David’s Opus Ten – A Culinary Experience

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David’s Opus Ten was opened a year ago as the tenth restaurant by chef/restaurateur David Turin. The restaurant is literally a restaurant within a restaurant, consisting of a sectioned off back area of David’s. Turin opened it with the idea that it would not just provide a meal service, but rather a complete experience – the ideal meal according to a highly experienced chef.

The dinner offered by David’s Opus Ten is a fixed price meal with nine predetermined courses on the weekends; price and number of courses vary during the week and the menu changes frequently. For an additional charge, you can try the “opus ten” or more expensive “reserve” wine pairings with each course. You can also order by the glass and a full bar is available along with special drink recommendations.

There was no doubt that I was excited to try this experience which I hoped would be extraordinary and had booked a couple months in advance. But I also had a certain amount of trepidation since I didn’t have a choice about what I was ordering and, like most diners, there are certain foods I like better than others. My particular concern was raw meat or seafood which I normally try to avoid. My wife called ahead and gave her dietary restrictions, but I decided that I would eat whatever was served whether I liked it or not. It wouldn’t be the first time I ate foods I didn’t enjoy. Plus, I’m a ninja.  And ninjas eat anything.

We arrived a few minutes early and were taken right to our table; each table is only seated once per night. Light music played in the background. From the outset, there was no question that David’s really had the service down to a science. We were watered right away, menus were already on the table, and a waiter visited to give us the full story about David’s Opus Ten. He also knew exactly what my wife’s exclusions were and was able to accommodate additional restrictions she required when she saw the menu.

Small breads were immediately provided to us. I chose the salt stick, but had the option of croissant, wheat, and olive and rosemary – each of which I would try throughout the night. On the table to compliment the bread was some fig vinegar and thyme olive oil. There was also some butter with salt sprinkled on top.

In addition to the nine course meal, we were told that we would be provided with a complimentary hand-carved charcuterie plate – a tenth course – complete with cured ham, manchego cheese, crostini, and warm olives. This was a lucky break for me, because I just couldn’t see myself satisfied with a measly nine courses. We tried the bread in the dipping sauce while waiting for the charcuterie. The salt stick was somewhat hard and, of course, salty. When I made sure that some of the oil and vinegar were attached to it, I got a definite sweet fig taste which was pleasant.

A great looking charcuterie plate was delivered shortly after the bread was devoured and we decided to order drinks at that time. One of the recommended drinks was the Big Smokey Apple which was their version of a smoked apple Manhattan. I ordered that, and my wife chose a Riesling from the wine pairings. After the drinks were ordered, we dipped into the meat and cheeses. They were dope like 90’s hip hop. The ham was salty and delicious and paired perfectly with the manchego and olive on crostini. By the way, manchego is one of my absolute favorite cheeses. If you love cheese and you haven’t tried it, you must. You will become BFFs.

While we were eating the charcuterie plate, our drinks were delivered. I was ready to try this concoction I believed would properly wet my whistle. I took a swig. I fell in lust. It was a delicious whiskey treat that did indeed taste like a big smoked apple.  I thought to myself that I might have to give it a shot and make one at home.  I instantly updated my Christmas list to include a good bottle of bourbon and punched myself in the head for not already having one. With a freshly opened wound on my face, we received the first course of our meal. 

I feel compelled, as I always do, to give a thorough review of all the food. But today I’m going to do it by number, just like when you were a kid and colored by number. I’m going to start with #1 so even those of you that aren’t good with math will recognize that as the first item on the menu. When we get to #2, that will represent the second menu item, and so on.

#1. Mushroom Gratin, Madeira Cream Shooter

When this showed up in front of me, I thought a cheese stuffed mushroom sounded great. I wasn’t sure about the foamy shot of white stuff next to it, but I dug in. The mushroom was outstanding. Can you really go wrong with mushrooms and cheese? No, you can’t. I dipped my spoon into the warm shot. My wife and I agreed that it was spectacular. It tasted like cream of mushroom soup – the freshest and most delicious cream of mushroom soup imaginable.

#2. Lightly Handled Scallop with Figs Apricot, and Bacon

I was nervous about this course and with good reason. It wasn’t something I would have ordered from a menu. When it arrived, it looked beautiful, but I prefer my scallops fully cooked and this wasn’t. I felt that the overall taste was fine with the sweet fig, apricot, and bacon adding a nice touch, but I just couldn’t see past the nearly raw scallop. I’m sure most people would have loved it.

#3. Butter Poached Lobster, Vanilla Bean Buerre Monte, Caramelized Onion, Apple and Potato Hash

Another beautiful dish, the poached lobster had some jicama, greens, and some sort of spinach puree with it. When I tried it, I was blown away. It was exquisite. The vanilla bean, onion, and hash all added to the flavor. The texture of this one was magnificent too. I was thoroughly impressed. The presentation was on the mark but the flavor was ridiculously good.

