Plumed Horse – Saratoga, CA

Happy Anniversary! Meeps and I have been married for four years now. Every year that we have celebrated this day, we feel blessed to have found each other (cheesy but I think I am allowed to be cheesy once a year, no?). Neways, instead of rambling on about what is has been like for us, here we are at 4 yrs and how we celebrated:

The original plan was to have dinner at Masa in SF but our schedules have been crazy and Meep was not excited about driving all the way to SF for dinner after a long week at work. So after 3 days of looking up places, I decided on Plumed Horse in Saratoga.

The interior of the restaurant was quite confusing. It was a bit whimsical, a little formal and also some old looking wood. I found the constantly changing lighting in the room quite distracting.

The menu at Plumed Horse was pretty short – a handful of cold/hot appetizers, some entrees and then the Chef Tasting Menu:

We ordered the Chef Tasting Menu ($145) for Meep and some ala carte dishes for myself. I was surprised at how accommodating the kitchen was. I expected our server to tell us that it had to be for the whole table (and since it was not stated on the menu I figured I would ask). I ended up ordering 2 appetizers and one entree (just so it is not completely off timing wise for all dishes).

Ala Carte dishes:

Started our meal with a complimentary bite: Ricotta with chives in a crispy tuile.

Definitely a great way to get us excited for what’s to come. Crispy, creamy and well balanced.

Complimentary Pumpkin soup

I was served this when Meep got his first course of the tasting menu. The soup was so smooth and rich – sweet and salty with crunchy sunflower seeds. I don’t even like pumpkin but I didn’t mind this at all. It was nice for them to serve this so I don’t have to watch Meep eat.
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Davenport Abalone, “slow” egg, crispy chicken skin, tamari chili glaze $24

This was my favourite dish of the night. The abalone was tender and delicate. It didn’t have much flavour to it but the crispy salty chicken skin and perfectly cooked egg along with the maitake mushrooms at the bottom complemented the abalone perfectly. I loved every bite.
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Black Pepper & Parmesan Souffle, uni & Dungeness crab fondue $19

So rich, the fondue was a creamy chowder of generous lumps of crab meat and a piece of uni. When we were served the souffle, the uni was dropped into the souffle and a bit of the fondue. The rest we were told to enjoy it however we like. Either just on its own or with the souffle.

The uni was creamy and briny, it was intensely rich with the cheesey souffle and creamy chowder. It was little heavy to finish by one person. Halfway through, I was overwhelmed by it all.
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“Collection” of Heritage breed Berkshire Pork $39

Crispy pork belly, loin chop, roasted leg and fennel sausage.

I was quite disappointed with this dish. All the different parts of pork tasted the same – they all tasted like ham. I really enjoyed the loin chop, which was juicy with a nice char from the pan frying. That said, the sausage was grainy and very light on the fennel. The pork belly and roasted leg was good but tasted all the same. The sauce didn’t add much to the dish.

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Tasting Menu:

Big Eye Tuna Tartare w Tsar Nicoulai  Caviar, Brioche and Quail egg

Great start to the tasting. Delicate tuna tartare that was really fresh and clean tasting. Lightly seasoned with crunchy brioche and salty caviar that made the dish pop.
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Complimentary Foie Gras Terrine with a Berry Reduction.

I was quite surprised to see us served with this terrine but I won’t question why it was served. Instead we savoured the rich buttery smooth terrine that is lightly seasoned with some freshly cracked salt and pepper and sweet tangy reduction. It was served with some sour dough crostini.
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Black Pepper & Parmesan Souffle w Uni & Dungeness Crab Fondue

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Locally Raised Rabbit w Bacon wrapped loin, Crepenette & Gruyere Onion Flan

I almost squealed when we were served this dish. The little rabbit rib was delicate looking and tasted even better. The rib was cooked to a nice medium rare. The loin crepinette was a bacon wrapped loin, that was a little more dry that I expected considering how well prepared the rest of the dish was. The onion flan was a little weird but it was sweet and intense, like an intense french onion soup in a cream form.

There was a deep fried croquette that was delicious and much needed starch for the dish. There was a creamy mushroom base that I cannot figure out what it was made of.
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South Texas Antelope w Quince, Chestnut and Saucisson

I didn’t know what a saucisson was, then later found out it was a charcuterie/sausage. The piece of meat at the top, that was salty and tasted like shredded braised meat. It was good but nothing comes close to the antelope loin. It was cooked to a nice rate, with a nice sear. The meat was not at all gamey and very lean yet tender.
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Complimentary Pomegranate Sorbet

Much needed palate cleanser before dessert was served. Tangy, sweet pomegranate sorbet.
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Vanilla Semifreffo; Italian Meringue, Passionfruit and Olive Oil Curd

Best dish of the night according to Meep. He ate it and then exclaimed that he got his mind blown. The olive oil curd was so light yet intensified by the passionfruit reduction. The meringue was just as added bonus.
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Valrhona Chocolate Mousseline w Port Gelee & Whipped Creme Fraiche

This was the second dessert of the tasting menu but was served at the same time since I didn’t order any dessert. None of them on the ala carte menu appealed to me but both desserts of the tasting menu was amazing.

The chocolate mousse was one of the best I have had and the best part is, the port gelee was very much like the cherry filling in black forest cake. Every component of the dessert together tasted like one amazing black forest cake. Along w the crust on the bottom on the mousse.
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Complimentary Petit Fours

The petit four was a little bit of a disappointment especially after the great meal. They were just OK.

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Total Damage: $346 (including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 (Very Good)

There were a couple dishes that definitely put us over the edge. Although I was not crazy about the main course, everything else that we had was great and service was excellent. I appreciate that the kitchen was accommodating and let me order a la carte, while Meep had the tasting. Typically I would not be that difficult but I just was not crazy about all the options on the tasting (I was proven wrong coz they tasted great and not to mention the complimentary foie gras terrine, which was excellent!)

Definitely a good spot for a special evening and if the tasting menu is too much, a la carte prices are reasonable considering the quality and portions.

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Plumed Horse

14555 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA 95070

(408) 871 4711

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