Monday, May 14, 2012

A Friend's Birthday Dinner at Catalyst

To celebrate my friend's 20th birthday, a group of us went to Catalyst Restaurant in Kendall Square near MIT. This relatively new restaurant serves modern American cuisine with French influence. According to its website, Catalyst uses products centered on locally grown organic produce and wild and farm raised food from sustainable practices.

The five of us started the meal with two appetizers to share. The first dish that came to the table was the Curried Tempura Asparagus ($10) with Deviled Egg Aioli and Pickled Ramp Salad. Fried food, along with pork and cheese, is something I do not eat, but I made an exception for this tempura asparagus. The tempura batter was crispy and seasoned perfectly that it did not need any dipping sauce. I have never had tempura asparagus, only tempura potatoes, onions, shrimp, carrots, etc. The pickled ramp salad was refreshing. I did not really taste the deviled egg aioli.

The second appetizer was Lobster Strudel ($15) with Bisque Emulsion and Herb Salad. It was a special appetizer of the day.

I really enjoyed the bitter greens in the salad. It accompanied the slightly creamy insides of the lobster strudel nicely.

The strudel looked like Chinese egg role from the outside. It actually didn't taste that much different, except it was filled with lumps of lobster meat and some sort of creamy sauce. The outside wasn't fried flour, but baked phyllo. The outer layer of the phyllo was crispy, but the inner layer became soggy from the fillings.

For my main, I got the Herb Crusted Salmon ($27) with mushroom, fava beans, pesto, asparagus, and lemon sauce.

The salmon seemed to have been rubbed with more pesto than herb. I didn't taste any of the herb crusted on top.

I really like the strong scent of lemon layering the bottom of the salmon. The sour zestiness of the lemon went well with the fatty salmon. Also the fava beans and the asparagus both had nice textures.

The salmon was cooked rare-just the way I like it! It was so juicy and melted right in my mouth.

Bacon Wrapped Saddle of Rabbit ($28) on a bed of mashed potatoes with sherry jus.

Tournedos of Beef ($28) with Rainbow Chard, Taleggio Ravioli, Garlic, and Parsley Bordelaise Sauce. It looked like a person staring at you!

Roasted Blue Cod ($27) with Olive Oil Crushed Butterball Potatoes, Mussels Chowder, Bacon, and Herb Nage. What an interesting choice to have a filet on top of chowder.

No matter how full people are, they always have more room for dessert ;) Because we had hard time choosing our dessert, we decided that we might as well order everything on the menu. This is the restaurant's signature dish, Butterscotch and Passion Fruit Pudding ($9) with Warm Pound Cake Croutons on the side.

This was by far my favorite dessert. The butterscotch pudding had the right amount of sweetness, and it was so fantastic when dipped with the pound cake croutons, which was quite dense, yet moist and tasty! It tasted like denser version of churros without the sugar & cinnamon on the outside. I would definitely order this again.

Pear-Almond Financier ($9) with House Made Crème Fraiche Ice Cream and Candied Almonds. The financier is a light, moist teacake, similar to sponge cake. I only had a bite of this. Nothing too spectacular.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake ($9) with White Chocolate Ganache and Caramelized Pineapple Coulis was my second favorite dessert.

The dollop of creme on top was smooth, light, and airy, while the lemon pudding cake had a similar texture to a very fluffy cheesecake with a pretty strong lemon taste. The pineapple coulis reminded me of mango salsa. I also loved the white chocolate ganache at the bottom that I scraped it with my spoon :)

Finally, the Chocolate Fondant Cake ($9) with Caramel Glaze, Hazelnut Streusel, and Banana Coulis was served with a candle on top for my friend's birthday.

I am not a fan of chocolate so I can't say much about this, but if you are a chocoholic, you will love this dessert. The cake was very dense with a strong strong dark chocolate flavor!

Catalyst on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Pleased to know about your friend’s birthday dinner and I am sure you had great time there. I am planning to arrange my cousin’s birthday next month and looking for elegant New York venues. Hope to find a spacious venue and wish to plan a great party.