November 9, 2019 – Collaboration dinner between Chef Yu Bo (originally from Chengdu. Sichuan, China) and Chef Laurent Quenioux of Bistro LQ/LQ Foodings took place this last 2 weekends at a dining hall inside Hotel Normandie in Koreatown. The central ingredient throughout the dinner was Alba White Truffles, which were wonderfully aromatic and flavorful. The dinner began with 6 amuse bouche from Chef Yu, paired 7 amuse from Chef Quenioux . I found out about Chef Yu Bo from an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods,” Chengdu episode, featuring Yu’s Family Kitchen and Chef Yu Bo’s elaborate dinners that can feature up to 40 courses. Ever since that episode, I’ve been dreaming of having one of Chef Yu Bo’s dinners, and tonight may be the closest I’ll get to one of those 40 course dinners.
I borrowed my friend’s Fuji XT 20 camera, which takes excellent pictures. Unfortunately, due to my lack of experience with this camera, I wasn’t able to take all sharp pictures. Some have come out blurry. Below are the 6 amuse from Chef Yu Bo, and what he is known for – the meticulous preparation of simple vegetable dishes that look so elegant and have such clean flavors.
Below: First & Second Amuse – Bitter Melon with Litsea Oil by Chef Yu Bo (Left), and Bitter Melon Grecque Style by Chef Quenioux (Right). Light, crunchy and very refreshing.
Third & Fourth Amuse – Silk Ribbon Snake Beans in Ginger Sauce by Chef Yu Bo (L), and Blue Crab Gingered Achard by Chef Quenioux (R). The beans were quite spicy, and the diners around me found the spice level a bit too much for them.
Fifth & Sixth Amuse – Snow White Coral Roll by Chef Yu Bo (L), and Pate Croute Grouse by Chef Quenioux (R). Love the light and refreshing aspects of the coral roll. The flavor was familiar but was not able to picture what the whole vegetable looked like.
Seventh & Eight Amuse – Sparrow’s Wing Broccoli by Chef Yu Bo (L), and Petit Gris Snail Anticucho by Chef Quenioux (R). Loved the knife work with the broccoli stem, as the slivers are sliced evenly and staggered so that it resembles the feathers on a sparrow’s wing.
Ninth & Tenth Amuse – Pickled Endive Sprout by Chef Yu Bo (L), and Braised Endive Chipotle Cotija by Chef Quenioux (R). Love not only the contrast in textures between the two amuse but also the flavors (one subtle, the other full and rich).
Eleventh & Twelfth Amuse – Tomatoes with Aged Mandarin Peel Powder by Chef Yu Bo (L), and Mandarin Truffle Honey by Chef Quenioux (R). Bottom picture features the dried Mandarin peels used for some of the dishes.
Thirteenth Amuse – Smoked Haddock Potato Ball over Black Garlic Congee by Chef Quenioux . The pairing of Western flavors with Eastern flavors. Loved this amuse. I could eat half a dozen of these.
Entrees and Desserts Menu. Here is where we are spoiled with an abundance of Alba White Truffles shaved or grated onto the dishes, plus the use of luxury ingredients such as spiny lobsters, A5 Wagyu Beef from Japan, abalone, and uni.
First and Second Courses – Mapo Tofu/Avocado/Abalone by Chef Yu Bo (Top), and Abalone/Arborio Rice/Uni by Chef Quenioux (Bottom). Great start to the main section of dinner – always loved abalone, and the truffles were pungent and quite flavorful. The mapo tofu flavor was different from what I’ve tasted at Sichuanese restaurants, and the spiciness of the dish was unapologetic. Much spicier than mapo tofu dishes I’ve had at restaurants as well.
Third and Fourth Courses – Fish Fragrant Lobster by Chef Yu Bo (T), and Pacific Lobster/Mango/Ginger/Avocado/Yuzu Vinaigrette by Chef Quenioux (B). Lobsters were delicious, and I love the knife work on the slices of raw cucumber that resemble green leaves from a plant.
Fifth & Sixth Courses – Black Code/Pickled Mustard Greens by Chef Yu Bo (T), and North Sea Yellow Cod/Chicken Broth/Fennel Two Ways/Crosnes by Chef Quenioux (B). Love the delicateness of both the black cod and the yellow cod. While Chef Yu Bo’s broth was lighter, Chef Quenioux’s had a much bolder flavor to the broth.
Seventh & Eighth Courses – Chicken Tofu by Chef Yu Bo (T), and DGR Quail/Persimmon Chutney/Celery Root Slaw by Chef Quenioux (B). The one dish that didn’t seem to work for many of the diners due to the the very subtle flavor of the poached chicken, plus the grainy texture of it as the chicken is supposed to mimic soft tofu in subtle flavor and texture.
Ninth & Tenth Courses – Wild Wood Pigeon with Sweet Paste by Chef Yu Bo (T), and Scottish Wood Pigeon/Huckleberry/Chanterelles/Fig Tatin by Chef Quenioux (B). Chef Yu Bo’s pigeon was delicious. I’m not a big fan of pigeon, but I can devour several of these. Very flavorful tender square bits of pigeon meat, with a hint of the Mandarin peel, countered by the crunchiness of the pine nuts.
Eleventh & Twelfth Courses – Steamed Pork Belly/Jasmine Rice by Chef Yu Bo (T), and DGR Braised Pork Shank/Sweet Potato/Pomegranate/Tokyo Turnips by Chef Ninth & Tenth Courses – Wild Wood Pigeon with Sweet Paste by Chef Yu Bo (T), and Scottish Wood Pigeon/Huckleberry/Chanterelles/Fig Tatin by Chef Quenioux (B). (B). At this point, some of us were starting to get full, and these next few courses took a bit of effort to eat. Unfortunately, when you’re full, your palate changes and does not pick up the nuances in flavors of the food you eat. However, Chef Quenioux’s braised pork shank was delicious. I look at this as a play on the Vietnamese spring/summer roll. Chef Yu Bo’s pork belly was accompanied by a bowl with a light broth and a piece of baby leek heart floated on top.
Thirteenth & Fourteenth Courses – Sauteed A5 Wagyu Beef by Chef Yu Bo (T), and Flannery Wagyu Rib Cap/Torchon/Leeks by Chef Quenioux (B). I managed to take one photo of the Sauteed A5 Wagyu Beef before the camera went out. I had drained out the battery. So, I had to resort to using my iPhone and the ProCam app to take the remaining pictures. With no time to play with the settings, I started taking pictures. Most of the photos came out grainy, dark, and blurry. (Remember to borrow the spare battery pack as well next time!) Both beef dishes were delicious. Chef Yu Bo’s beef was crispy on the outside and so tender on the inside. Chef Quenioux’s dish was highlighted by the creamy torchon that sat on top of the rib cap. I just wished I wasn’t full so that I could have enjoyed these dishes better.
Cheese Course with a Swiss and French Vacherins and a Truffle Brioche by Chef Quenioux. Chef Quenioux is known for his cheese cart that features over 30 varieties of cheese from Europe and North America that is rolled out to tables at some of his pop-up dinners for those who want a cheese course added to their tasting. Cheese are then served and garnished tableside. I loved the French vacherin as it had a more pronounced flavor to the Swiss, which was much more subtle.
Desserts – Truffle Cremeux/Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream (L), Chestnut Fontaine Bleau (Center), and Rose Mountain Apple/Apple Mousseline (R). These were a collaboration from both chefs.
Below are random photos from the dinner, featuring both Chef Yu Bo and Chef Laurent Quenioux. Chef Yu Bo’s daughter was here as well presenting some of the dishes.