#4. Quail Egg Ravioli, Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Pistachio, Brown Butter Nage

Presented as a plate with small ravioli on top of a small pile of vegetables, the waiter gave way to the chef to finish the cooking by adding the Brown Butter Nage. The chef explained the making of the sauce and doused our ravioli with it. When he left our table, we tried the little saucer shaped ravioli and veggies. The simple sauce made it rich and creamy and the flavors blended very well. This was another winner for sure.

#5. Lemon Apple Cider Sorbet with Cinnamon Vodka

The chef came to our table to finish this one with the cinnamon vodka. The flavors were definitely distinct and the vodka was a nice addition to give it a bit of a stronger flavor. As you might expect though, it was relatively light overall and cleansed and chilled my pallet for the next course.

#6. Half Quail, Foie Gras Medallion, Foie Gras Butter Toast, Grilled Pear Gastrique

Similar to the scallop, I wasn’t particularly excited for this course and I was probably even more reluctant to eat it. While I had had foie gras once previously, I wasn’t ever looking for a repeat. I wasn’t a big fan of the taste and after learning how it was made, I honestly felt it was disgusting. Nonetheless, a lot of restaurants serve it locally and many see it as a delicacy. While I disagree, I decided to consume it.

My whole experience with this course was pretty much a disaster. The first issue was my fault. Not being a frequent consumer of quail, I took what must have been a leg in my mouth and after a couple chews, I realized I had eaten a bone. I slyly removed it from my quail-hole and started on another piece. It turns out the quail was pretty good without the bones. The gastrique added a nice flavor but the waiter stated that it was grilled peach and cranberry while the menu said it was pear. The meat was exceptionally tender.

The foie gras was exactly as I expected – not something I loved. It was alright, but it won’t be something I look forward to in the future. My attitude regarding it didn’t change.

#7. Carved Lamb Rack, Braised Leg, White Bean Puree, Kale, Oven Roasted Tomato

This dish consisted of a well-cooked and very tender piece of lamb and a rarer portion. While I don’t eat lamb or rare meat frequently, this was a solid course. The flavor of the meat was drawn out with its seasoning and the white bean, kale, and tomato. It was really well done and while it was again something I probably wouldn’t have ordered on my own, I was pleased with the result.

#8. Apple Tart Tatin, 7 Year Aged Cheddar, Toasted Walnuts, Bourbon Ice Cream

The ice cream on this course made this a double bourbon dinner which pleased me so. Even though I was starting to get full by this point, I was most definitely ready for this treat. I first tried the cold concoction which had a pretty significant bourbon flavor. I was not the least bit unhappy about that. I’ve worked hard for years to acquire a taste for bourbon and it wasn’t lost on me that the ice cream was fit for any level of bourbon love.

When I tried the tart, I didn’t know what to expect. I have had tarts that were amazing and some that were mediocre. I took a bite and was stunned. On a scale of one to ten, the tart was a “holy shit”. The combination of the cheddar, tart, and crunchy nuts made a simply amazing dessert. In fact, it was so good, it was reported that three colorblind men were able to identify all the crayons in a 64 count Crayola box after eating it.

#9. Ice Cream Truffles, Caramel-Nut Bark, Rose Petal Biscuit

These were as you might expect – quite sweet and delicious. They were very small, but I wouldn’t have wanted them to be bigger because it would have been too much sugar for my belly. It was a nice ending.

 

So what’s the verdict after all of that? David’s Opus Ten provided a nice meal – a very nice meal. The course spacing was perfect. Food came out every 20 minutes or so with bread in between a few of the courses. I was never thinking to myself that I couldn’t wait any longer for more vittles.

Our waiter was a book of knowledge. We asked a few questions about our meal, but he really shined when other customers asked more complicated questions about the meal, wines, or drinks they were consuming. His level of knowledge was not only impressive, but it made the meal really interesting. He was engaged, pleasant, and personable while still making sure the job got done. I have no idea if he had gone through some formal culinary arts training, but it I’d have to guess so.

There were a number of positives I took from the whole event. It was a fun time and provided an experience to learn about food and try lots of new items. While I was a cook long ago, I never worked directly with a highly accomplished chef. This meal gave me an opportunity to open the door to the mind of one and see what was inside. It was fancy. Everything was very nice. We got new silverware with every course. It was definitely “special”. Aside from all that, the food was very good.

A meal of this type is not without some minor drawbacks though. With a three hour meal and nine/ten courses, it would be difficult to suit everyone’s taste. However, only the scallop and quail plates were items I would have asked for differently if I did it again. The taste on both was pretty good, just not to my preferences. While I enjoyed all three hours of our time there, I wouldn’t want to spend three hours eating too often. Also, the meal is pricey. After tip and with only one drink apiece, we spent $200 which was the most expensive meal I have ever had. On a positive note in that regard, had we ordered the same foods individually anywhere, it would have cost even more.

You should go to David’s Opus Ten soon. Get ready for some great food and be adventurous. It’s worth it for the experience. Pick a special occasion, make a reservation, and try something new. You can thank me later.

Stay hungry.

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or feel free to post your thoughts below. Like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter at @Portlandeater.

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