In the final installment of Fork Fight at Trinity Groves, CHINO received four prongs up from the hungry voters. Thursday night marked the eighth delicious cook-off, in which returning champ chef Uno Immanivong took on Chef Sharon von Meter's Beignet Bridge Club.
An overwhelming 300-plus hungry foodies were expected and by 7 p.m. the cocktails were flowing and the appetizers prepared. A crowd of eager diners formed around the self-serve tables, with CHINO's dish snatched up as soon as the chefs set them down.
Chef Sharon von Meter, the culinary force behind 3015 at Trinity Groves, proved a strong competitor with gourmet touches like a mountain of foie gras salt (are you supposed to eat that?) and delectable raspberry pearls. But Chino held its own with flavor sensations like a jalapeno infused blood orange and duck fat fried rice.
You should be jealous of this menu.
Course one: Beignet Bridge Club's truffle crème, chive langues de chat, foie gras salt versus Chino's yellow tail Hamachi over coriander crème fraiche with grilled hearts of palm and jalapeno infused blood orange.
Course two: Beignet Bridge Club's summer garden salad, fine herb mousse, citrus lavender caviar versus Chino's spoon of larb gai "lucky chicken" with pho/pozole mash-up, rich roasted bone marrow broth with guajillo, braised oxtail and tender hominy.
Course three: Beignet Bridge Club's rack of lamb, potato puree, ratatouille, garlic chips, Roquefort beignet versus Chino's membrillo glazed crispy duck breast and duck fat fried rice confettied with Chinese sausage and bbq pork loin.
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Course four: Beignet Bridge Club's chocolat sioxante, cocoa nib beignet, sceneted pipette, raspberry pearls versus Chino's warm cinnamon and sugar dusted doughnut morsels filled with hazelnut ganache, salted caramel drizzle, shot of Ca Phe de Holla.
The competition should've been closer, but Chino was the obvious favorite from the first bite. And when the desert plate came with artisanal coffee, even the raspberry pearls couldn't win my vote back.