I haven't seen my best friend in a year. He lives in Sun Valley but prolonged medical duties have kept him very busy lately. So when he told me he was given a two-week break, I eagerly invited him to join me for dinner at Berryhill & Co. Unfortunately, he brought his "former pro-figure skater turned chef to the stars" girlfriend with him. I hate eating with this woman, and she didn't wait long to start behaving like Julia Child channeling Tonya Harding.
Without consultation, the unwelcome interloper ordered our wine and wild salmon cake hors d'oeurves. Line caught from the less mercurial Pacific ocean--outstanding!
She then decided I would try the chicken and rice soup de jour--big, chewy, perfect--while they shared house, and wilted spinach and cranberry salads. My buddy thought the salad was supposed to be warm, but his girlfriend acerbically noted that only the basil vinaigrette was intended to be warm. True, and both salads were exceptional.
For my main course, I was brow beaten into ordering the filet oscar--so tender it was easier to cut than education spending from the state budget. Delightful! Subsequently she quizzed me on the constituents of an oscar topping (crab, asparagus and béarnaise sauce) and then the difference between béarnaise and hollandaise sauce (unprintable response). She made my buddy order the fresh wildfish salmon because he hasn't had much seafood lately. The salmon was grilled and blanketed with salsa and a light cilantro crème fraiche. The entree was matched with coconut jasmine rice and organic vegetables. The fish was well done and thus too dry. She took one look at the salmon and pronounced it overcooked by 30 seconds. Her entree, a baked sea bass presented over spinach, was covered in a creative crust of Danish brie crème and Parmesan. Remarkably, the crust did not overwhelm the light sea bass. She loved the dish.
When our waitress--very nice, but inexperienced--offered dessert, my buddy's keeper demurred and first insisted on knowing what type of coffee would be served. To her begrudging satisfaction, Berryhill brews a Dawson Taylor bean selected especially for the restaurant. My friend and I were ecstatic because we were allowed to order an indulgent assortment of sweets to mercifully end the evening. The girlfriend asked me what I thought about dinner--exceptional--but ignored me before I could answer and queried her boyfriend instead.
"Beats MREs," he wistfully replied.
--Waj Nasser is accepting applications for a personal chef.