that dish: one to czech off your list

Just as I was about to sit and begin writing my long overdue article on my culinary experiences in Prague I came across David Farley’s The New Bohemia in the October issue of AFAR Magazine (click here to read the fab article). What can I say? Clearly great minds think alike and we were both on the same page at being surprised and eager to share the burgeoning food scene that is quickly coming alive in the Czech capital.

Before I left for Prague this summer, I joked often to my friends that I was heading off to the “land that vegetables forgot”. Meat and potatoes along with something fried on the side is the predominant image of Czech food for most. Prague, however, is undergoing somewhat of a culinary revolution, challenging the communist culinary mold that unfortunately ruined much of the region’s cuisine. Cookbooks like Kuchařská Škola (Culinary School) were replaced by the communist mandated Recipes for Warm Meals, effectively wiping numerous traditional Czech ingredients off the national culinary map. Whenever there is a revolution, there is usually a man behind it, and in the case of Czech gastronomy, that man is Oldřich Sahajdák. Inspired by the 19th century Kuchařská Škola, Sahajdák made it his mission to create the Czech recipes of old. Along with him, chefs who left the city for greener pastures are returning in troves, finding comfort in the dishes of their childhood and using the techniques learned in kitchens abroad to elevate comfort classics to the status of world class fare.

At Sahajdák’s restaurant  La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, modern Czech food has found an internationally recognized home. The Michelin starred eatery has carved a spot for Czech fare on the global culinary map. There, traditionally tough to eat beef tongue, instantly melts once it hits yours and tartare with toast is transformed from an uncouth preparation to a perfectly elegant bite.

La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise is a tasting restaurant. Diners get the choice of participating in a four course pre-theater tasting or the longer, more traditional seven course affair. For reasons of time and money (Czech food is generally cheap, La Degustation is not) we opted for the four course, just to take a peak into the world of new Prague cuisine.

four course tasting menu of the day @ La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise

resto interior; not your average Czech joint

attention to detail

cleverly presented  white chocolate with raspberry amuse bouche bon bon to start the meal

I judge a restaurant by it’s bread basket, La Degustation’s was GOOD

pheasant soup before and after

pheasant soup close-up; the savory broth was impeccably balanced between sweet, sour and rich- I could have eaten a vat of this stuff

re-imagined steak tartare, a Czech classic and staple

a new take on the loaded potato: pea and caviar potato croquette

raspberry amaranth crusted langoustine and carrot

watermelon mint lime salad shooter palate cleanser

THE BEEF TONGUE. Definitely NOT how your grandma used to make

no matter where you dine in the Czech Republic, beer is an integral part of the meal; rhubarb pie with czech beer foam, complemented by a glass of czech beer

all good meals end with chocolate; dessert #2

Oldřich Sahajdák in the kitchen himself

our dining group

The four course, ended up being more like a seven course. After our meal at La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise I’m excited to go back for the full seven plate version which will more than likely be closer to ten.

La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, Hastalska 18, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 222 311 234, Mon-Sun 6 PM- 12 AM, reservations highly recommended 

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The attention to detail didn’t end on the table….

classiest urinal situation I’ve ever seen :)

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