Last week, I visited Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge before the debut of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Chef Ross Pangilinan’s 3-course Prix Fixe Theater Menu ($45) especially created to pair with the show at hand.
I knew it was a sold out show, but wasn’t sure if the dining room was packed due to that. I heard later that Berry Gordy was in the audience that evening.
We start with an Amuse Bouche of poke tuna with radish disc. The tuna was nicely seasoned and the radish had a hint of tartness to it — perfect to activate the tastebuds for the meal to come.
All three courses offered a choice of two items. The first is The Supremes — a chopped salad with julienned strips of fennel salami and watermelon radish. Bocconcini mozzarella balls are soft and creamy. I especially enjoyed the garbanzo beans in this salad. I would have liked a little more crispy shallots, but it was a light and refreshing start to our meal.
ABC — was the farmers market vegetable soup of the evening. This yellow tomato gazpacho incorporated quinoa tabouleh, brown butter croutons and gremolata. The inclusion of red wine vinegar makes this soup a tad on the tart side, but it’s a taste I thoroughly enjoy.
Our second course included Motown Sound — a pork porterhouse which is first smoked, then grilled. A lobster mac and cheese accompanies along with roasted spring vegetables of zucchini, carrots and pearl onions. The rosemary jus is robust and rich.
However, it is the vegetarian option which blew me away. I Second That Emotion — a luscious house-made fettucine is tossed in kale pesto with squash, purple cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and pearl onions is bursting with flavor and I couldn’t stop eating it. I am always amazed that Chef Ross is able to take simple vegetables and make it taste hevenly.
The two desserts are both light and refreshing. Berry Gordy — is a chilled “berry” soup with a pistachio panna cotta I absolutely wanted more of. A beautiful composition, the burst of freshness is welcoming. I always like that Chef Ross’ theater menu is well balanced because I don’t want to fall asleep during the show due to heavy food.
Baby I Need Your Lovin’ is four scoops of ice cream — watermelon and black pepper; tangerine and honey. Absolutely incredible. I felt like I was eating fresh watermelon! The short crust cookie is addicting and so crispy, however, it is a huge portion and I am only able to eat the equivilent of one scoop. I was so sad to leave the rest.
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL theater prix fixe is available until July 28th. Show your tickets to receive 15% off your check.
Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge
615 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626