We decided it was my “birthday,” so we ate like it was a celebration and devoured the seasonal menu at Flea Street Café in Menlo Park, California.
Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad
Surprisingly enough, the title of the dish didn’t include sexy burrata (burrata makes everything better…or is that bacon?). This summer seasonal salad was light, buoyant and delicious. The pecan pesto made vibrant with sea salt added a little heartiness to combat the sweet and tangy fruits and the silky creamy burrata.
Corn and Mushroom Agnolotti
The flavors were delicate, but at the same time pungent enough to hold their own. The sweet corn played to the fresh eggy pasta and the creamy, chewy mushrooms. Even the cheese brought punch, livening up the mellow moments.
Ricotta and Chive Gnocchi
The dense gnocchi dotted with green chives, swam in a mess of delicious chaos, served with a canopy of a thin crispy round of pancetta. Silky chanterelle mushrooms mellowed the tomato sofrito, which was more intense and tangy.
McFarland House-Smoked Trout
Pretty seasoned waffle potato chips were the perfect base for a flaky forkful of the smoky pink trout and a balanced pinch of the potato salad. The smoky bacon echoed the smoke in the trout bringing out the meatiness in the fish, while the salad –soft potatoes, salty bacon, pleasantly bitter frisee, and horseradish crème fraiche vinaigrette— added a complexity of flavors.
Lamb and Buckwheat Crepes
The layers of flavor and expertise were exhibited in this second course. The lamb was meaty and tender, meeting perfectly with the nuttiness of the doughy buckwheat crepes. The sweet roasted beets played to the sweetness of both the meat and the crepes, while the little crown of bitter frisee added complexity and recalled the earthiness of each element.
Which Came First?
This chicken entrée sounded complex complete with a poached egg and pork belly, but in the end felt like two separate dishes. One was comprised of sweet corn puree, smooth lobster mushrooms, mealy fava beans, salty pork belly, and the almost runny poached egg. The other was the filled rounds of chicken with crispy skin. It was a mishmash of freshness that encapsulated the season, but could have united more seamlessly.
Meyer Lemon Beignets
The tiny filled beignets were extremely tart, banishing all saccharine and greasy effects. The crunchy granules of sugar that coated their exterior and the crunchies beneath the cream were welcomed and necessary. The seasonal huckleberry compote added more tang and shifted the balance even further to an uncomfortable tartness.