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SixOneSix

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The first time I noticed owner/chef Jered Couch's attention to detail was at his previous establishment, The Dish. He used 1969 Verner Panton chairs (imagine sitting on Florence Griffith Joyner) on the patio. "This is going to be good," I remember thinking. And it was, but they closed. Now he's back, and his new place is better still.

At SixOneSix, I was reassured to see yet another nod to classic, mid-century modern design. George Nelson Bubble Lamps hover over the clean, contemporary interior like invading aliens poised to attack (we can only hope), as if diners are enjoying a final meal. And what a last meal they could have.

On my most recent visit, I had to try the foie gras. I just returned from the French Pyrenees, where stores devoted exclusively to this ethically dubious delicacy piqued my interest. SixOneSix's foie gras looks like something Matthew Barney would use to coat a dead horse, but the taste left me feeling like Bjork had done the same to me (that means I thought it was amazing). But I would strongly advise that if you order the foie, let it sit for a few minutes. It needs to warm a bit for the full flavor to be unleashed. Next I tried the watermelon gazpacho, which you won't like--if you don't like gazpacho that is. So, duh, don't order it! But if you like gazpacho, then you'll revel in the tango between watermelon and tomato, as it's chaperoned by the omnipresent, yet tempered taste of pepper. And for a finale on this indulgent night, I requested the buffalo ribeye special.

The ribeye comes with sides of a chipotle compote, green beans and pomme frites, all of which are bury-your-face-in-the-plate good. The steak, as a stand-alone cut of meat, is as fine as you'll find in the valley, but they crown it with Gorgonzola cheese. While in the Pyrenees, I noticed that the French often marry their steaks with Gorgonzola. I welcomed that combination in France, but the meat I had there was in no way the equal of the ribeye at SixOneSix. So I found the steak and Gorgonzola to be like Sonny and Cher--good together, but far more successful apart.

I could not eat any more that evening, but I hit SixOnSix fairly often. My favorite regular entree is their paella, which is a brave dish for a non-Basque restaurant. On my trip, we rode into Spain one day and feasted on paella, which only confirmed the genuine excellence of SixOneSix's version of this Basque classic.

--Waj Nasser went where?

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