The best seared foie gras ever (and an interesting discussion of Boccioni)

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Above: The best seared foie gras I’ve ever had, last night at Tesar’s in the Woodlands (Houston). Chef Tesar sears it so aggressively that the outside is charred while the inside becomes gelatinous. Before searing it, he studs it with a vanilla bean. Paired with Château Les Justices 2005 Sauternes, served by the glass by my friend Scott Barber, top sommelier AND art historian.

My line of work brings me into contact with some pretty interesting folks.

Yesterday afternoon, I headed down from Dallas toward Houston and met cousins Joanne and Marty at the relatively new and much-talked-about Tesar’s Modern Steak and Seafood in the Woodlands. Chef John Tesar is one of those young buck celebrity chefs who’s done it all: New York, Vegas, the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas (the most ostentatious city in the world)… And now he’s branched out on his own with a high-end namesake restaurant.

My friend sommelier Scott Barber had been raving about the food and man, I gotta say (and ya’ll know I don’t say this lightly), the food was kick-ass good.

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Above: Mediterranean-style octopus can be harder to prepare than it looks. Scott agreed that the secret (after tenderization) is patience: it simply takes a long time to achieve the desired tenderness. It was off-the-charts good, I gotta say.

But the star of the evening last night was Umberto Boccioni. Before getting into wine, Scott studied art history in Italy. The funny thing: neither of us were into wine at the time, but we both lived and studied in Italy during the same period (literature and paleography in my case). He has seen my post the other day where I incorporated one of my favorite Boccioni paintings, “La rissa in galleria” (“The Riot in the Galleria”).

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Above: The fetishization of beef. One of the signature dishes at Tesar’s is “side-by-side” where you taste grain-fed and grass-fed beef side-by-side. One could argue until one is black and blue in the face about which is better!

Boccioni is such an interesting painter and his work is fraught with tension — historical and aesthetic. I was THRILLED that someone appreciated the reference and why I made it. Our conversation drifted to the significance, cultural and sociological, of the painting’s backdrop, the Galleria of Milan, the famed 19th-century domed arcade of the Lombard capital. Marty pointed out that the Galleria lent its name and its arched dome to Houston’s consumerist mecca, the Houston Galleria.

But I digress… Food and wine are just a pretext to discuss aesthetics, no?

Tesar’s is not cheap but it really delivered: would you like a little Boccioni with your Fixin?

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Above: The 2004 Fixin by Mortet showed gorgeous, unexpected acidity and paired swimmingly well with house-made garganelli tossed with Parmigiano Reggiano and grated black truffles.

Thanks again, Joanne and Marty, for a wonderful dinner. And thanks again, Scott, for the Boccioni and the Fixin!

In other news…

The best news is that today I’m headed home to that super fine lady of mine… This lonely heart’s been away two days too long!

Yesterday, driving in the rain from Dallas to Houston, “Heard it in a Love Song” by Marshall Tucker Band came on. Man, what an awesome song. Can’t be wrong…

10 thoughts on “The best seared foie gras ever (and an interesting discussion of Boccioni)

  1. I remember the first time I had Foie Gras and a good Sauternes…had thought it was all hype, but there is a reason it is one of the most acclaimed food and wine pairings ever.

  2. Hi Jeremy…wow the food looks amazing, especially the Octopus. Very tasty!

    My son is a chef in the Royal Air Force in the UK , and he went to Chicago a couple of years ago for the Chicago Culinary Classics, with a team from the Forces..The other teams were restaurateurs.. my sons team came away with a Silver. Not sure how it was all judged as they came 6th out of 12. Not bad for a first try. They then went to Efurt in Germany for the World Culinary Olympics and got Gold and Silver.

    Look forward to reading more. Hope all the plans for the wedding are in place..loved Tracie B’s cake choosing. :-)

  3. You call it fetishization of beef. I call it a fantastic and innovative pairing. The difference between the two is in the animal’s misery and sustainability. If people can see that grass-fed tastess just as good, feedlots from hell with cows standing in ankle-deep poo slime will become a thing of the past.

  4. I thought maybe you’d put an image from States of Mind in the article although the sliced steak does have a Cubist element to the shot. Call it Dinamismo di Manzo.

    Feedback on the grass-grain is around 50% each but the grain is really good dry aged prime so the deck is loaded. Now the Japanese Wagyu is a whole other story.

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