Taste 09.19.19

Poppy Hall

Fritters accented by herbs and Swiss cheese under the care of Poppy Hall Chef Philip Wojtowicz are almost ethereal – a crisp shell revealing an airy dough, given essence by the lattice of cheese, offering a genteel calm with light, grassy drifts.

Wojtowicz is a free-form artist, at least with the fritters. They are not given a regular shape. Rather, he drops the dough and allows it to find its own form in the fryer. Still, this is something deserving of a fine balsamic drizzle and… grilled lettuce?

Yes, Wojtowicz has the temerity to plate these delicate, golden brown fritters alongside an unkempt mound of greens. On paper – even at first glance – the arrangement seems like a mismatch. There is a rich sweetness from the balsamic, as well as a tart edge. But the greens bristle with bitterness and flail against the aged vinegar, though to little avail.

It becomes everything the fritters aren’t: boastful, broad-shouldered, threatening.

Chefs often go for complementary flavors. But this distinct contrast works, taking your palate on a ride from the heavens to the earth, from the sublime to the intense, though equally blissful.

POPPY HALL, 589 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 204-9990, poppyhallpg.com

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