Answers from Our Experts (1)
Trying to narrow down the list of stellar dishes at Aubergine, the Restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel to just a few is like picking which diamond at Tiffany’s sparkles most brightly. Everything was stunning in its own way, but here are the best things to eat and drink:
1. Diver scallop. The waiter brings out a closed scallop shell resting on a nest of seaweed and then takes off the top to reveal a lone scallop in a Meyer lemon and lemon balm water. The scallop is dreamily soft, creamy and delicate, capturing all the things we love about sea scallops.
2. Red abalone. This is one of the delicacies from the Carmel area, and if you order the full tasting menu at Aubergine, you’ll be presented with tender slices surrounded by a medley of local seaweed like lemony hijiki as well as white Alba mushrooms.
3. Duck liver. The preparation changes seasonally, but rest assured it will be exquisite. When we dined, the chef presented a creamy cylinder of duck liver in a hot pink skin of rhubarb leather, along with a dusting of fennel pollen, candied rhubarb and the most buttery slice of brioche we’ve ever tasted.
4. White wine. The other thing I loved about the dining experience at this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant is the way that the dishes are made to pair with white wine. Forget oaky, buttery chardonnay, this is cuisine for delicate sparkling wine from Raventós i Blanc, aromatic dry Riesling from Willm, or a refined chardonnay like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Montrachet.
5. Miyazaki beef. This is an unexpectedly memorable dish, as it looks so simple. Rare Miyazaki (aka Wagyu) beef is wrapped in toasted nori, so it resembles a piece of sushi. Dabbed with a little soy salt or umeboshi plum paste, the effect is like eating a savory beef pudding tinged with earthy seaweed.