As you all may know, I usually stop by Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge for dinner before going to a show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This week, I visit the restaurant before Guys and Dolls. We pick items off the 3-course Theater Prix Fixe Menu ($45) as well as some a la carte offerings.
However, before we start, an amuse bouche is presented — tonight, it is a fried Salmon Rillettes ball sitting on top of dill creme fraiche and pearls of Israeli couscous.
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon ($18 ) I’ve been waiting for Chef Ross Pangilinan to bring this dish back after the foie gras ban was lifted, and here it is. Naturally, we must have it! As usual, the plates are beautiful. The foie is rich and luscious, while the accoutrements of fresh strawberries, a nitro strawberry cloud of sorbet and saba gelee all come together perfectly with the fruit and nut bread slices for a mouthgasmic delight.
It is my friend’s first visit to Leatherby’s, so I insist on the Soft Egg Raviolo ($15 )to be included into our menu for the night. It is exactly as I remember — a perfectly al dente exterior encasing a decadent center of ricotta and egg yolk oozing the minute you pierce it open. I love the beautiful green hue of the spring peas and how Chef Ross has brought this seasonal change to a dish I am happy to eat all year round.
To start, there is Crap Game — the seasonal soup option, which changes regularly. On this day, it is a potato soup with tandoori pita chips for crunch. The soup itself is creamy and packed with flavor, and a swirl of creme fraiche adds richness to the finished product. Cilantro blossoms add an aesthetic element and also, brightness to the soup.
Luck Be A Lady is the second course we choose. Free range chicken “saltimbocca” sees a thin layer of prosciutto wrapped around the chicken. Tucked between them are leaves of sage adding a wonderful fragrance to the meat. Aerated potato fonduta — light whipped potatoes — accompany along with broccoli rabe. The lemon chicken jus is lovely, and I want more drizzled on to the potatoes.
Our choice of dessert is Havana — coconut rice pudding with a mango and pineapple sauce, and a fruit salad of small-dice kiwi, pineapple and mango with starfruit and blood orange as edible garnish. The lychee ice is also very refreshing.
Guys and Dolls run until Sunday, so if you’re looking to check out the Theater Prix Fixe, do it now.
Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge
615 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626