Restaurant Editor Bill Addison is traveling to chronicle what's happening in North America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in North America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
Edulis' truffled coquelet deserves a place alongside Zuni Cafe's roasted chicken as the most succulent bird served in North America. While the Judy Rodgers icon touts salt-brined simplicity and crisp skin, Michael Caballo, who operates Edulis with his wife Tobey Nemeth, uses young chicken raised on a farm in Quebec as a palette upon which to layer flavor after flavor. He makes a compound butter with black truffles and Madeira, pipes it under the skin, and then tucks in a few more truffle slices. The bird is washed with extra Madeira before roasting, covered, in a snug pot over alfalfa hay for 45 minutes.
It arrives at the table in its rich juices, covered with generous discs of shaved, striated truffles. As decadent as the ingredients sound, the final effect is a marvel of subtleties—like taking a deep breath in the countryside, with wafts of earth and herb that drift by rather than assailing. The buttery meat more than compensates for the lack of crisp skin, and the yielding textures are cleverly mirrored by an accompanying salad of Bibb lettuces glossed in schmaltz vinaigrette.