Mouthwatering Peek at Sierra Mar's New Taste of Big Sur Tasting Menu
December 6, 2012
Not a bad year for John Cox—and therefore, not a bad year for local foodie appetites.
First Chef Cox took a trusted but tired community landmark, Casanova (625-0501), and gave it vibrant new life with an ingredient-driven tectonic shift, as I described with an April piece called "Super 'Nova: Recent updates to Carmel institution Casanova are downright delicious." (It includes word on how he's also given sibling spot Le Bicyclette and local nonprofit MEarth a boost too.)
Then he took over as exec chef at arguably Monterey County's finest and freshest outpost, Sierra Mar, as I broke word in June. (The Weekly was also there first to celebrate the admirable decade-and-a-half legacy of his predecessor, Craig Von Foerster.)
Now his much anticipated Big Sur menu, a celebration of texture, terroir, sourcing and, above all, local delicacies, is here.
It's Per Se-style luxury with an accompanying sticker price ($160 before $95 wine pairing), but there is that clifftop view nobody else with this kind of food—not Gary Danko or Boulevard or French Laundry—can so much as sniff.
My favorite line on the menu isn't "ancient Ohlone dressing on wild blossoms" but "due to the rarity of these ingredients we cannot offer items a la carte or substitutions." You shouldn't be messing with Cox's mojo anyway.
Here's a look, with the reminder that it will change as frequently as Big Sur weather:
“Roe Roe Roe” A Tasting of Rare and Indigenous Caviars Champagne Jules Lassalle “Carte d’Or” Brut, Montagne de Reims
Red Abalone in Two Parts Pressed in Smoked Kelp – Locally Foraged Seaweeds/“Dorée” –Tomato, Basil, Brown Butter Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru 2009, Burgundy
Big Sur Chanterelles Roasted, Pickled, Dried Stanko Radikon Pinot Grigio 2009 (extended maceration), Friuli
Wild Herbs and Blossoms Ancient Ohlone Dressing
Rose Geranium Roasted Quail Heirloom Carrot, Ras El Hanout Onesimo “Hirsch-Custom Cuvée” Pinot Noir 2010, Sonoma Coast
Wild Boar Tenderloin Three Preparations of Bay Laurel, Persimmon Luciano Sandrone, Nebbiolo Valmaggiore 2009, Piedmont
Big Sur Manchego Hay Smoldered Onion, Porcini, Pumpkin Bodegas Argueso, Xeres”‘San Leon” Manzanilla Clasica, Andalusia
Eichorn Meyer Lemon Oak Smoked Chocolate Crèmeux Clos Solène “Sweet Clementine” Banyuls style Grenache, Paso Robles