Foie Gras フォアグラー

In my recent post about all the yummy stuff I ate in Tokyo, I refrained from discussing my appetizer at Les Saisons on account that I thought it was so good it deserved its own post. The appetizer was seared goose foie gras with warm strawberries and a spritz of twenty-five-year-old Balsamic vinegar, garnished with a fragile ring of crispy batter.

On the menu, it didn’t sound that amazing to me. I mostly just wanted to get foie gras because I didn’t know when I’d be able to have it again. I had had foie gras before – only once, if memory serves, at a Belgian restaurant in Hong Kong – and I must say, I was underwhelmed. Or at least, after having had this particular foie gras, the stuff I had before seems, in retrospect, incredibly underwhelming

This foie gras was like nothing I had ever tasted before. It was like eating softened butter, or a warm custard of heavy cream, encased in a carbonized, perfectly firm skin; the foie gras was solid, and structured, and yet the way it melted upon my tongue suggested Swiss milk chocolate. The flavor was unfathomably deep: silky, mellow, fatty sweetness washed over the inherent earthiness of liver. Satiny pâté, tender chāshū, luscious ōtoro, all synthesized in this one, supple masterpiece.

It sounds heavy, and it was. Nevertheless, it was dangerously easy to eat, somehow light and delicate in spite of its richness. The strawberries and vinegar (I hesitate to call it vinegar; after a quarter of a century, it is much more like syrup) provided a pleasant twang, a flicker of sweetness and mild sourness to contrast and focus the fat-packed liver. But in my opinion, the foie gras hardly needed any accompaniment – it was just that good.

The whole thing nearly made me weep. And I believe that is the first time food has ever made me feel that way.

I should move to France.


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