Food as Art: Saddle Peak Lodge

Restaurant: Saddle Peak Lodge

Location: 419 Cold Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302 (818) 222-3888

Date: May 27, 2010

Cuisine: Modern American

Rating: Great ambiance and terrific game oriented food.

A couple of months ago we went to Saddle Peak for a special Zagat sponsored diner. This place is always fun, in some ways because of its unusual location and vibe. The food is always very good too.

The cool sky made one speculate on the possibility of werewolf invasion.

The menu for the night. But we we went for a longer form menu instead that included all this and more.

The Amuse. Some kind of “meaty” cappuccino. I’m always partial to these creamy little soups. Perhaps because I love cream.

“Fijian Albacore Sashimi with crispy rice, ramp vinaigrette, avocado and pea greens.”

The game tonight was meat. So I went Bordeaux (from my cellar). Parker gives it 94 points and says, “This wine is of first-growth quality, not only from an intellectual perspective, but in its hedonistic characteristics. More open-knit and accessible than the extraordinary 1996, Ducru’s 1995 exhibits a saturated ruby/purple color, followed by a knock-out nose of blueberry and black raspberry/cassis fruit intertwined with minerals, flowers, and subtle toasty new oak. Like its younger sibling, the wine possesses a sweet, rich mid-palate (from extract and ripeness, not sugar), layers of flavor, good delineation and grip, but generally unobtrusive tannin and acidity. It is a classic, compelling example of Ducru-Beaucaillou that should not be missed. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2025.”

“Scallop, english peas, garlic.” The sauce was nice and buttery rich.

“Wild mushroom agnolotti with roasted mushrooms, parmesan, herbs, and ricotta salata.”  This was the highlight of the meal — but I love pasta.

Let’s see it again from a different angle.

“Crispy berkshire pork belly sherry agri-doux frisee and tomato pepadew confiture.”

“Seared La belle farms foie gras study of Philen Farms organic apples, chips, gastrique, fondant, brioche and sherry maple sauce.” Yummy!

“Wood grilled California squab, warm truffled wild mushroom salad, pea tendrils and sun-choke puree.” I’m not usually a poultry fan, but this was very good.

New Zealand Elk tenderloin with sweet potato-celery root puree, currants, bacon, wilted arugula and sauce chasseur.” The Elk was awesome.

“Deconstructed lemon meringue pie!”  Regular lemon meringue is one of my favorites. This did capture the flavors, although call me old fashioned, but I’d probably go for a great example in the traditional form.

The cool “game room” lamp on the way out.