|My very last pretzel croissant, the morning after|
It's also one of the best breads I've ever had, and is yet another reason to miss Sonoma County's best restaurant, Cyrus, which is closing Oct. 28 because a new landlord wants a chef more interested in serving wines from the wineries the landlord owns.
Cyrus' Doug Keane, a Europhile drinker and a Japanophile chef, is always generous with his cooking instructions. He once brought a whole lobe of foie gras, before that became a criminal act in California, to a house dinner I attended in St. Helena and showed us how simple it is to fry it up. He also showed us how to make simple, delicious corn soup, shaving the kernels of fresh sweet corn off the cob and cooking with a little water, milk and salt.
But the pretzel croissant is well beyond the capacity of home chefs, even the obsessive ones I've worked with. It's an 8-hour process, including the use of lye on the pretzel dough. I told a Cyrus manager that I know some cooks who would spend the 8 hours, and she added that it requires a $15,000 piece of pretzel-making equipment specially ordered for this 2-1/2-inch morsel. So forgive me for not including a recipe.
I debated about whether to write about it at all. I decided by doing so I would preserve it forever on the Internet, in case Keane doesn't bring together the same baking team at wherever he cooks next.
|Chorizo crusted scallop with sweet corn and lobster froth|
You may think that sounds expensive, but it's half the price of the French Laundry for a meal we enjoy more. Everything is less formal and more fun at Cyrus. Don't get me wrong, I love the Laundry, but it has the feeling of being a participant in a dining stage play, and it's not a comedy.
At Cyrus, the waiter made fun of my wife and I for leaning forward to hear the description of the bonus mignardises on the enormous cart wheeled to every diner after the first two dessert courses. He also did a fist-bump (are those still terrorist fist bumps?) with me when I sympathized over the restaurant's closing.
Yet there was still precision service; our dishes of Australian wagyu beef on mung bean sprouts being placed simultaneously; the waiter immediately offering me an '09 Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne Romanée when I said I didn't care for the overripe '00 Brunello di Montalcino poured with it; the seamless simultaneous pouring of mussel broth over sliced grilled abalone.
|Our menu, updated with our wine pairings and emailed to me|
So now I'm typing this up, having eaten one pretzel croissant, with one left in the box. I will take a photo of it. And then I will eat it. The last one I'll ever have. I need to stop typing now, because as much as I have tried to do justice to this morsel, there is no substitute for the one-two-third-and-final bite sensory experience.
(Cyrus' last night is Oct. 28. Reservation information is here.)