Take a Culinary Safari to Treasure Island’s Khotan
Funky, approachable Pan Asian with a side of Americana is how Executive Chef Craig Taylor described the newly invented menu at Treasure Island’s latest restaurant Khotan. And he wasn’t very far off the mark with his trio of descriptors.
Taking over the space that was Social House, Khotan’s Chef de Cuisine Apiruk “Lou” Hansrisuk has created an exquisite dining menu that features clean flavors that roll off one another for a wonderful culinary safari.
We began our dining journey with Khotan Peacock Asparagus which is Yaki Mochi (Chinese crackers) adhered to asparagus and served crispy with a side of tobiko caviar hollandaise, and ours was paired with Wandering Poet sake. This has to be what Chef Taylor was referring to when he said funky. It was certainly an odd combination of flavors that each stood on their own but at the same time fused together delightfully. We were tempted to order more but knew if this was the kind of culinary nuggets that lay ahead we better save our appetites.
The next stop was Grapefruit Snapper paired with Water Flow sake. Pieces of grapefruit were encased in raw Snapper and rested in a ceviche-like Kiwi sauce. The floral bouquet of the sake was a pleasant match with the clean and citrusy flavored dish.
The Khotan Thai “Cocktail” offers the “approachable Pan Asian” that Chef Taylor had referenced. Served with a subtlety sweet Drunken Snapper sake, Chef Lou’s version of shrimp cocktail was honey spice rubbed red prawns in chive oil served with a green papaya and cashew salad that had a nice zip to it without bringing much heat. Although all strong flavors, they co-mingled nicely for a winning dish.
The lightly wok fried Khotan Whole Fish P-A is noted as a Pan-Asian exploration of Cantonese fried catfish served with the citrus and soy flavors of Japanese ponzu sauce. This is one exploration that was a total success. Always big fans of catfish, we were delighted to try it but found it wasn’t like any catfish we had ever had before. Marinated for several hours in soy, garlic, ginger and lemongrass, the catfish had a subtle flavor and did not taste fishy at all. Between the perfectly marinated fish and the light and crispy skin, we picked it clean. Paired with an unexpected Clean Slate Riesling it worked very well. We don’t recommend going to Khotan without ordering this dish.
Now for the side of Americana, Chef Lou created a special of Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Uni Butter, Miso Asparagus and Sweet Potato Tempura just the day before as a surprise for a guest. Served to us with J Lohr Cabernet, the Uni (sea urchin) butter gave the beef a beautiful Kobe beef, rich flavor. The miso combined with grilled asparagus made for a brilliant duo.
Our culinary safari ended with a platter of assorted treats. By far and away the one we liked the most was Coconut Crème Brulee. As crème brulee junkies we were pretty certain we had tried every flavor ever conceived but never coconut. Because the coconut was chunky you could really taste each luscious bit of fruit. It was a dazzling taste sensation, if you like your desserts really sweet as we do. For those who want to dial down the sweet scale by a couple of degrees, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake was also very good.
You can most definitely tell Chef Lou and Chef Craig had fun creating this menu, and you will have just as much fun eating your way through it.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 at 2:37 pm
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