Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


The Qube Experience

Chris and I walked past Qube after the ALA show yesterday and saw that it was half empty so we decided to go. Unfortunately, my food obsession would not allow me to try a hot, hip new restaurant without batteries in my camera so we wandered around for far too long looking for anywhere in the after-hours Pike Market vicinity that sold batteries, as my camera was completely dead. When we finally made our way back to Qube it had filled up (and proceeded to fill up yet more while we were there) and we were forced to sit at the bar, much to my disappointment. After a long day on the show floor, I really could have used a chair with a back for starters. However, I figured this was my shot so I stuck it out and stayed at the bar instead of trying to come back another day.

While I made a visit to the bathroom, Chris ordered up a gin-based mojito-style drink from our harried-but-pleasant bar tender. I was trying to choose from the sake menu but was having trouble envisioning the difference between 250ml and 300ml bottles. He kindly pulled out a bottle from the fridge for my reference and I decided to go with the 300ml bottle of the Sayuri unfiltered. Cloudy, sweet, very light, perfect. I felt much better after a glass of that.

Chris and I decided the "Qubed Set" ("3-Ingredients, 3-Ways, 3-Courses) was the way to go, much to our bartender's relief as he was struggling to keep up with drinks and orders for everyone. While we waited for our orders we were served fresh, hot naan bread with two dipping sauces. One was a mango puree, the other may have been a baba ganoush, topped with sesame oil and sesame seeds. It tasted mostly of the oil so it was hard to tell what else was in it. This was very good and took the edge off both my attitude and my hunger.

The appetizer course for the Turf menu was sake braised oxtail in cabbage, beef bulgogi served kabob-style, and a spicy "keftah" meatball on chickpeas. Chris let me try a bit of everything he had all night and I can vouch that all of these items are fantastic and deserve thumbs up. In contrast, I had the Surf menu and my salmon was served smoked and rolled "sushi-style", roe as caviar on a miniature blini, and in a divine salmon tartar. The blini was good but small enough that I really couldn't share it in any meaningful way with Chris, so my opinion alone will have to suffice. The tartar was as good a salmon tartar as I've ever had and I would have happily eaten a plate of that alone. Delicious, delicate stuff. The smoked salmon part of the rolled salmon was fine but the rice was a real sour note: very cold, hard and crumbly texture, like eating leftover Chinese food out of the take-home box without bothering to heat it up. I did not enjoy the rice at all and would not order that combo again to avoid it.

The Entree portion of the Turf menu was, again, hitting on all cylinders. Chris chose wisely. Duck leg confit in a green onion crepe, perfectly roasted duck breast paired with pomegranate (out of this world), and the crowning glory of a piece of seared foie gras paired with a slice of mango and Earl Grey gastrique. Nothing short of outstanding on all counts and Chris generously shared it all with me. The Surf entrees included prawn "mousse" that was advertised as being poached in white wine. The little dollops of prawn seemed more like they'd been fried than poached but that's not a knock against them. Very delicate and tasty. The grilled giant prawns with curry and eggplant were the best, tender and prawny, not overwhelmed by the curry, and the eggplant so soft it was creamy. Swoon! Unfortunately, this dish was served with coconut rice cubes, which would normally be right up my alley (as I love coconut rice and curry!) but it was the same awfully-textured rice as in the sushi-style roll and even the addition of coconut couldn't make me eat it. Stay away from the rice! The sweet-sour-spicy prawn and pineapple preparation was the best thing on the plate and absolutely delicious so even without the rice I had a pretty satisfying meal. By this time we're six for six on Pramas' menu and four for six on mine. Even four for six isn't a disappointment, because the four were so, so good.

The dessert course was a winner all around. I was a little jealous of Pramas' assortment of mini ramekins of creme brulee because I do so love that classic dessert. The vanilla classic-style was everything a creme brulee should be, just perfectly prepared. The "basil-perfumed" dark chocolate topped with candied ginger should have been right up my alley but I'd already had a bit of my own dark chocolate mousse and there just was no comparison. By far the best dessert of the six was the caramelized banana: fresh, simple, creamy... everything it should have been. To my surprise, I adored all three mousses as well. Normally white chocolate and milk chocolate desserts are too sweet for me but not the mousse at Qube. The milk chocolate was delicate and not too sweet at all, the white chocolate was creamy and smooth without a hint of that sticky-sweet white chocolate unctuousness.

As we were leaving the two guys who had been sitting on the other side of Pramas at the bar stopped me to comment that they'd noticed I was taking pictures and wondered if I was a critic or something. I try not to be so conspicuous with my food photoing but when one is seated at a crowded bar, it can't be helped. So we had a funny conversation where I explained a bit about my food blogging, chit chatting about my various experiences at restaurants, what I thought of Qube (did the green walls and orange pillars bug me?) and so on. Unfortunately, Chris had already made it to the door and had come back in to wait for me so I didn't want to hang around overly long talking while he wondered what had become of me but this is the second time where discussion of my food blogging habits has led me to a pleasant and enjoyable conversation with fellow restaurant patrons. I invited them to drop by the blog (if they can remember it's Nik (with a K) chick dot com (not dot org or dot net). The whole exchange was fun and funny and I left Qube well-satisfied with the food and with a smile on my face.

Qube is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, dinner every night from 5pm-10pm, and late night dinner menu from 10-12 on the weekends. It's only been open a month or so and still has its "Grand Opening" sign up but it's hip and hopping. I'll be back, definitely.

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