Joan said...

Please return to commenting subjectively on the meals Upstairs & Downstairs. I miss that essential, human element. I can Google up plain images of food any time.

Charles Shere said...

Well, you're right, of course; I'd feel the same way. And the photos never do the plates justice — not only at Chez P, but anywhere else. I'm no photographer.

But you can understand my reluctance, yes? It's always tricky writing publicly about something you're involved with personally. It's so easy for readers to jump to the wrong conclusions… 

But perhaps I shouldn't let potential wrong jumps keep me from further comment… I'll reconsider this. Thanks for the comment.