Taking a little break from her regular brunching adventures, Brandy recently had the chance sample some of the new dinner menu at Travelle Kitchen + Bar, the chic, fine dining restaurant on the second floor of the Langham Hotel. The restaurant up until a month ago boasted a menu of mainly Mediterranean inspired dishes, but has now transitioned to more approachable American classics. Executive Chef Tim Graham and Pastry Chef Scott Green have worked hard at creating dishes that are comfortable and familiar with a seasonal mind, but still have an element of elevation.
Sitting down at the table in the middle of the room, surrounded by a glass wall encasing some beautifully lit wine racks, Brandy was greeted by the fresh scent from a bouquet of herbs that had been set on each plate. She loved this touch, as it not only drew the attention to the table setting and then to the rest of the sparkling, sophisticated decor, but also set the tone for the fresh food ahead.
To begin the meal, Brandy perused the cocktail menu, recently developed by brand new beverage director, Priscilla Young. The menu (referred to as a "library" because cocktails will be continually added to it without any being taken off) drew inspiration from the classics and Midwest flavors. Brandy began with The Clover Club, a soft and sweet raspberry flavored drink served in a delicate gimlet glass. Secondly, Brandy sampled something a little more bold with the Smoke, Metal, and Wood. This cocktail came served in a metal cup on a wooden board, garnished with a slice of orange and a rosemary sprig, and was infused table side with the scent of smoked cloves, a flavor that strangely grew stronger as she sipped, which Brandy simply adored as it made her think of sitting beside a roaring fire in the winter time. Throughout the evening, several more drinks were brought to the table, like a fruity burgundy, a zippy champagne, and a cocktail that was so secret it wasn't even on the menu yet, but came served in a giant copper pineapple with a couple of twirly straws and a flaming lime wedge on top.
The next course Brandy chose was the Field Squash Soup. The vibrant soup had been bedecked with a powerful chili oil that Brandy hadn't been ready for, sweetened with pear and cranberry, and textured with a sprinkling of granola. The soup's flavor was deep, earthy, and rich without being overly heavy. The tart little bites of cranberry really helped to keep things exciting and the granola pieces at the bottom of the bowl had Brandy digging through the soup in anticipation of the next little bit of crunch.
For the entree, Brandy picked the Casareccia Pasta and was instantly glad she had. Chef Tim Graham himself carted out a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese which he tossed the tube shaped pasta in along with a yellow tomato sauce and then topped the dish a generous helping of herbed ricotta. The bite on the hand rolled pasta was just perfectly al dente and the sauce had a lovely creamy mouth feel, no doubt from having been infused with the nutty cheese. The ricotta actually helped to lighten up the dish a bit, providing a bit of soft and fluffy texture as well as a freshness from the infused herbs.
various events, Brandy was probably most excited to see what he had to offer. She decided on the Chocolate Cake, a dish she had already previewed a few weeks ago at the Taste of the Nation event, but couldn't wait to try again. The cake was dense and moist with a rich bittersweet chocolate flavor and was layered with ganache that was at least an inch thick. The cake had been topped with a brown butter coconut frosting reminiscent of a German chocolate cake, which made Brandy smile with a flood of nostalgia for her own mother's baked goods. On the side was more of the coconut frosting on top of a corn flake crunch that Brandy could have gladly eaten a bowl of, covered in chocolate milk.
All in all, the dinner of elevated American classics left Brandy with a warm and fuzzy feeling in both her belly and her soul. "If this place wasn't so posh I'd consider arriving for my next meal wearing nothing but a fleece blanket around my shoulders and a pair of cashmere slippers on my feet. Perhaps if I add a few pieces of jewelry to the mix, no one will be any the wiser."
The writers of this blog were invited to dine by the restaurant free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.