Kickshaw / Lamb Tartare from Oliver’s
Artful contrasts are key
Sous vide egg yolks are rolled out to form a golden veil over the lamb.
Photo by kc kratt
2095 Delaware Ave.
For years, Ross Warhol resigned himself to never being an artist like his mother, painter Vicki Warhol. No matter what art form he chose, he couldn’t pull together even a single work the way she so effortlessly completed canvas after canvas. Some years later, it was she who helped him recognize that his lush and picture-perfect plating was where his artistry revealed itself, one deftly rendered dish at a time.
Take the lamb tartare, on his menu at Oliver’s all last winter. Coarsely chopped lamb provides a mild and tender backdrop for flavors the chef toyed with early in the season. Eventually, the idea for the dish evolved into an edible sculpture of salty-sweet, bitter, sour, and savory tastes and textures, which Warhol flawlessly replicates night after night.
Chopped lamb and a little pear vinegar (for that tinge of acid) are combined with fragrant bits of shallot before the meat is plated using a ring mold. A fine and intoxicatingly flavored dust coats half the tartare, lacing complicated and exciting notes into the lamb. The black powder is made with dehydrated kalamata olives ground with just a bit of sugar. By contrast, the other half of the lamb shines with a glossy yellow arc cut from a sheet of tempered egg yolk. The process required to create this sunshine-colored component (which Warhol calls a “veil”) begins with cooking the yolks sous vide before they are carefully pressed, rolled between acetate (much like fine chocolate work), and trimmed with precision. A daub of juniper-scented yogurt and a lavash made of toasted dill seeds and semolina work together to offer an herbaceous note, as well as some textural variety, to the rich dish.