Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fabulous foie gras from Ashley's

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 7:19 AM

IMG_1969.JPG
Few foods have ruffled as many feathers as foie gras. But I am decidedly pro-foie. Perhaps it’s somewhat heathen to so enjoy slurping down the liver of a fattened duck, but I simply find this stuff irresistible. I’ve seen foie gras on a handful of menus in central Arkansas, but it remains (at least in my opinion) an entirely underutilized ingredient.

Recently, I had the opportunity to dine at Ashley’s in the Capital Hotel. You’re probably all fully aware by now of the departure by acclaimed chef Lee Richardson, and you’re probably equally aware that sous chef Matthew Bell was called upon to fill these rather sizeable shoes. Furthermore, you probably know that Bell will soon be venturing out on his own to open his own restaurant at the Oxford American on Main. What does all this mean to you and how does it relate to foie gras? Because Bell’s current menu, a menu that will not likely be around for much longer, features one of the greatest foie gras dishes I’ve ever tasted…anywhere. You need to taste it.

The dish in question features foie two ways. The first is a straightforward presentation…a thick slice of foie simply seared on both sides. This is, perhaps, the most unadulterated approach to foie and allows one to experience all of its inherent almost pudding-like texture, rich flavor, and smooth, oily mouth-feel. The foie is bedded on a smear of stewed fig puree, a thickened, sweet paste that works to enhance and compliment the otherwise fatty flavors of the dish. Lastly, a light sprinkling of candied bacon completes this portion of the dish. The final result is simply stunning…but things don’t end there.

Next comes a pair of extraordinary macarons. You may have realized by now I have a weakness for pastries. I adore macarons, but these were unlike any I’ve had before. They begin with light, airy pecan macaron cookies…perfectly baked with a delicate, crisp exterior and chewy, nutty-flavored interior. These are filled with a rich, decadent foie gras mousse. This was a stroke of genius. It's a dish that teeters between sweet and savory, nearly comfortable on the dessert menu but too rich, salty, and buttery to make its home there permanently.

Truthfully, the entire meal was full of impressive dishes. Suffice it to say, Chef Bell is holding his own at the Capital Hotel. But he’ll only be there until the end of the year, and then he’ll ship off to his next venture. I can only hope his successor (and I’ve got a pretty good idea who it is) will be doing foie as well as Bell’s doing it now, it’s already a rare enough treasure in this city.

The Capital Hotel is located at 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock. You’ll find this foie under the ‘first course’ section of the dinner menu.

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Daniel Walker

  • The Kraft Mac & Cheese Food Hack

    Recently, we held another food hack competition, taking another childhood classic, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and tried to turn it on its head, creating something entirely new and unique. Again, the results were pretty awesome. The rules were simple: Use a whole box of mac and cheese, both noodles and cheese powder, and turn it into any sinister monstrosity imaginable. We had a vote via the Eat Arkansas Facebook page to crown a winner. Here's what was submitted:
    • Jul 30, 2014
  • Food Feedback Friday: The "We need your vote!" edition

    Alrighty...you know the drill with Food Feedback. Tell us what you're eating this week and what you thought about it. I love to hear all the suggestions and I'm frequently looking back through your recommendations to determine my next meal. So share away! Happy weekend, y'all.
    • Jul 25, 2014
  • Looking in on the new Le Pops, now in the Heights

    Le Pops is a wonderful addition to the Heights neighborhood. Laurie Harrison is incredibly dedicated to her product, she still works here 7 days a week and is constantly experimenting in the kitchen to develop new flavors. Check them out the next time you need a cool down.
    • Jul 24, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Bill to regulate dog breeders draws opposition inside chamber from industry rep

    A fight could be brewing over regulation of puppy mills, with legislation planned to better protect dogs and opposition already underway from a state representative who makes a living working with commercial dog breeders.
  • The hart

    It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
  • Arkansas's new anti-gay law forgets history

    It turns back the clock on civil rights.
  • Hot Springs woman sues; says she was fired for being transgender

    One of the biggest lies of the battle to institutionalize legal discrimination against LGBT people in Arkansas is that protections are unneeded.
  • Presbytery of Arkansas opposes bills aimed at gay discrimination

    The Presbytery of Arkansas, the governing body for Presbyterian churches in the northern two-thirds of Arkansas, met Saturday at Clarksville and adopted a resolution urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, which is aimed at preventing local government from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people. The Presbytery also expressed its opposition to a pending House bill that, in the name of "conscience," would protect those who discriminate against gay people.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation