In the hands of Chef Corey Lee, the traditional Alsatian Tarte Flambée
takes on new life and complexity with sea urchin and green apple parisiennes
. Traditional fromage blanc is notched up with gruyère and parmesan, “Frenchified” with little bacon lardons, and balanced with bitter and tart chickweed and pickled red onion. The sophisticated flavors take form as pizza-esque toppings, and the fun factor gets a boost from crunchy apple and melted cheese. The delicate uni flavor, though, remains the focus, and the cheese and apple support its sea flavor.
Building on the contrasts in the tarte, Conroy pairs the dish with Kitaya’s Kansansui, or Cold Mountain Water, sake. The sake is a premium free-run rice wine (made from rice polished—or refined—to 50 percent of its original size) from Fukuoka in southwest Japan. Luxurious, delicate, and refreshing, the sake is still rich in umami and fruit flavors, harmonizing the sweet undertones with the raw seafood. Notes of Asian pear, persimmon, and cantaloupe match the apple, onion, and uni, and savory notes in the dish shine from the delicate, starch-like quality of this style of sake. Conroy further explains, “The last component the sake must take on is the richness the dish provides from the fromage blanc, parmesan, gruyère and bacon. The Kansansui has the ability to address [these qualities] because of its mouthfeel and elegant starchy character.”