The other half took the liberty of booking a table at American Seasons, a more up-market restaurant at the edge of downtown. Padded banquets, hand-painted murals, shutters and flickering candlelight can make for a comfortably romantic evening.
Chef Michael LaScola makes good use of the locally sourced seasonal ingredients that feature heavily on the contemporary menu. The pig ear fries (10) simply had to be ordered, and I'm glad I did. Deliciously-sticky, crispy and fatty; lightly flavoured with lime and coriander. Pity the mentioned chilli wasn't at all detected.
A confit of suckling pig (33.5) far from disappoints with its tender richness. It's topped with very boozy bourbon-soaked prunes and rests on a cushy pile of Carolina rice middlins, a concoction that's almost like grits, I believe. Scattered around the plate is some very sauerkraut-like collard greens, baby carrot and crab apples.
Similar in appearance is the tobacco-rubbed duck breast (31.5); rosy and pink with a "foiesage" leaning up against it. Foie gras sausage? Yes please. Some corn velouté adds a little earthy sweetness and a huckleberry vinaigrette splashes colour and zing across the plate.
For dessert, the flying Elvis (10.5) was ordered purely out of curiosity. There's a wedge of cookie crust topped with a crunchy peanut butter and chocolate ganache layer; topped again with torched banana and caramelised banana ice cream. It's a true celebration of sugar that left the tongue cloyed and exhausted.
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