Valentine’s Day is on the minds of diners, but we found a menu you’ll love well into February.
Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan of Leatherby’s Café Rouge at Segerstrom Center for the Arts loves to create themed menus for the Broadway musicals that come to the Center.
We sampled his “Chicago” and “Beauty and the Beast” menus last month, and were delighted with the inventive combination of ingredients that not only blended perfectly on the plate and on the palate, but fit the themed of each show.
Chef Pangilinan has done it again with his fun menu for “The Wizard of Oz,” which runs through February 23.
For those who don’t know, Andrew Lloyd Webber has transferred the beloved 1939 movie musical to the stage with all the familiar songs, plus a few new ones penned by Webber and
Tim Rice (they wrote “Evita” togetgher).
Each course of the “Wizard of Oz” menu is titled after an iconic songs.
First is “We’re Off to See the Wizard” starter: Hamachi roll with ponzu gelée, yuzu air, wasabi, avocado, and puffed sushi rice. Then it’s on to the “If I Were King of the Forest” entrée: cedar smoked duck breast, bacon, forest mushroom, sweet potato, turnips, maple & cider jus. Dessert is “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” caramel pretzel bread pudding, with stewed apples, caramel apple ice cream, kettle corn caramel, and pretzel tuile.
The three-course, prix fixe “Wizard of Oz” menu is $45 per person, or $60 with wine pairings.
We also sampled Chef’s “Ruby Red” menu (butternut squash risotto with diver scallops, steak with lobster sauce, and dessert), served on Valentine’s Day for $60 per person but still tying into the “Wizard of Oz” theme.
Because Leatherby’s Café Rouge does not charge a corkage fees (one of the few local restaurants with this policy), Chris brought a bottle of Gypsy wine from Epiphany Cellars (“Gypsy for the wandering that Dorothy does in the play, and Epiphany for Dorothy’s epiphany moment at the end of the show”).
“The smoked flavor of the duck is perfect, and really enhances the flavors of the dish, especially when combined with the earthiness of the mushrooms, sweetness of the potato and salty flavor of the bacon,” noted Catherine. “And the dessert has an amazing artistic presentation with its edible yellow brick road next to the bread pudding.”
“Goodbye, yellow bricked road,” Chris sang as he helped demolish the dessert. “I agree with you, the duck was perfect. But so are the
scallops with the risotto. The pomegranates are a brilliant touch, they give a little added texture and flavor. I also loved the lobster sauce with the steak.”
“Something that I marvel at with Chef Pangilinan’s dishes—they’re all artistic and visually pleasing, and combine unexpected ingredients that each have their own different flavors and textures that leave you anticipating the next dish,” said Catherine.”
“I’d say Chef Pangilinan is the wizard of food,” Chris said with a smile.
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