And the Winner is…
“Foodie Couture” Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown!
Last night’s Fork Fight at 3015 Trinity Groves was a fully packed house of almost 300 for this epic battle of delectable delights, as seasoned chef, Norman Grimm duked it out against Foodie Uno Immanivong to the bitter end. Here’s how it all went down.
Course 1 – Winner Kitchen LTO
Kitchen LTO’s Crispy Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Tamari Glaze, Asian Pear, Avocado & Fingerlimes
Chino Chinatown’s Banana Leaf, Duck Confit Tamale with Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa & Crispy Duck Chip
In this round, there was no match. Kitchen LTO won, hands down. The subtle lusciousness of the rare tuna made me wish I had more. The duck tamale had good flavor, but it was cold when served and was seasoned with five spice, which is not my favorite seasoning. Also, the sauce lacked the depth of flavor it needed and there was no crispy duck chip.
Course 2 – Winner Kitchen LTO
Kitchen LTO’s Sake Glazed Pork Belly, Pink Lady Apple Puree, Sunchoke with Herb Salad and an Intermezzo of Watermelon Mint Granite with Tequila Lime Essence
Chino Chinatown’s Butter Poached Lobster Spring Roll with Pineapple Habanero Dressing
The pork belly was my favorite dish of the night, it was moist, cooked to perfection, and paired nicely with the sweetness of the Pink Lady Apples. It was all I could do to keep from licking the sunchoke off the plate!
The spring roll was nice, light and playful with enoki mushrooms sprouting from the tops. I liked it, but there wasn’t much flavor. Mine had just a small bite of lobster, and it was slightly overcooked. I hoped the sauce had the potential to make this dish a game changer, but it fell short because there was not enough and it had only the sweetness of the pineapple with no habanero, or even a hint of spice to be found.
Course 3 – Winner Chino Chinatown
Kitchen LTO’s Braised Short Rib, Seasonal Vegetables with Braised Marble Potatoes
Chino Chinatown’s Braised Mexican Coke and Lemongrass Short Rib with Grilled Bok Choy and Latin Sticky Rice
Chef Norm’s short rib was good, but the meat had overcooked as it was held in the warming drawer waiting to be served, so it was leaning to the dry side.
Chef Uno’s short rib, on the other hand, was a beautiful presentation that literally fell off the bone and it tasted even better than it looked, in spite of the “invisible” sticky rice (which was invisible because the rice didn’t turn out so chef Uno 86’ed it from the course), this dish was a total knockout.
Course 4 – Tie
Kitchen LTO’s Creme Fraiche Sorbet, Balsamic Reduction, Strawberries and Cracked Black Pepper
Chino Chinatown’s Pina Colada Cake with Salted Coconut Rum Caramel
The sorbet, even as it quickly melted into a puddle on my plate, was a lovely palate cleanser, the sweetness was perfectly balanced by the balsamic which intensified the perfectly ripe strawberries with an ambrosial essence that finished with the light subtle creme.
The cake was good, too. The salted caramel played nicely off the delightful little coconut cake which was a tad on the dry side, but tasted divine and was garnished by a powerfully alcohol-infused cherry. I think if this dessert had incorporated a little more of the caramel sauce on the cake instead of just as a drizzle on the plate, it would have been sublime.
Both chefs fought a hard battle but in the end, the dinner guests cast their fork ballots (literally forks in a bucket) and Uno Immanivong was declared the winner, congratulations, chef Uno! Next week will bring a new battle with two more restaurants at 3015 at Trinity Groves.
One last word of advice, these events are a lot of fun, but they are open seating which can be a little crazy. I recommend arriving early and grabbing your seat as soon as you get there. This way you can sit back, relax and have a really great experience with your friends. Or, better yet, get a group together and purchase a table that seats eight people. This way you’ll have a reserved seat and will get a break off the full ticket price, too.
Here’s how each Fork Fight will go down:
Each fight is $75 per person (or $500 for table that seats eight people) which includes cocktails, two appetizers, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts, one from each competitor.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m., when cocktails are served. The seated dinner begins promptly at 7:45 p.m.
Each week, the restaurants compete, a winner is chosen by the public and that restaurant moves on to the next round to face-off a different restaurant each week.
The Fork Fight full line-up is scheduled as follows:
Wednesday, July 10: Round 1 with SOUK vs. Casa Rubia Winner SOUK!
Thursday, July 18: Round 2 with Kitchen LTO vs. Chino Chinatown Winner Chino Chinatown!
Thursday, July 25: Round 3 with Amber Jax vs. Saint Rocco
Thursday, August 1: Round 4 with LUCK vs. Resto Gastro Bistro
Thursday, August 8: Round 5 with winners of Round 1 – SOUK vs. Chino Chinatown 2
Thursday, August 15: Round 6 with winners of Round 3 vs. Round 4
Thursday, August 22: Round 7 with winners of Round 5 vs. Round 6
Thursday, August 29: Final round with Sharon Van Meter vs. winner of Round 7
You can purchase tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com “Fork Fight” or just click the link.