Andy Warhol loved ravioli.
Specifically superstar chef Daniel Boulud's lobster ravioli, which was served Tuesday night as part of a four-course menu inspired by some of the artist's favorite dishes. The Basel dinner coincided with the JW Marriott's Andy Warhol at Christie's exhibit, and squeezed in a fabulous mish-mash of about 50 collectors, Christie's representatives, and men in bow ties and unironic seersucker.
Arctic char, the first "retro" dish of the evening.
Dinner began with a slow-poached arctic char topped with radishes and turnips, a dish Boulud described as "retro" and joked about as part of a time when everyone loved "cold fish and mayonnaise for some reason." Even so, the fish, a sort of cross between trout and salmon, flaked perfectly, with the radishes and turnips serving as a perfect counter crunch.
Easily the best ravioli this reviewer has ever tasted. Tiny chunks of lobster wrapped in perfect pillows over a bed of vegetable julienne.
A rosemary veal loin topped with truffles and served with spinach coulis and veal jus. The highlight was the mushroom-stuffed potato, which packed acres of flavor in a tiny bite.
For desert, a very tropical, very era-appropriate whole roasted pineapple with coconut Chantilly, coconut tuile, and a piña colada sorbet.
There were also Warhol-themed cocktails at the bar on the first floor, created by DB Bistro Moderne assistant GM Andrew Kutz. Kutz researched the artist on a road trip to create a trio of thematic drinks representing screen printing, music, and people and photography. Be sure to grab one of the following complimentary cocktails after heading to the Warhol exhibit.
Pop Art comes in Warhol's signature Campbell soup can and mixes red wine, lime juice, and Coke (another brand represented in much of the artist's pop art).
Aside from the name, the Velvet Underground drink seemed to have little connection to Warhol on first glance. Everyone knows the band as a staple of Warhol's studio the Factory, and that he designed their legendary album cover. Looking at the bubbly champagne flute, however, it was hard decipher the relevance.
But as Kutz explained, the mix of gin, St. Germaine, banana, sparkling wine, and hibiscus tie together in an artful representation if not as obvious a one as the Campbell soup can. The banana flavor is a clearly an homage to the band's seminal album cover, and the hibiscus, sitting at the bottom, forms a kind of "underground," its red velvety color connoting the "Velvet" part.
Named after Warhol's friend and actress, this drink is a sweet and visual delight. The clear color of the liquid mixed with the green ball creates a golden hue to mimic the namesake's blond hair. The bright green ball, a sphere of mint-flavored ice, also mirrors the artist's vibrant use of color. And as the ball melts, the drink loses some of its sweetness and replaces with an understated mint flavor. The transition is a fun and savory surprise.
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The dinner followed a lunch and panel discussion about the exhibit, which features many pieces from Warhol's personal collection.
The items are for sale today and tomorrow on the hotel's fifth floor. Prices range from $3,000 to around $50,000. It is free and open to the public.