I first read about D.O.M. back in 2005. I had just earned a BFA in ballet and modern dance performance. I was living a jovial, sometimes raucous lifestyle with very few responsibilities. Each day I was getting more drawn into habitual eating and drinking out and about as well as cooking and entertaining at home. Reading more cookbooks and reading about what chefs and their teams were doing around the world. At that time I started to think it would be a neat idea to get a reservation at one of these amazing restaurants then plan a trip around the meal. Each time I mentioned to my friends the thought of traveling to another country for a meal they would tell me what a ridiculous idea it was. But I kept on looking for new places and another great bite. Now, nine years later, I find myself planning not only travel but most of my life around which wondrous restaurant to visit next.
A couple weeks ago Rocky and I made our first trip to the Southern Hemisphere and I finally got to taste what Chef Alex Atala is cooking at D.O.M. in São Paulo. As long as I was making the trek from NYC to Brazil, I thought I should make it a two-a-day, but Rocky is starting to protest that practice, so I went with a two-in-a-row. So this is a post from Friday lunch. Click here for Saturday dinner.
After a couple sunny days of sightseeing, eating excessive açaí, and playing on the beach in Rio de Janeiro, we hopped on a plane to São Paulo, stopped by our hotel for a few minutes then made our way to lunch at D.O.M. We started up with a bottle of bubbles(kick-ass 1995 Fleury) and got the party started.
They hit us first with bread service. Traditional sourdough, whole wheat sourdough, and addictive little pão de queijo(cheese & tapioca buns) accompanied with Brazilian butter, roasted garlic and potato spread, and what we understood to be sour cream with olive oil.
Before starting into the menu, a serving of grilled manioc with smooth, rich, whipped cheese and port reduction. The texture of the root was great. Crisp outside with starchy striations. A good few bites to start. Although it was served with a cocktail of curaçao and sparkling wine that tasted of cough syrup and perrier.
Ceviche de berinjela e algas. A ‘ceviche’ of juicy, acidic eggplant with seaweed, cilantro, and sesame. Not sure what all was in the powder that was dusted over, but it started off with an immediate spice that faded right into a pleasant oceanic seaweed taste.
Vieira com leite de coco e castanha do Pará. Scallops with coconut milk, Brazil nut, dried mango, cilantro, and pepper. Superb tropical balance. Straight from Rocky’s mouth: ‘This is super f*cking delicious.’ Different types of sweetness subtly sang together and harmonized beautifully.
Arroz negro levemente tostado com legumes verdes e leite de castanha do Pará. Lightly toasted black rice with broccoli, asparagus, snow pea, celery, leek, green pepper, and green onion dressed with Brazil nut milk. A wonderful plate of well-executed grains and vegetables.
Olho de cão com mini arroz e alga marinha. Local red snapper with mini-rice and seaweed. Really well balanced. Nothing mind blowing, but delicious.
Brandade de palmito com anchova e telha de tapioca. A brandade of roasted heart of palm with anchovy and a meat-fish-red wine reduction. The brandade itself showed just enough of the astringency and acidity of the palm to balance into the richness. When combined with a little of the super salty anchovy, it was pretty bad ass.
Abacaxi com formiga amazônica. Northern Amazonic ants. Served both plain and with pineapple. We were instructed to have the plain ant first. It had a strong lemongrass-ginger taste and a resonating menthol-ish finish. When combined with the pineapple it was kind of like a cough drop in flavor, with the sweetness of the fruit alongside the herbaceous insect.
Mini arroz tostado com cogumelos e agrião. A toasted mini rice ‘cake’ with mushrooms, kale cream, watercress, flowers, and a cream of curdled milk with brown butter solids. Effing bangin’. The rice was wonderfully textured. The dense, earthy mushrooms with the sweet, vegetal kale and the tangy, sour cream were fantastic.
Fettuccine de palmito à Carbonara. Heart of palm ‘fettuccine’ prepared as a classic carbonara. I wasn’t too excited going into this one. I thought it sounded gimmicky/tacky in Atala’s recent cookbook, but I was way wrong. This plate was dynamite. The al dente snap of the palm and the balance of the inherent acidity within the rich preparation were spectacular.
Costelinha ao Malbec com mandioca Brás. Baby pork ribs, fall-off tender with a nice thick glaze, plated up with Malbec foam and manioc prepared like crispy crunchy little french fries dressed with egg and onion. Not necessarily highly elevated cuisine, but it was super f*cking tasty.
Aligot. An amazing Aligot. Loaded up with Gruyère and Minas cheese. With a perfect density. Almost like potato flavored chewing gum.
Priprioca – Ravióli de limão e banana ouro. Lime gel ‘ravioli’ stuffed with banana with priprioca. The sweet, lightly acidic lime made the banana taste rich which created a light fruity balanced first dessert.
Torta de castanha do Pará com sorvete de whiskey, curry, chocolate, sal, rúcula e pimenta. A Brazil nut tart with whiskey ice cream, curry, chocolate spice sauce, arugula, salt and pepper. With all the elements combined, a superb dessert.
A few sweet bites to accompany our coffee(which was made from Nespresso capsules, which we saw everywhere).
After dinner we got to chatting with one of the service staff and got onto the subject of Cachaça and cocktails and he started to tell us of Jean Ponce, D.O.M.’s barman, and some of his creations. So we decided we needed to visit for drinks in-between our two meals. Here’s a glimpse of what went down that night:
It was absolutely a great first day in São Paulo, to see what we had for dinner the next day, click here.
Date of visit(s): January 3, 2014
D.O.M. Rua Barão de Capanema, 549. São Paulo, Brazil +55 11 3088 0761 domrestaurante.com.br