I cannot express in words how amazing the food at Journeyman has been lately. But that isn't going to stop me from trying. Perhaps it's just the expectation of having to see it go, perhaps it's that I've been eating on Mondays recently, perhaps I'm just easily amused.
Today, I finally convinced my colleagues to join me for dinner, so there were six of us ordering different variations on the menu. And there were five people lightly mocking one person for knowing a bit too much about the food. They're just jealous, I'm sure.
I went straight-up omnivore (with the vegetarian amuse-bouche; a sign I'm perhaps over-familiar with the menu at this point). But Tse Wei and Diana threw in three excellent surprises.
Now Actually Talking About The Food
Amuse-bouche. Carrot cheesecake with an everything bagel crumble and a crisp. Great savory flavor. (The omnivore version has salmon roe, something I'm not partial to.)
Tomato Salad. Running out of time. Tse Wei said afterward that they aren't finding tomatoes that have the flavor they want any more. And they were out of olive crumble today; for me, the olive was a crucial non-tomato element. I know I have praised this dish repeatedly, but it has finally passed its prime. Still good, but I'm glad it's leaving (and that I may get to see its successor this Friday).
Zucchini and Marjoram Soup. As king tomato retires, this smooth, full, spicy and wonderfully green soup (with its inclusions of roast corn, corn flan, blueberries, scallion(?), and pickled watermelon) is poised to take over the crown as the strong anchor of the start of the meal. This course is unashamedly delicious -- of everything that came out today, this is the only one that stopped conversation.
Cod. Milder than the last iteration, and with a bit of actual fish-y flavor (oddly enough). They have finally found the correct way to prepare the wheat it is served over -- slightly crunchy, but not combative.
Clams and Oysters. Clams, oysters, watermelon, citrus, dill -- I'm still amazed at how well this course works. This version had smaller watermelon cubes, which is actually quite nice when going for that perfect bite of a cube and a dill flower. (Clams are still great with their citrus-y flavor, oysters still great in general.)
Sweetbreads. (A surprise course!) This extra course was completely unexpected, and quite enjoyable. There is an opportunity to compare thought processes here:
Some of us: "sweetbread... that's some sort of organ meat, right?" (turns out it's the thymus) "well, let me take a bite; ooh, chewy, fatty. Nice."
Others: "Hmm, chewy, fatty. Nice." (conversation turns to what sweetbread means) "I don't think I can finish this."
Regardless, it was a delicious, slightly chewy morsel presented wonderfully inside a ring of squash, and with a great cashew-based sauce.
Foie Gras Ice Cream. (surprise presentation) with cacao, smoked salt, matsutake(?) mushroom. Wow. A further play on the rich and savory strengths of the foie gras; a clean presentation; wonderful taste. This eclipses the previous iteration (presented as part of the standard foie dish). Good enough to make me think about shoehorning yet another visit to Journeyman into my last week.
Lamb. Still very good, but I've already written about this dish at length. I will mention that the presentation is slightly improved from the photo in the previous article.
Prunes on Shiro Plum Sorbet on Hazelnut Meringue. One of my two favorite things in this meal (the F.G.I.C. being the other). So simple, but so nicely balanced. The shiro plum sorbet adds a bright note, the prunes add body and follow-through to the flavor. The meringue adds harmony and texture contrast.
Peach Dessert. I hope I've written about this before. It's still good, and it's still very pretty on the plate. I think it was plated better today than the two previous times I had it -- managing that brush stroke of sesame sauce takes a certain touch.
Post-dessert treats. An as-usual wonderful assortment of various little treats. One of the financier cakes had a (surprise) candle; which was a very nice gesture. Oh, and the caramel featured an interesting herbal flavor that I couldn't quite place (lemon-something; lemongrass?).