Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Delphine - Wing Nite Tuesdays

A little Pop Culture Word Scramble of the Day: "With great power comes great responsibility" (yes, quoting from that famous comic-spawned franchise) and with great responsibility comes a need to getaway from time to time.  That I think is at the heart of Delphine's new Wing Nite Tuesday, brought to you by Chef Sascha Lyon.  What better reason for a chef with NYC brasserie cred, a la Balthazar, Pastis, and the eponymous Sascha, now at the helm of a Mediterrenean inspired French restaurant at the W hotel, to create said escapist fare?

And indeed Chef Lyon states that his goal is to create no fuss, affordable and accessible good food - veering from showpiece dishes to the visceral, what any person could enjoy, and what chefs would want to eat after they got off a long day on the line ("easy eating").  Food that you can have a personal connection with, food that you can eat with your hands.

That said, these are definitely not your every day bar grub slap dash buffalo wings - they're made sous-vide, then flash fried for a crisp, light exterior.

Last Tuesday I was lucky enough to be invited to a media tasting to check out Chef Lyon's offerings - and was treated to the full gamut of wings from the classic to Asian-inspired flavors. 

One of my favs (shocking, I know) was the Truffle Cheese Wings (all wings on menu are $4.50 per basket) - I know this was Chef Lyon's 'obligatory' wings for Los Angelenos who associate truffle with foodie, but I am not ashamed to be among the fans of these wings as they were pretty fantastic.  The truffle oil was so fragrant I could smell the wings as our waitress approached the table, and I liked the light sprinkling of cheese atop the crispy outer shell, which gave way to the tenderest, juiciest meat.
My second fav, perhaps because it's unusual, was Thai Red Curry.  First off, I have to say I liked the use of different shapes and sizes of wings/drumsticks for each variety on the menu.  They could have taken the easy way out and fried up the same wings by truckloads, and simply distinguish each variety by the dipping sauces.  But they took the time and care to select and prepare the wing/drumstick that works best as a canvas for the chosen flavors.  The Thai Red Curry was nice as it provided a relatively flat surface with minimal fat and a good amount of meat to let the nuances of the curry shine through.  A fellow blogger and I wondered whether a Med-French chef doing Asian flavors on an American classic would be able to pull off the curry without it being gimmicky and 'westernized'.  I'm no curry expert, but the curry provided tasted pretty authentic to me, and I thought that the curry in combination with the wings was well executed. 

Others at the table raved about the Honey Sriracha (basket came with a little syrup server of honey sriracha dip) but I thought it was too sweet with not enough heat.  Other flavors sampled were BBQ Beer with Green Chili, Spiced Honey, Ranch Country and Delphine Red Hot.  When asked for his favorites, Chef Lyon named: Honey Sriracha, Thai Curry, Spiced Honey and Truffle Cheese.

Wing Nite menu also serves up sides for $3 each: Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Potato Salad and Celery & Carrots with Bleu Cheese.  My favorite by far was the Potato Salad ($3) - again not just  your run-of-the-mill russet potato salad, but one made with a mix of different organic pee wee potatoes including purple ones!  The sauce was creamy but light, so that each bit didn't sink straight down your body like a brick.

Also on the menu are two specialty cocktails as well as four beers, varying from $3 to $10 each.  Of these, my favorite was Early Tea - though I kinda got so distracted by all the food that I didn't get a chance to write down what was in the drink!
 Delphine was incredibly generous with the tasting and provided endless baskets of wings.  We were so stuffed a few of us thought we could never eat chicken again (until we find something amazing on dineLA menus at least).  
To help digest and refresh, we received a round of Delphine's best salads from the regular menu to try - I of course really loved the Delphine Salad ($13 on regular menu) with escarole, red onions, walnuts, grana padano, and super fragrant lemon truffle vinaigrette.
Just when we thought we'd run out of stomach space, the chef kindly treated us to a round of desserts (each $9 from the regular menu)! 
I loved the Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Hazelnut and Almond Cake, Milk Chocolate Mousse, Coffee Ice Cream, though the mousse was a little thick after the massive meal.

Next up was the Chilled Apple Risotto - Chilled Apple Rice, Caramel Apples, Salted Caramel Ice Cream.  This was a cool concept that is beautifully plated - with ingredients that you can taste are market fresh. 

The last dish though was my favorite of the desserts: Profiteroles Filled with Vanilla Ice Cream, drizzled with Warm Chocolate Sauce.  This dish was simple, and classic, but very well executed - the ice cream was refreshing after the flurry of wings, and the profiteroles were toe-curling-texture-perfect.  Loved that the warm chocolate sauce was drizzled over it on the spot so that the chocolate doesn't turn the dough puffs soggy before you can get to them.

All in all, a great time at Delphine, with tasty but low maintenance, fun to eat food in a lovely setting at a reasonable price.  With Raw Bar Mondays ($1/$2 oysters on the half shell!) and now Wing Nite Tuesdays - there are many reasons and deals to ensure my return!

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $ (1 bite mark)
Probability of return visit - 100%

6250 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028  
Ph: 323.798.1355

Wing Night Tuesdays
Raw Bar Mondays:  5pm-10:30pm throughout restaurant
Happy Hour daily:  5-7pm at the bar


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