I had every intention of writing about the wasabi and grapefruit creme fraiche parfait at Canlis for this week's Weird Food Column, but literally while I was sitting in the bar on Wednesday, they took it off the menu. I'm disappointed I won't be able to taste the fresh wasabi dessert anytime soon, but I got a taste of something just as interesting, and definitely more savory. Chef Jason Franey gave me a sneak preview of a foie gras dish that was going on the menu the very next day: Foie gras terrine with pine ash, cocoa, and different incarnations of celery and rhubarb, some topped with granola ($28). "We burn pine needles and then pass them through fine mesh," Franey told me. "It's a technique I learned from a guy who worked at Noma. In Nordic cuisine, they use pine ash to preserve meats. So we just started messing around with it in the kitchen, and I put it in the terrine."
There's just a hint of pine flavor in the foie. In fact, I completely forgot I was eating it until I remembered that the pine ash had been my main impetus for ordering it.
A similar version of this dish is currently on the Canlis menu, but with corn and blueberries instead of celery and rhubarb. The dish comes with a huge chunk of warm cocoa brioche to slather the foie on. It's like a very classy build-your-own sandwich.